My other art medium is watercolor. I have taken several workshops from an outstanding watercolorist, Wendell Mohr, of nearby Keosauqua, Iowa. He does a lot of 'wet on wet' work, and one of the exercises he teaches involves this process to get a varied, glowing background:
1. thoroughly wet the paper and attach it to a board
2. starting on one edge, with the board upright, brush on a pigment heavy, juicy swath of a color
3. let it run down the page
4. turn the board 90 degrees, and repeat with another color--all while the first wash is still wet
5. let this run down, blending with the first color
6. turn again another 90 degrees, and repeat with a third color.
This can result in a beautiful, glowing, varied background. Any three colors can work, and done wet on wet you don't get any mud.
So I decided to try this on fabric. My first attempt was outside with a large linen tablecloth hung on a clothesline, using Procion Mx dyes. Although very messy, it worked great. Do I have a picture of it? No. Did I mention it was a LARGE tablecloth?
The other day I decided to try the same process with Setacolor fabric paints. This time I chose a linen napkin and pinned it to a piece of gator board. I got the fabric wet, and used a yellow, ultramarine blue, and oriental red. Here is the result:
It is close to what I intended. I found that at least with Setacolor, i have the ability to muddy it up some, whether I want to or not. This paint doesn't flow on this substrate as well as watercolor does on paper, so I had to help it along by continuing to add water and 'pushing' it along. I like the piece, and will do more like it--and make something of this one. I put paper towels beneath the edge of the board to protect my tabletop, and got some interesting paper towels that I've been using in mixed media work.
So it was a successful experiment. And I continue to like the implied texture provided by the pattern of the damask weave on linens--I like that a close study of my work would show this reference to the past.