FCSA Zoom AGM report

Frimley & Camberley Society of Arts held the AGM on Friday 3rd February 2023 via Zoom. It was good to see so many members on the screen. The AGM minutes of the meeting will be sent out to members when the current membership list is confirmed.

The Chairman’s Report

The Chairman, Peter Tuitt, opened the meeting by saying FCSA has come through the worst of the Covid pandemic but, like all art societies and clubs, is suffering a drop in the number of members. The committee is keen to find ways to increase attendance at the Friday evening meetings and intends to take on the suggestions made in the recent members’ survey.

Peter Tuitt

Peter Tuitt has been Chairman for the past four years. He thanked the committee and members of the society whose efforts have enabled the society to provide several opportunities to exhibit members’ paintings over the course of that time. The main event of the year is the Annual Exhibition, and there have been opportunities to exhibit at Frimley Lodge Park, the Queen’s Jubilee event and the Frimley Green Christmas Market. There are also paintings and cards by FCSA members at the Heritage Gallery in Camberley Mall.

FCSA Annual Exhibition Winners 2022.

The Winland Award, for Sera Knight for Red Bus & Black Cab.

The FCSA Committee Prize. Valerie Painter for Thirsty.

THE Themed Competition. Lesley Kilner for Living Legends.

The Val Brooks Award for best Pastel  

Lisa Clifford for Newlands Corner.

The Seward Memorial Trophy, Carole Head for Flying Free (Also known as the People’s Choice).

Peter secured seven sponsors for the Annual Exhibition last year which helped the exhibition make a small profit. Pullingers Art Shop in Farnham also offers FCSA members a discount.

Lesley Kilner

The Treasurer’s Report

Lesley Kilner began her report by saying that FCSA are grateful that over the last 60+ years of the Art Society there has been a gradual healthy accumulation of funds. This does not mean that we can squander these assets, – but it does allow us a cushion in these hard times. She went on to outline the areas where rising costs are creating a deficit and the different ways the committee are looking at to mitigate this.

The suggestion that the membership fee should go up from £16 to £20 in 2024 was passed by a majority vote. It was also agreed that there needs to be a concerted effort to increase the membership.

Craig Whitehead

The Membership Secretary’s Report

Craig Whitehead is the Membership Secretary and he reported that there were some members who had not renewed this year. He went on to outline some of the points raised by members in the recent survey. Dark nights in the winter was a major deterrent. The committee has considered addressing this by closing the studio between Christmas and the AGM.

Demonstrations saw the membership divided between those who strongly prefer studio based demos and those who like the convenience staying at home to view them via Zoom. The committee has booked a mix for this year with Zoom demos during the winter months and a couple of studio based demonstrations in the summer.

Sue Whitehead reported on opportunities for members to exhibit in the coming year

Annual Exhibition (Thurs 7th Sept – Sat 9th September 2023

Coronation Celebration at Frimley Lodge

Pop up exhibitions at Long Acres and Tesco

Exhibitions at the Heritage Gallery and on-line

Frimley Green Christmas Market

Olga Salgado

The Webmaster’s Report

Olga Salgado is FCSA’s webmaster. She reported that peak viewing/visit to the website occurred around the time of the exhibition. Olga produced a number of charts to illustrate the way the website is being accessed and it was clear there were more visits this year than last. Olga reminded everyone that each member has an individual page if they have exhibited on line and at an exhibition.

Election of the Executive Committee

Patti Dutton

The Executive Committee was re-elected unopposed with the exception of the Honorary Secretary. Very sadly, the Honorary Secretary, Valerie Painter, had to step down for health reasons earlier this year. The society is very fortunate to have discovered a new member, Patti Dutton, who was prepared to be co-opted onto the committee and agreed to take on the role of Honorary Secretary. She was confirmed in this role by a majority vote.

Please note this is an account of what took place. The AGM Minutes with facts and figures will go to the membership in an email.


Members Critique

Friday 20th January 2023

The Chairman, Peter Tuitt, welcomed everyone to the studio as he put the first painting by Ann Bullimore on to the easel and Liz Seward, our President, asked everyone to be sure to make considered criticism rather than simply admire.

Peter Tuiit with Ann. Bullimore’s “Rainbow London” painting

That said everyone did admire this scene called ‘Rainbow London’, recognising that Ann had enjoyed splattering to give added interest to a colourful collection of London’s iconic buildings. It was suggested the colour of the mount detracted a little. White was suggested but as one member pointed out, it is often hard to know exactly what colour of white will arrive when purchasing mounts from the internet.

Painting by Sue Whitehead

Sue Whitehead is known for her lovely seascapes and she explained that she had painted the figures featured in the foreground to express feelings and emotions. They are wearing warm clothes to emphasise the idea that this was not a holiday scene but about hope and reflection. People thought it would make a good anniversary card.

Peter showing the reverse of the frame

The fact that the frame did not fit perfectly was noted but this was an early attempt at home-made framing by Craig Whitehead, Sue’s husband. It has to be admitted that the frame’s construction was robust, to say the least.

Ben Jose’s acrylic pour

Ben Jose has been experimenting with acrylic pours. This involves pouring acrylic paint mixed with a medium over a pre-primed canvas. He has tried using ready mixed mediums but he has found that clear PVA glue and distilled water gives a better finish. Ben explained that the high gloss is achieved by using Art-Resin. The gloss has resulted in a large reflection from the lights in this photograph, while the camera does not capture the sparkle and shine from metallic and pearl paints that Ben has used. One member suggested that rather than having the glitter throughout it might be more effective to restrict it to specific areas.

Ben Jose’s very large acrylic pour

This was a very large and fairly heavy piece of artwork,  approximately 81cm x 101cm.  Ben primed the canvas first. He poured all the colours one by one over the dark base colour which he had prepared using ultra marine, raw amber, red etc. He also used silicone oil to get cell effects. He then used a hair dryer to produce the desired movement of the colours. 

The back of Ben Jose’s large piece

After the paint had dried Ben added support to the canvas with cushion board and MDF.

Portrait by Craig Whitehead

People were impressed with the strength of this portrait. The unusual mauve coloured background was admired and the treatment of the hair. Craig has been taking a course and knows that he has yet to achieve the goal he has set himself but there are elements in this painting that have worked for him. The audience agreed.

Portrait by Craig Whitehead

Apologies for the reflections in the glass of this painting. It is a shame if it detracts from another of Craig Whitehead’s portraits. People commented on the strength of character and the expression in his eyes. The treatment of the man’s cap was also applauded by Liz Seward. Once again there are elements that Craig would like to improve but the audience accepted this.

Pastel by Brian Hammans
Detail of the pastel painting

Once again the reflections in the glass are detracting from a delicate painting so here is a detail of an area of the painting unaffected by the reflections. Brian explained that he had followed an art programme during lockdown and this was one of the paintings he produced as a result. It was noticed that the river and the horizon slopped slightly to the left. Brian smiled and retorted that he would remount it moving it up a little which would correct it.

Seascape by Brian Hammans

Brian prefers this painting of the two he brought along for the critique. People liked the framing of both which led to a discussion of frames and mounts. Brian uses The Frame Company, on Amazon; specifically the Watson Range White Picture Photo Frames, either 16 x 20 or 16 x 12. The Watson Range also has a supply of mounts in many different colours.

Mixed media painting by Lesley Kilner

Lesley Kilner explained that she was experimenting with silver and gold acrylic on tissue paper in this painting. The texture and design appealed to the room and Liz Seward suggested that if Lesley wanted to she could make a series with this being the winter element of the four seasons.

Idris Elba by Lesley Kilner

There was an audible gasp from the room when this portrait of Idris Elba was put on the easel. The actor was so clearly recognisable. People commented on the excellent skin colour and the arresting light in the eyes. This portrait began by being painted in red. That colour is now only visible in the T-shirt. Liz Seward commented that it is often a very good idea to work from a warm red base. She likes to work on a medium magenta base.

Acrylic painting on canvas sheet by Carole Head

Carole Head has been attending workshops run by Jamel Akib. Carole has discovered that canvas pads primed with Gesso are good for use with both oil or acrylic paint. Jamel would much prefer his students to paint in oil on stretched canvas but Carole does not have an art studio and the advantage of the pads is that the finished paintings take up very little space. She did wonder how best to frame and exhibit a painting on a canvas sheet. Some suggested framing behind glass while others suggested gluing it to mounting board and not framing it at all.

Oil painting by Terry Ralph

The crusty bread in this oil painting by Terry Ralph was so realistic it looked good enough to eat and someone thought the white wine was clearly Vino Verde. The one criticism was the cabinet in the right corner tended to distract the eye. Liz Seward explained that a much darker background helps to bring a still life forward. She wondered if this painting might not benefit from painting over the dresser and curtain as if they were in deep shadow which would focus attention on the objects on the table.

Cherries in a box by Peter Smith

Peter Smith explained that he has been taking a class with Rebecca Le Tourneau. She set the class the task of doing a painting in a box.  As a result Peter decided to paint these cherries in a box and set the painting in a clever frame that also looks like part of a box. Peter used poly filler to give the cherries form and he used modelling paste bring the paper surrounding the box into relief. Modelling past flows in a way the poly filler does not. The overall effect was very appealing.

Peter decided to develop the idea of putting fruit in a box and he went on to paint three more in a series. He brought the apple on an old book and lemons in a box to the studio but the fourth painting of grapes remains on the wall at his home. The audience agreed that the box project had gone particularly well.

Collage by Patti Dutton

This striking cat was painted by Patti Dutton. It is painted on tissue paper and further texture is added with a variety of material including some sheet music. Patti was not sure she liked the whiskers she added but others did. Collage can used to create texture to paint over or to make the image itself. Patti used a combination of both to good effect.

Before breaking for coffee Liz Seward took the opportunity to talk to everyone about the importance of sketchbooks and making sketches as often as possible. Above is a sketch she made on Week 5 of the lockdown in 2020. A sketchbook can be used to fill in spare time, to capture images for future reference, or just for practice and amusement. Her Lockdown sketchbook helped to put in pictures a unique period of time.

After the break there was still time to view some of the other paintings that the artists above had brought in.

The wet paving stones and light foreground of Patti Dutton’s watercolour painting were commented upon and admired along with the variety of texture in the sky. Patti admitted she used some acrylic for the whites and the deepened the red of the phone box which some watercolour purists would not like, but everyone in the room agreed rules are made to be broken.

Glass bottles by Lesley Kilner

Lesley Kilner’s painting of glass bottles on a deep red velvet material led Liz Seward to remark that this was a good demonstration of how a darker background and lighter foreground can work well and add dimension to a painting. The depiction of velvet material was appreciated by all.

Ben Jose showed an impressive variety of his new work. Each of these pieces had been glossed over with a clear hard veneer. He explained that this is done using 50/50 resin and hardener which is self levelling and produces a hard shiny protective coat to the paintings .

Acrylic thistles by Carole Head

Carole did this painting at a Jamel Akib workshop. The idea was to create a variety of background colour on which to create the image. People liked the colour combination and the treatment of the thistles which Carole said had been done using a fan brush.

A different style again from Lesley Kilner with this landscape painting in acrylic that she did at one of Rebecca Le Tourneau’s classes. There was some discussion about where to put the signature and the advice was to find the least busy area in one of the corners. It was also recommended never to date it.

Ben Jose

The last painting to go up on the stand was this one by Ben Jose. Once again people remarked on the different style he was using here compared to the other work he had shown and they liked the impactful trees.

Variety of image and style had certainly made the evening an interesting and very enjoyable one with lots of discussion and exchange of knowledge and ideas.

Meet the artists


FCSA Christmas Party 2022

Coronavirus has made it impossible to have a Christmas Party for the past two years. We were smaller in number this year but it was very good to be celebrating together again.

Unfortunately, our Chairman Peter Tuitt was not able to be there after a stretch in hospital with pneumonia, but thankfully we heard on the day that he is home again now. We missed our Honorary Secretary Val Painter too due to illness. The Vice Chairman, Sue Whitehead welcomed everyone and invited us to enjoy the great spread of food everyone had provided.

Sue Whitehead (Vice Chair) and Lesley Kilner (Treasurer)

There was time to chat and catch up with others news as people queued for the food and passed friends on other tables.

After the savoury fare there was a beautiful cake provided by one of new members, Ben Jose, which was cut by our President, Liz Seward, so that people could enjoy a slice along with some of the delicious trifles, cheese cake or camembert also on offer.

Ben Jose and his wife

We were sitting in four tables of six and every table was invited to invent a name for themselves and to have a go at a dastardly quiz. Our thanks go to Jenny Colquhoun, the quiz master, who devised her quiz for us by popular request.

Jenny Colquhoun

One table had quite an international flavour to it with Olga from Colombia, Andria from Los Angeles and later from Hamburg in Germany, while Patti originates from the United States although she has been living in England for sometime. It must be admitted Steve is from Kent.

At the end of the evening there was the traditional raffle when the wrapped Christmas gifts that people had brought were raffled off. Despite being quite a small group this year we raised £100 for the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice as a result.

Patti Dutton and Sue Whitehead conducting the raffle

Finally it came time to clear away and say our goodbyes and share Christmas cards and Christmas good wishes.

Craig Whitehead (Membership Secretary) Sue Whitehead (Vice Chair) Fran Green and Brian Hammans.


Hannah Bruce Resin Workshops

Some members expressed an interest in resin pouring. Hannah Bruce in Woking has a number of resin workshops coming up in December. If you are interested you will need to pursue this for yourself it is not connected to FCSA.


Mark Fennell ZOOM Demonstration

‘Portrait in Oils’

Mark Fennell

Mark Fennell is a professional portrait painter who works to commission from his home studio in the hill top village of Brill in Buckinghamshire. He works predominantly in oils, notable sitters include Isla St Clair, Antony Worrall Thompson, Franco Luxardo, president of Luxardo S.P.A and singer – songwriter John Otway.

His work has been selected for exhibition with The Royal Society of Portrait Painters and The Royal Society of British Artists at the Mall galleries London.

Linen canvas

Mark had already prepared his linen canvas with a thin acrylic base of Burnt Sienna, Titanium White and a touch of Cobalt Blue as this would enable him to work from the mid skin tones of the subject to the darks and the lights. The canvas measured about 16″ x 20″.

Andres Zorn colour palette

For this demonstration Mark is going to use a limited colour palette of Ivory Black, Cadmium Red, Yellow Ochre and Titanium White. This is known as the Zorn palette after the Swedish artist Anders Zorn. “

Anders Zorn palette

The Zorn Colour Palette

Mark explained that the Zorn palette refers to a palette of colours attributed to the Swedish artist Anders Zorn (18 February 1860 – 22 August 1920). It consists of just 4 colors yellow ochre, ivory black, vermilion, and titanium white. Cadmium red light is commonly used in place of vermilion by modern-day artists.

Measurement marks

The first part of the demonstration can seem a bit boring but it is vital to get the measurements right. Mark marks the top of the head down to the chin and then the width of the of the head. He measures the chin to the eyes, the eyes to the top of the head. He is always looking carefully at angles, for instance the eyes are at a slight angle across the page.

A worn out flat head paint brush

Mark uses a worn out old paint brush and keeps his paint thin at this initial stage of sketching in the details. He finds that by keeping the paint dry at this stage it stops the following layers from slipping around too much.

Initial sketch is made with dry marks

Mark concentrates on straight lines and angles, the curves of the face and features can be drawn in later. He recommends standing back frequently to check the work. While doing this demonstration he is under severe time constraints which means he is not doing this as much as he would like.

Adding facial features and shadows

Mark works meticulously, constantly measuring with his paintbrush the distance between the different facial features. He finds a cotton bud can be useful to remove wayward marks.

The initial sketch is complete

At this point Mark is going to put in the darks. He mixes Ivory Black with Yellow Ochre and he uses the biggest brush to do the job. He still keeps his paint quite thin. “Fat over lean” is the rule.

Dark background is applied

Having put in the dark background Mark moved on to the hair. He looks at it in terms of shape rather than thinking of whips of hair. He mixes some red in with the black to give a dark brown colour. He likes to squint to see shape and form as opposed to seeing detail. Painting from an iPad can mean you can see too much detail.

Hair and dark shadows have been painted

The facial shadows were painted in cool greys. Ivory Black is a blue black pigment and this can produce greys when mixed with white that are ideal for the shadows on the side of the face and under the lips. He can lighten the effect later. Even at this stage Mark did not paint in the eyes. This is intentional. He tends to work on the structure of the face first. If the structure is not right from the start it is impossible to get a likeness.

Working on the lips

Mark uses several paintbrushes at the same time but he needs to stop to clean them when he loses track of what colour is on which brush. For the lips Mark would probably prefer to use Alizarin Crimson rather than the Cadmium Red Light but he mixes in a touch of black to create different tones.

Painting the light in the eyes

The young man in the photograph has extremely dark eyes which makes it difficult to see the pupils. Mark rests his painting hand on the arm holding the palette to steady his hand to paint in the highlights in the eyes. At this point, his concentration is such that he cannot take questions.

Mixing a few final brush strokes

Time was beginning to run out. Mark stressed that it is not possible to complete an oil portrait in two hours. He would usually give himself 3 or 4 days. Commissions start with a two to three hour sitting and then Mark works from a photograph. He felt he had been working under quite a lot of pressure tonight in order to get the portrait painted in the time. Having said that it was less pressure than working in advertising. Mark had been an Art Director in Advertising but one day he took some time off and bought some paints. He has not looked back.

The portrait at the end of only two hours

At the end of the demonstration the audience took themselves off mute to express their admiration and appreciation of the impressive oil portrait Mark had produced in just two hours of non-stop painting. It had been a very informative and inspiring demonstration.

Mark Fennell, still smiling at the end of a gruelling two hour demonstration

Examples of Mark Fennell’s finished portraits can be seen on his website:


Heritage Gallery

Museum & Heritage Gallery, The Mall, 33 Obelisk Way, Camberley GU15 3SG

There is a new hang of Frimley & Camberley Society members’ paintings in the Heritage Gallery.

The Museum and Heritage Gallery is open Tuesday – Saturday from 11.00 a.m. – 4.30 p.m.

Below are some photographs of the paintings on display but these photographs do not do the artwork justice. It makes a big difference to see them for yourself. All the paintings are for sale. There is a rack of cards made from members’ artwork on sale there too.

A variety of cards by members of FCSA are on sale in the Heritage Gallery


Wisley Painting Day

Saturday 8th October 2022

Nine members of FCSA went painting and photographing at RHS Garden Wisley, on a glorious Autumn day. At Hill Top everyone soon dispersed to search for views and interesting features. By 1:30 we were mostly back at the cafe to chat and compare pictures. Everyone had a really good time – the weather could not have been better and the gardens were as magnificent and colourful as usual.

FCSA meeting up after painting and sketching at the cafe at Wisley

 Some photos taken at the RHS Gardens at Wisley

Below are some of the sketches and paintings made during the painting day.







There were over 200 paintings and several competition prizes to be won at this year’s Annual Exhibition. The Mayor of Surrey Heath was unexpectedly unable to attend the event due to pressing council business. Frimley & Camberley Society of Arts is very grateful to Councillor Sarah Jane Croke, who agreed to stand in for the Mayor to open the exhibition at the Evening Reception on Thursday 1st September.

Kristin Rawcliffe was invited to judge the different competitions. She is a local artist who came to be known to FCSA from a recent Zoom Oil Portrait demonstration that she gave during the Coronavirus lockdown.

Kristin Rawcliffe with one of the winning paintings she was judging

Liz Seward, Frimley & Camberley Society of Arts President, thanked everyone involved in organising and realising the exhibition and then she announced the winners of the various competitions.

The Winsland Prize for best watercolour/mixed media painting was won by Sera Knight for “Red Bus and Black Cab”.

“Red Bus & Black Cab” by Sera Knight

The Valerie Brooks Memorial Prize for the best pastel painting was a new prize on offer this year, which was specially commissioned by Valerie Brooks’ family in her memory. The winner was Lisa Clifford for her pastel “Newlands Corner”

Peter Tuitt awarding Lisa Clifford with The Valerie Brooks’ Memorial prize for best pastel painting
Lisa Clifford with her winning painting “Newlands Corner”

The Themed Competition this year was “Our Country” and it was won by Lesley Kilner for her painting “Living Legends”

mixed media; framed; 33x43cm; £95

The winner of the Themed Competition will be given this newly renovated trophy to keep for the year.

The Committee Prize was on the theme of Ordinary Things and the winning painting was “Thirsty” by Valerie Painter.

Watercolour; 53 x43cm; £75; framed

The Seward Memorial Trophy, also known as the People’s Prize, is determined at the end of the exhibition by the painting with the most public votes. This year it was won by Carole Head for her painting”Flying Free” and she will collect the trophy at the Annual General Meeting in the new year.

Watercolour; 40 cm x 30 cm; £60.00; Framed

Graham Scandrett, the President of FCSA for many years, passed away last year and it was decided to set aside an area of the exhibition space to display some of his paintings.

Terry Ralph and Graham Scandrett were great admirers of David Hockney. Terry Ralph painted a portrait of Hockney for Graham and offered his painting from Graham’s estate to the exhibition so that any money raised from the sale of it could go to the charity MSF Médecins Sans Frontières. The painting sold and the money will be given to this charity.

Terry Ralph next to his portrait of David Hockney.

It takes a team of people to put together the Annual Exhibition every year. The Chairman, Peter Tuitt, was supported by members of the committee, who together with many of the exhibiting artists and society members, were responsible for mounting the exhibition again this year.

Valerie Painter, Sue Whitehead, Craig Whitehead, Peter Tuitt, Sarah Jane Croke, Liz Seward, Olga Salgado, Lesley Kilner

A special vote of thanks should go to the volunteers who worked with Craig Whitehead to get all the display stands erected on Thursday morning and then dismantled them again on Saturday; this is no mean feat. Good to see they are all still smiling in this photograph. Great work! Thank you!

The installation team: Alan Stoney, Valerie Painter, Craig Whitehead, John Stacey, Nick Warlow, Brian Hammans, Tom Moss, Eileen Huson, Malcolm Huson, Ben Jose, Paul Allen, Tracey Allen, Terry Ralph

At the close of the Annual Exhibition many of the paintings have moved to an On-Line Exhibition on the website. These can be seen by following this link:

Gallery of exhibition photos

The Society’s thanks must go to Alan Meeks of the Windlesham & Camberley Camera Club who kindly attended the Reception Evening and provided most of the photographs used in the write up and all the photos in the gallery below.


Annual Exhibition 2022 Reception Evening

Thursday 1st September 7.30 pm – 9.30 pm

Invitations have been sent out to members and friends to attend the opening of this year’s Annual Exhibition at an Evening Reception held at High Cross Church, Knoll Road, Camberley.

Please contact a member of the committee if you would like an invitation to attend this event.


Silk Painting Session

with Carole Head

Friday 12th August 2022

Carole Head

Carole began the session by explaining that her objective was to explain how and why she paints silk in the way she does and to give everyone a chance to experience her iron fix method while explaining that there are other methods.

Steam fixing silk paint is the traditional method. Jacquard silk paints are a well known make for this. Steaming can be problematic but it does produce beautiful bright colours.  Home steaming gets the best results when done with a vegetable steamer.  You wrap your silk artwork on a piece of muslin and then in blank newspaper.  Condensation is the enemy as drops can ruin the artwork.  Steam fixing works well with a tie dye design and there are lots of examples of this on YouTube and the internet. It is also possible to steam fix in the microwave. Microwave steam fixing needs the wet in wet technique of silk paint and you cannot use gutta.

Example of microwave steam fixing that produced uneven colour and the design was drawn on with fabric pens as the gutta had come off in the microwave.

Iron fix is much simpler and it is Carole’s preferred method. At all the silk painting classes Carole has attended she was expected to stretch the silk onto a wooden frame by pinning it with special pins.  The pins should always be placed slightly off centre from their opposite number and the silk must be taught but not stretched out of shape.   It is possible to get an adjustable wooden frame but even this is not large enough for a scarf.  For long pieces some people use plastic piping and rubber bands.  Once again there are lots of examples of this on the internet.   It is also possible to stretch silk on an embroidery hoop but the size and shape has its limitations.

An embroidery hoop can be used to stretch the silk. Here the butterfly has been outlined with gold gutta before using blue iron fix paint to paint the butterfly.

Eventually Carole discovered Freezer Paper and found it was perfect for what she wanted to do. It was the right width for the silk scarves she wanted to paint. It is possible to get several long scarves out of one roll of 50 square ft Reynolds Plastic Coated Freezer Paper.  Getting the right temperature to make sure the silk sticks to the paper and yet the iron does not damage the silk is tricky. It is then possible to see through the silk and paper in order to trace an outline design straight onto the silk with the gutta.

Example of a design drawn with gold gutta. This was a practise piece.

Solvent based Gutta is a thick substance that is derived from Indonesian rubber trees (Gutta Percha). It is used almost exclusively for the French Serti Technique of painting on silk. Gutta comes in clear, black, gold metallic and silver metallic.Water-based gutta can take up to half an hour to dry and when using gutta straight from the tubes it can come out rather thickly. Using a hairdryer can speed up the drying time.  The gutta gets fixed to the silk at the same time as the paints when the artwork is ironed at the end of the process.  It is best to leave ironing overnight to ensure everything is dry.

A piece of silk divided in four was used to try out different painting techniques on the silk

Everyone was given a small piece of silk that had already been ironed onto the Freezer paper.  People were encouraged to try to blend colours in one square, to paint wet in wet on another, perhaps try to create a tartan design in another and finally, in the fourth square either dilute paint with water or, if time allowed, to try a little gutta design. However the gutta must be completely dry before paint can be applied.

An example of one of the Silk Craft gutta printed designs ironed onto freezer paper and painted with iron on silk paints.

Silk Craft produce a workshop set of ready prepared gutta printed designs.  Everyone was asked to choose a design and the colours that wanted to work work with for their design.  Only a few drops of each colour was needed and this was put into the wells of the a watercolour palette. After dipping the paint brush into a colour it is applied using only the tip to the centre of the area to be painted in that colour. The paint spreads to the gutta outline leaving the paint to spread rather than painting to the outline. To change to another colour, clean the brush and dry it on kitchen paper.  For the background dilute the paint with water so that it is a third parts water.  Apply this mixture as the background colour.  Salt can be used to create a mottled effect.  To fix the paint iron it once it is dry. 

Example of one of Carole’s silk scarves painted using freezer paper, gold gutta and iron fix silk paints.

There are different weights of silk.  Ponge 5 which is very fine was used for this session.  Ponge 6 is slightly less fine and Habotai 8 is thicker and also more expensive.  Carole buys her silk and silk scarves from Silk Craft.

The paints Carole uses are Pebeo Setasilk that can set by ironing on the reverse side of the painted fabric. 48 hours after having been set, the colours resist hand-washing and dry cleaning. Pebeo paints can be bought from Jacksons Art Supplies, Amazon and other outlets.