Monday, September 29, 2014

Painting In My Pajamas

Isn't it strange how we can have a yearning that comes to nothing and then suddenly, click, it works. I started collecting dyes and paints, buying books, taking workshops, and trying really hard to get into dyeing fabric twenty-five years ago and it just didn't work for me. In the end, I concluded that I could buy hand-dyed fabric. Perhaps, I was too fearful, too much of a perfectionist.

Eight years ago, a friend came for the weekend and we spent three days dyeing fabrics following specific formulas to complete the assignment for a workshop we were taking.... which I didn't really enjoy... the formulas... not the friend. And then, a few years after that, I began dyeing pieces intuitively using the color knowledge I've gained over the years. That was WAY more fun. I used the resulting fabric in my textile art work. The pieces were meant to be cut up and worked into a design. Now, I want to make the switch to creating fabrics for fashion and to making more purposeful marks. HOWEVER...

... first I decided I needed to play. On Saturday night, I already had my pajamas on and was curled up on the couch when I got the urge to paint. Painting in my pajamas? Sure, why not? I decided that since the Setacolors needed to be watered down so much, I would use them to create backgrounds and in the process use them up and then, when they're dry, figure out how to take the backgrounds forward.

In the end, I emptied out ALL of the paint pots. There are no more Setacolor paints in my studio. For some of the semi-dried up ones, I added water to the jar and let it sit overnight and that helped to loosen some of the paint. Others were already too plastic-lumpish that they weren't breaking down much even with the water so I smeared them on the surface anyway and used...

... what is fast becoming my favourite tool - a pot scrubber with a handle from the dollar store - to spread the lumps around.

I started by laying the fabric on the painting surface and adding the first color. My lines were mostly horizontal at the beginning and then later on, when I realized I was only going in one direction, I started making them vertical, diagonal, and wavy. From piece to piece, I could feel myself loosening up.

Then I added a second color by splotching it down next to the first one and letting them bleed together. I mostly used a wide soft brush to apply the paint.

Each piece contains three colors, one of which was used up entirely on that piece and one or two of which moved to the next piece.

I kept using what I had and adding new colors to the pieces one-by-one until all the paints were gone. The pieces were painted from back to front in the image above plus the one below on Saturday night.

This one was quite wet and the paint was going through to the felt below and coming up in the next pieces so I let everything dry overnight and then painted with the neutral colors on Sunday.

These pieces were painted front, back, and then middle using white, metallic grey, copper, black, and pearlescent. One of the frustrating factors with Setacolors is that they dry much lighter than they look wet. I'll show you all the dried pieces in tomorrow's post before I start playing with stamps and stencils.

If you're getting tired of painting posts, this week will be all painting and knitting and next week will be either knitting or nothing since on Friday, I'm heading to Calgary to look after my adorable grandson for a week while his parents are on vacation. What happens on the blog depends on how exhausted I am after spending the day with an eighteen month old and on how much knitting actually happens. I may be a lump on the couch unable to even move my arms. I have no idea. It's been a LONG time since I looked after a toddler. Right now, I'm knitting samples for a scarf pattern that I want to make in a variety of yarn weights to achieve different looks. I figure if I keep it simple - same pattern, different yarn, different needles - this might work while grandparenting full time.

Talk soon- Myrna

Grateful - loosening up, some pretty painted pieces

She was unstoppable, not because she did not have failures or doubts, but because she continued on despite them.
- Beau Taplin


  1. Wow - I can't believe how many beautiful pieces of fabric you made in such a short burst of energy & creativity. They're gorgeous. Is your base fabric muslin? Or canvas? Or silk? What a way to use up old supplies - and in one big swoop. Do you think the pajamas had anything to do with it? I'm considering giving up my beloved cotton nighties for pajamas now!

    1. And what a cutie you get to spend time with. My grandkids are all teenagers now, and I do miss those all-encompassing days with a toddler who adores you just because you're the grandmother.

    2. Thank you. The base is cotton. The wet one on the paint table is a much thinner cotton but not quite gauze and the others are a thicker - like seed sacks - cotton. Most were white. LOL - of course it was the pajamas.

    3. Oops - I thought I could answer below your other comment. YES, he is terribly cute and I"m so looking forward to snuggles and slobbers and since I'm not on the other end of the phone, he won't be able to push buttons and hang up on me which is his latest fun trick.

  2. Wonderful! Play is the best way to start painting. I always find that I need to warm up and loosen up before I can paint. Going from large loose background to smaller tighter foregrounds is a great way to work too. These are beautiful.

    1. Warm-ups are for more than exercise and sports. YES YES... and now the next step.


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