Direct Painting using a Two Step Technique
After soda soaking and drying the white mercerized cotton fabric, I draw on a design using thickened black dye in a bottle with a nib. Considering the design element of line, when sketching my image, I put a more detail in certain areas.
After batching (wrapping the fabric in plastic and placing in a warm place) overnight, I am ready to apply the colour using thickened dyes. The two step process allows for the black line to dry and thus stay sharp when the other colours are placed up to it.
Four or five Styrofoam plates (reusable) are used for colour mixing. At this stage I apply the dye with brushes. A 1/2 inch flat brush is a favourite. In this fabric panel, I painted the lilac blossoms and some of the leaves with a sponge allowing for a lacier look The dark colours of the leaves were placed on first, then the medium values and then the lights. The reason being that with dyes light colours can go over the dark colours without changing the outcome but dark colours layered onto light colours will not go to dark. The colour may change a bit to a medium value but because the thickening agent acts like a resist any dye layered above the first layer has a difficult time penetrating to the fabric.
I chose a split complement colour scheme with violet on one side of the colour wheel and yellows and greens making up most of the painting from across the colour wheel. Subsequently the red of the house was changed to a buttery yellow.