Image with multiple techniques

I like to paint on silk, which is to me a beautiful gift from nature, a fibre that has been cultivated for over 3,500 years. The silk painter needs some materials which are familiar to artists in other mediums, such as watercolour brushes and stretcher bars, and some that are unique to silk painting, such as gutta and specialised silk dyes. I use Dupont brand French dyes, because they create an intense shimmery quality to the pieces.

The silk itself also plays a part. I generally paint on crÍpe de chine: it is a luminescent surface to paint on, the smoothest and most luxurious of all the crÍpes. The other silk I use is pongee, which has a smoother surface, and is therefore more suited to paintings with sharp lines.

As a silk painter, I use several techniques to create special effects. Salt crystals will create a shimmering light effect. Alcohol is used to create a sharp separation between colours. After alcohol treatment I can add the next colour without it bleeding into the colour beside it. On the other hand painting onto wet silk creates soft shapes and patterns which merge into each other. Occasionally I use gutta, made from the sap of the percha tree, which is native to Indonesia. Gutta hardens to form lines between shapes that form little dams between the wet colours, so they cannot blend into each other. The guttta line-building technique allows me to paint the layers of misty mountains by separating one row of mountains from another so I can paint each row with paler colour as the mountains recede.

After the silk painting is finished, the silk painting is steamed and then washed or dry cleaned. The steaming process not only sets the dyes permanently and bonds them with the silk, but also develops the colour, bringing out all its brightness and intensity. Once the finishing processes are complete, the silk regains its natural softness and lustre, and the painting forms a permanent and integral part of the silk.