Dye-ing to Get Started on a New Painting!

A favorite photo becomes the source for a new batik

Muffy Clark Gill "The Studio Manager takes the artwork nder advisement"

Now that I am back in the saddle after being on the road in “The Roge Mahal ” for the past 3 1/2 months it is time to get to work! Of course I will continue sharing snippets from various stops on our trip in the near future. Sadly I returned to a yard full of weeds that needed pulling, a septic system that needed to be replaced for the studio, and a minor flood in the studio from a small roof leak after I got home. What a great welcome!

 I had been thinking about creating a painting from the photo I had taken last spring in the Big Cypress Reserve of a large bull Alligator that had been sunning himself in a lake of tannin colored water. I loved the photo as it is but I thought it would be more fun to see how it translates to a batik!

I had to do some image prepping in order to get started on this painting on silk. First I wanted to convert the photo into a format that more easily breaks down into segments. To do this I dropped my photo into my Photoshop application on my computer and did a task known as rasterizing. You can see the results:

Then I converted it to a black and white version and had it printed at the size I wanted to use for my painting. After cutting a piece of 16 mm (mummy, or the thickness that silk is measured by) to fit the size of the stretched can as I would finally mount it on–24″ x 26 “, I washed the silk to remove any residue left behind from the silkworms so that it would be better able to accept dye.

After ironing out the wrinkles I was ready to begin the most difficult task of all— drawing the design on to the fabric!  I laid the large print on my light table and taped it down to prevent moving. Next, taping the silk down on top of the image– Silk is difficult to secure in place as it has a tendency to wiggle. I started to draw the design on the fabric with a number two pencil. I work from top to bottom so that I don’t smear the drawing.

As you can see from the photo at the top of this blog, sometimes you have assistant Fozzie micromanaging you!

Over the next few days, I will get the drawing completed and we will get waxing and dying!


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