Silk Painting How to

How To Paint Silk en plein air

Plein air painting aficionados claim that painting outside, in nature, can capture an immediacy and spirit of the subject in a way no studio can match. Here are some tips by Addie Chernus, who enjoys the practice and says, "I want the impression, the feeling, what the area means to me, not details."

She uses minimal materials which include a tripod with a frame attached to the top (see photo), small plastic bottles, purchased at REI to hold the dyes(she uses Dupont), and one Chinese brush that is strong, inexpensive, holds lots of dye and comes to a point. She paints on habotai silk, and mixes her colors on the silk, rarely mixing on a palette.

Addie uses clear and black gutta and finds that after steaming, the viscous nature of the black gutta can disappear, leaving a pale black line, which she likes.

Be prepared to work quickly, as the dyes dry within minutes. If traveling and painting several paintings, wrap each in archival tissue, put them in a cotton bag for transport, and steam-set them when you return home, which in her case, can be months after painting them.

Plein Air Frame

Painting on location

Gordes by Addie Chernus