Saturday, July 9, 2011

Dye Painting

After several weeks of delay including ordinary garden variety avoidance, I got going on the biggest dye painting I have ever attempted: the background for the Workers in the Vineyard project.
After preliminary stamping and an abortive attempt at silk screening, I began painting.   My intent is to create a very layered, textural surface.  (The silk screen idea failed because I used too thin a piece of paper for my stencil and it melted after a dozen or so prints). 
Flossy has become very possessive of the old couch in the studio, so I got her a new bed and banished her from the couch - makes for much less snapping at visitors.
I was working with Procion dye slightly thickened with ProChem print paste and applied with brushes to dry, soda ash soaked cotton.
The large surface (84"x42") was challenging to cover, and took most of the day to complete.
I covered it with plastic to cure over night, and then uncovered it the next day to allow it to dry prior to adding the next layer.
Flossy settled into her luxurious new bed very nicely.
Today I got out the softkut and made four new stamps.  I mixed up a brand new red dye concentrate and thickened it to the consistency of heavy cream with print paste, applying it to my stamps with a foam brush.
The stamped leaves float on the original underpainting...
giving the illusion of depth I was hoping for.
The painting before I covered it with plastic to cure again.  Next time I will wash out the excess dye and start working on dyeing fabric for the figures.
After work we had a lovely walk on the beach.  Getting there through the tall grass was quite the safari for my dog.  Have a great new week, all!


  1. i love that you are setting out the steps. Thank you. I don't work on cloth and this is fascinating for me. So, you stamped it, then painted on the dye, then stamped it again? Was the first stamping a 'try-out'?

    Is there a post where you have written about the beautiful drawing on your wall?

  2. This is amazing. Can I just come and hang out with you for like a week? I would learn so much. (and most assuredly have a blast!)

  3. Hi, Zom – Thanks for the good questions! I actually started by attempting to silk-screen a leaf design all over, but my paper stencil disintegrated early on, so I fell back to using rubber stamps I have cut from a product called ‘Softkut’. While that stamping/screening was still wet, I painted with dye. (This is all on the soda ash soaked cloth which was dry to start with). When I got the entire cloth painted, I covered it with plastic sheeting to keep the moisture in during the curing time – which needs to be at least 12 hours. The next day I uncovered the work and allowed it to dry because I wanted my second layer of stamping to be crisp. That second layer is now curing under plastic. My drawing is posted about here.

  4. Wow, Susan, beautiful. How bold you are to work SO BIG!

  5. This layering is so rich and vibrant, your dog really disappears in that grass susan.



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