Silk-Painting Madness

Everyone should have at least one friend with whom they can do insane (or just plain weird) things. I am fortunate enough to have that kind of friend in abundance (as has been seen before).  So last year, a friend and I were in a silk painting class at school and we didn’t really like it much. Both of us like drawing, simple drawing, with pencils. We shy away from color and paint. Silk painting is all about color and dye and no detail. Not a great match.

I had done a version of silk painting over the summer at an arts camp. I say a version because the method there was very different from at school and less really artsy. I was allowed to produce these simple testaments to my obsession:

My argument was that there was lots of little detail in the Gryffindor crest; the teacher at camp may have bought it, but my school teacher certainly wouldn’t. So in the class, we had to be really creative. Which meant produce stuff in the style of the teacher, to his liking, and use every suggestion he gave us.

Result? This:

In the works. . .

Completed and crumpled.

So we decided we wanted to do something more interesting and fun for us.

Result? This:

So yeah. . . you can’t see what that is at all.

And that’s hard to make out as well.

Well, we found this picture book in the art room (and I feel terrible that I don’t remember what it was called or the author’s name) about a rather grim circus. The illustrations were hilarious and we immediately started doing sketches in the style of the artist on the table. Then we got the idea to make one big silk out of all the characters and things and what you saw above was the product. . . well, sort of. We never actually finished it.

We really only wanted to do the drawing for it. Take as long a time as possible on that so we’d never have to do the silk. We did end up starting the silk (two of them actually, one for each of us, and they were huge) but summer interrupted our work and we have no idea what the teacher did with the silks. But we have the original drawing and its xerox.  And it was the drawing we were proud of and liked.

We did the whole thing together, though roughly I did most of the right side and my friend did most of the left. There are contributions everywhere though. Like I couldn’t draw the ferris wheel for my life, so she did that while I drew the dragon.

So here it is, I guess. It’ll have to come in pieces, because the thing was so huge, though.

That’s the center of the piece. It’s a big wooden boxy crate thing with a bunch of tentacles coming out of it. You can also see the “frog prince” on the right, one of the characters on the left, and the “Cheshire cat” at the top of the ladder. The tentacles and crate are the only things in the piece that were a complete collaboration. The “frog prince” was all her (gross isn’t he?) as was the girl on the left. I did the cat and his ladder.

This is most of the left side of the banner. There’s that girl, and the crow beside her. The princess was my friend, but the girl with the big hair was a collaborative effort: I did the hair and ear and my friend did the rest. There’s my dragon and one of my tents. The fence is all collaboration.

There’s the princess up close. We spilled dye on her.

The girl, also sprinkled with dye. What lovely knees you have, my dear.

That’s the original (and better) dragon’s head. He had to be cut off because we cut the size down to fit the biggest silks we had and he was too far over. The dinosaur leg was lost then, as well.

Moving back over to the right, there’s the “frog prince.” Just ravishing, isn’t he? I did the girl and her doll.

Then we have that same big-haired girl staring at a spider as some monster looks through a crack in the fence at her. This three-eyed crow is mine and we don’t know what that eyeball in the crack at the bottom is doing there.

Above that girl’s head is a phoenix. I drew him and made his tail too complicated.

Going back a bit, here’s a detail of the “Cheshire Cat.” Probably the most sorry-looking and insane cat you’ll ever see.

Then, moving over from big-hair girl, there are three stuffed animals against the fence. My friend drew them. For awhile we were thinking of making actual replicas of them. If that ever happens, I’ll post them too.

Slightly above and to the right of the stuffed animals are the flying horse and the girl riding him. I did the horse and girl, my friend did the horse’s wings (though I did that extremely detailed tail) and she did the balloons. Another of my tents, yay!

Close-up of the girl and horse, because I like them.

So then here’s the ferris wheel I couldn’t draw about eight times and then my friend did it in one go. It has skulls on the basket things.

My friend drew the ringmaster. He’s peeping in from the far right side of the banner. He reminds me of Harold Zidler from Moulin Rouge.

And I think that’s it. I wish I could get a better picture of the whole thing.

Maybe this’ll help:


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