For the last 30 years I have been a self-taught Artist in hand painting-on silk. I received a lesson from a friend in Vancouver. Since then I have learned a lot through books, and experimentation as I have had to develop my technique slowly, and with my fair share of trial and error. Although I don`t recommend this way to anyone, I have stumbled across many different styles that achieve amazing results.
Painting on silk begins with luxurious pure white China silk stretched tightly on a frame. I always have a design in mind, and a plan of how to paint it. Although I never totally control it, I try to feel the colors and image I am creating. I use a pen that fades away after 24 hours to draw this image. Then I must use a gutta resist to make the outline. The purpose of the resist is to stop the flow of dye, and create a barrier, which makes the outline of the image. When the gutta dries, then I can use my French dyes and start to paint with these vibrant colors using salt, alcohol, wet and dry backgrounds, and various techniques to achieve the needed results. Often times I must just let my imagination run wild and discover something totally different happening than the original plan. This type of art needs to be lucid and free, as the dyes are vibrant, pure, and intense and this evolves by "feeling" the colors. After the painting is completed I let it dry and then steam it for several hours to set the dyes and increase the intensity of the colors. Then they are bathed in alternating hot and cold baths to remove the gutta lines and any left over dyes. Then they are towel dried and ironed.
This painting is very permanent and durable. The silk pieces can be washed in cold water or dry cleaned. It is not advisable to hang in direct sunlight. Silk is a natural fibre, and in time direct sunlight would fade the colors and damage the silk. Each of my paintings are unique, and one of a kind.
Helene has been involved with Signs of the Times, Women Works, for fundraisers where the Artist's Paintings were auctioned off. She has also donated to fund raisers with Muscular Dystrophy, Anderson House, and Addiction Services. As well, she has had an Art show at Beanz, a CBC Interview with Nicole Paradis, newspaper article in La Voix Acadienne, cover of the Buzz, and has created a CD cover for Anastasia DesRoches. Her art has been in Galleries, such as the Confederation Centre in the Art Sales and Rental Gallery, Pilar Shepherd's Gallery, and the Stanley Bridge Studios. Her paintings have been sold in Canada and the USA.