A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

More Dye Painting and How to Finish the Process

I've found that painting with dyes is a zen-like process.  Just watching what the colors do as they're laid down is fascinating.  And the brain-twist of making certain that I don't revert to classical painting techniques of layering light over dark, etc. certainly keeps me engaged.  Hours pass within minutes!

This painting of hosta from my garden presented quite a challenge in working with so many variations of the same color...warms and cools for highlights and shadows; keeping in mind that I'd be thread painting over this so I didn't need to put in tiny details; adding the subtle tones of shadows where the leaves ripple that I wouldn't be able to duplicate with thread.  

Here I've layered the painting with backing and batting in preparation for thread painting.  I use Thermore batting which is thin and dimensionally stable.  Warm & Natural works very well, too.

The finished hosta painting.  Note the lower right corner where I used a medley of black and green shades to create the sense of plants beneath the hosta leaves.

Oops.  Need to change the orientation!  However, you can see that I've begun thread painting here and that the amount of depth this adds, both texturally and through color and contrast, is beginning to bring this painting to life.

Detail of thread painting
Batching and Finishing

As you paint sections, place small pieces of plastic over each section to keep it wet.  If you need to leave the painting for any length of time, cover it completely full a full sheet of plastic to keep the air out.  Always make certain that the dyes don't dry out. 

Once the painting is complete, again cover it with the full sheet of plastic and let it 'batch' in a warm place.  I've put mine out in the sun, or left it near a heat source.  Fully covered, it won't dry out.  After 12-24 hours (depending on your level of patience), remove the plastic and wash the painting in hot water with a small amount of synthrapol.  Rinse until the water runs completely clear.  Then (this is important...in a later post I'll show you why) dry it with a hair dryer until it's completely dry.  It can also be ironed dry from a damp state.  Voila!  A beautiful painting!


  1. Wow again. This is amazing. Can't wait to see this puppy up close and personal. Can you bring it to the Maine Event??

  2. Wow, your "painting" is fabulous, I'm a bit intimidated to start. :-) I think I'm going to have to stick with an abstract design!

  3. The piece looks more like a photograph than a quilt!!! Beautiful!

  4. Beth--Yes, will bring to the Maine Event.

    Q-Beth--Thanks! I'll post a pic of my last painting from Hollis' class and you'll no longer be intimidated...that is, if I didn't throw it in the trash. lol

    Robbie--Any chance we can see what you've done from your classes with Hollis?

  5. you make it look so real and easy. i am so afraid to try.

  6. Yetunde, give it a try! Most of the work is getting everything ready. Then you can just sit down, put your brush into the dyes and play! Magical things happen if we just begin to experiment. Do a small one and just mix colors and see what lines and shapes your brushes will make. That will give you confidence to try painting something like a flower or an animal or....! One of the women in the class with Hollis did several portraits of her show beagles, and by the time she was on the last one, she had that dog looking like he was going to jump off the page. You can do it, too!

  7. Wow, very nice! I will join Beth in the more abstract approach ;-). Very inspring!

  8. This is great! I took that class with Hollis several years ago in Houston and I've been using her techniques ever since. I am currently quilting my hibiscus series, two of which use this technique. I'm thinking I want to do something different for this blog.

  9. Karen,
    Can't wait to see what you do. Will you post some photos of what you've done with this technique already? That would be great, especially if you've done some abstract-y pieces so others can see what the range possible is. Thanks!


Although this blog is no longer active, we will get your comments so please feel free to share them.