On a rainy day I brought out my paints to experiment a little. I thought of a Buddha face, that looked like a gold statue. When I experiment, it means, that I state to myself, it will not necessarily be used for something, it is just for experimenting. It is important, for otherwise I start thinking: Should I try this? Will this ruin the whole thing? How will it turn out? Will I like it? Will someone else like it?...... When it comes to experimenting I have to dare to try whatever crazy thing comes to my mind, no matter what the result will be. (Well, as a chemistry teacher I would say, let's keep it nice and safe on the artistic level and not blow the house.)
There are many kinds of fabric paints on the market, but this time I used my Neocolor watersoluble wax pastels. I started on paper, then on different fabrics, like silk, satin and neutral colored cotton fabric.
I stretched my piece of cotton fabric on a foil and fixed with tape on the four sides. I outlined the face with a darker brown and started to fill in with colours, starting with the lightest. It is nice to enrich the upcoming darker colours with this yellow base as well, it gives a warmer overall colour to it.
I started to add darker and darker tones, according to the shadows on the face following the shapes and curves of the face with my pastel strokes. I emphasized the contours with black.
In the background (or even on the face) I could experiment with creating texture. I looked for textured, patterned items, like a woven placemat or textile, a rough patterned paper or tile, a piece of bark, stencils, that I can put under the textile to shade over them. I also tried to scrape some of the pastels straight on the picture with a knife to create random patterns.
Then I painted over it with a wet brush again and all the colours came to life. To do this I used a clean brush and washed it out frequently. I started with the lighter areas and moved towards the darker ones, keeping the strokes of the brush in the same direction as the drawing strokes. I needed to be careful at the lines where colours are mixing, it is easy to pull paint from the dark area to the light and the other way. In case of a mistake I wiped it with a tissue paper. I could also add more colour to the wet surface.
First I tried to avoid the contour lines to prevent colours melt into each other too much, especially the black. I waited for the fabric to dry, then went back to wet the contours as well.
The method worked well both on silk and satin. They both have a nice silky shine to them. With the colour of the base fabric I could alter the overall effect or "temperature" of the piece.
Working on yellow silk gives a warmer result in the end.
Finally when it is dry, I ironed it to fix the colours. I used a clean cloth or paper between the painted fabric and the iron. If I am still happy with the result in spite of all my efforts of crazy experimenting I can still consider to free motion quilt it.
Strictly in experimenting style!
I hope, you do too give it a try!