Hand Painting Silk for a Jacket Design

I am so excited about this jacket!

Planning the jacket, I had printed the silk on the 44″ Epson printer in my studio and laid it out on the worktable. Moving the pattern pieces around, I tried to envision where each section of the jacket might look best. It would be a tight fit, and I wasn’t sure which sections of the painting would look best on the front, back and sleeves.

hand painted silk jacket
winter Solstice Jacket, hand painted silk, See more pics & purchase info

You can see on the video of the full image that the painting has some blue sections, some gold, and some very light aqua. When the colors weren’t going where I wished they would, I decided to try out my new fabric paints on the silk. This, I thought, would enable me to get the colors I wished ~ exactly where I envisioned them.

I am really pleased with the way the silk takes my brush strokes. Iridescent aqua, copper, purple, blue green and gold added sparkle and depth to the silk. From wide strokes of subtle washes to finely detailed grasses and seeds, I am able to control the marks by varying the color saturation and brush.

This is going to be a one-of-a-kind!

hand painting silk for a jacket

You can see the details in this photo, how the gold and copper strokes are subtle, yet vibrant. I used a washy watercolor brush to lay the aqua in between the branch. This added depth and sparkle to the fabric.

Winter Solstice Design

The art for the fabric has a story all its own. It began as a pastel painting ~ forty years ago! Yes, you read that right. I painted it with pastels on rag etching paper, 42″ x 29″. The pastel won me Best in Show at the Virginia Beach Arts Center members show the year my twins were born.

As it turned out, I was able to attend the opening and meet the judge. Long story short, Robert B. Mayo invited me to his gallery in Richmond. The following ten years turned into a mentorship in Painting Masters with Mr. Mayo. His generous critiques and engaged conversations with me enabled me to see my artistry as a gift and continue growing as an artist ~ even when it didn’t always look that way.

hand painting silk for a jacket
Details on the silk utilize watercolor techniques.

The big question to me was ‘why the heck is this image still on my painting table?’

I had come to regard the winter solstice theme as symbolic of ‘frozen creative flow.’ Interpreting my art as if it were my dream, had become a habit. I had gained much inspiration from the practice.

That didn’t mean I could answer the question, however.

It would take another pastel from the same period of time to help with that. See my story about Two Sisters>

painting on silk
Winter Solstice painting on silk

I laid the brush on the silk so you can see the scale of the imagery. I decided this section would be the front of the jacket. And that I would cut front bands from contrasting golds on the other side of the silk.

The jacket is for sale on my website. See more photos of the finished jacket with size and purchase info.

 

 

How I Created a Silk Jacket from My Painting

I’d forgotten about all the clothing I created in high school. Working on this jacket design, the memories came tumbling back to me. Sitting at Mom’s 1960 Pfaff I heard her voice again ~”you can do anything you want to do!”

Imagining a Dream Jacket

Painting the design for the fabrics with oil paint, I’d photographed them and thought about how them might look on a jacket.

Cascading Flowers, oil painting
Cascading Flowers, oil painting

How to Create a Silk Jacket from a Painting

Looking at the oil paintings makes it a little tricky to see how it will look on a jacket. There are questions of scale, color, and how the repeat works.

Garden Parasols, oil painting
Garden Parasols, oil painting

Sleeping on these questions for awhile seems to help. So does playing with swatches. That’s what I did with these. I printed an 8″ strip of fabric on the 44″ printer in my studio. To be honest, I thought the first couple swatches were pale. So I tried a few changes and printed more.

Testing Prototyes

To test the jacket design, I sewed several jackets with different fabrics. I tried several lengths, various collar bands and sleeve styles. For this one I made a new pattern on muslin that incorporated my favorite modifications from each prototype.

Garden Party Kimono Jacket
Loose and cool, this jacket falls like a shawl without falling off!  See purchase info>

Fusing Palettes

I really like the way the pastel tones of the fabrics soften the more vibrant color of the royal blue top and chartreuse linen pants. It would also look great with navy blue and white, or aqua palettes ~ as you can see by the beach painting behind me!

Garden Parasols Fabric
Garden Parasols Fabric is available in silky faille, chiffon, light-weight cotton twill, polyester matte jersey, linen-cotton, cotton sateen, faux suede, eco canvas, viscose challis, and silk. See Fabric Purchase Info>

What to Create?

Custom Jacket

The jacket is available in a hand painted version, highlighted with subtle metallic aqua, green, and soft gold on silk or viscose challis. And also on silky faille, which is machine washable. See Jacket Ordering Info>

Fabric for Apparel, Home Decor & Crafts

The fabric is available on a variety of fabrics by the yard for scarves, apparel, curtains, home decor & crafts. From silky faille, chiffon, and light-weight cotton twill,  to polyester matte jersey, linen-cotton, cotton sateen, faux suede, upholstery-weight eco canvas, viscose challis, and silk. See Fabric Information>

3 Doorways to the Tuscan Lifestyle ~ Tuscan Retreat

A Question is like a doorway. Opening a question changes everything.

My Retreat in Tuscany did this. The question I opened was “how to absorb the Tuscan Lifestyle into my life and artistry?”

Three doorway paintings explore this idea.

verdigris door painting dorothy fagan
Verdigris Door, oil, 10″ x 10″

Doorway #1 ~ Verdigris Door

In Verdigris Door, I was initially fascinated with the iron scroll work above the door. My first study was this oil wash and line drawing. You can see how my focus shifted from the detail scroll in the study below to color, light and shadow in the finished painting above.

Tuscan doorways
Scroll Door, wash and line drawing, 5″ x 7″
Tuscan doorways
Verdigris Doorway oil study, 8″ x 6″

#2 ~ Vermilion Doorway

Struck by the wonderful vermilion color, I tried several times to paint it. This version where the color is framed by an open archway, seemed a way of playing with the color without letting it dominate everything.

Three arched doorways, one to the right, the next front and center, and a third through the passage ~ lead us through the painting. A slice of sky opens light on the tower, street, and the next doorway.

Like a dream, I wonder what it means? Just writing the question, I see how this painting is open doorways, while the door in the first paintings were closed.

The quest of my Tuscan retreat did open me ~ connecting heart and mind in a gentle, compassionate way.

Vermilion Doorway Dorothy Fagan
Vermilion Doorway, oil on cradled wood panel, 10″ x 8″

The figure gives scale to the doorway, small in relation to a larger structure. A silhouette suggests questions. Who? An aspect of myself? Someone ancient? Or a new way of seeing myself?

Experiencing the Tuscany lifestyle, exploring slowly, letting the colors, flavors, and laughter seep in DID give me a deeper appreciation of life. I feel amazed and privileged to be here. Every moment of every day is precious and colorful. You can see this reflected in these paintings.

Loro Cuifenna
Loro Cuifenna village

This photo of Jim was my inspiration for the painting. There is nothing extraordinary about the photo. It looks like any tourist photo, poorly lit with the person looking the other way.

And yet … Jim standing in the doorway was an invitation to explore something hidden inside myself. Looking back on it now, I can see how it sparked my dream, colors and shapes hidden inside me that I never would have seen.

Green Door Dorothy Fagan
Green Door, oil on cradled wood panel, 10″ x 8″

#3 Green Door

From the same village of Loro Cuifenna, this narrow passage called for exploration. Yes, that IS a figure down in the passageway!

At first I painted the figure distinctly. Then it seemed to feel better as I blurred the form. I thought about painting it out completely. Then reluctantly, I let the human form be suspended between the sky and earth tones of the village.

Writing this, I see myself the same way.

Tuscan doorway
Green Door, oil study, 7″ x 5″

Writing about a painting AFTER it is painted, opens another doorway. There are things we ‘know’ about ourselves innately. Playing with colors and lines is one way of exploring something inside. Jotting questions, writing a simple description of each painting, these simple journaling techniques open new understanding of the soul inside.

Another Doorway

I am taking a group on a Tuscan Retreat. Watercolor journaling like this, writing, painting, cooking, wine tasting, exploring the Tuscan Lifestyle ~ What would it look like to absorb and live it? Find out more>