Toowoomba artist Cecile Arndt is giving a new meaning to silk painting at the Kingaroy Art Gallery, and will be teaching her techniques at a workshop later this month

July 3, 2019

Most people associate silk painting with brightly coloured scarves and the reason is simple: putting dye on to strips of fabric is the easiest way to learn the art.

But Toowoomba-based artist Cecile Arndt has been pushing the boundaries of silk painting during the past 10 years, and guests at Kingaroy Art Gallery this month will be able to see the striking results she’s achieved.

On Thursday night (July 4), the Art Gallery will be unveiling the second, final month of its nine-week Queensland Winter Craft Festival at 6:00pm.

As well as Cecile’s works, the July exhibition will feature a large display of textile art by the Tangled Threads Textile Art Group and a display of woodworking, wood turning and gemstones from South Burnett woodcraft and gemstone groups.

Cecile has been painting silks for more than 10 yearsand admits she has no formal training in textile arts.

Instead, she taught herself the original French “serti” technique of painting on silk known as “gutta resist”.  Designs are outlined in gutta on white silk that has been pre-washed, dried and stretched.

Once the gutta has dried, it acts as a barrier to the dye or paint. This keeps the colour within sharply defined borders.

After the dye or paint has been set, the clear gutta is removed.

Cecile has improved on this technique by using a steamer to set the dyes into the fabric, then washing and ironing the finished result before mounting it in a frame.

“I am totally captivated with the endless possibilities of painting on silk and how lines, colours, shades and even the use of salt can give a painting a life of its own,” she said.

“Silk painting is traditionally a very formal and restrictive art process but I’ve been exploring new ways to change the subject matter and break boundaries using this amazing medium.”

Cecile also teaches her techniques, and will be holding a workshop later this month to pass on her methods, tips and tricks to South Burnett residents interested in exploring silk painting.

  • The Queensland Winter Craft Festival continues at the Kingaroy Regional Art Gallery in Haly Street, Kingaroy from 10:00am to 4:00pm daily, and 9:00am to 1:00pm on weekends, until the end of July. Admission to view the exhibitions is free.
Two more examples of Cecile’s work … many of her other pieces fill the third gallery

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