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Practical Art – Painting on fabric

Coffee With Joan

Joan Sullivan is a Artist, Historian & Author. She is a classically trained artist who discovered a love of history through painting who produced “Picture the Past,” a monthly show featuring local ranches and other areas of historical interest which aired locally for over 10 years. Find out more at

September 24, 2021

There are painters, sculptors, ceramicists, writers and artists that work in several different media. I think of painting and the many opportunities it offers in the way of its practicality. That’s the way it has been with me.


I discovered textile painting many years ago when I accidently stained a favorite blouse. I created a way I could continue to wear the damaged garment by painting over the stained area. I used acrylic tubes of paint and squeeze the three basic colors alizarin crimson, cad yellow and ultra blue onto a paper plate. Then I stretch the soiled garment over a piece of cardboard so the paint doesn’t go through to the back of the shirt. I gather several designs from my collection of flower images and, using a watercolor brush, I draw flower petals and leaves onto the fabric letting it dry before I remove the cardboard.

I recommend practicing on fabric that is not of any value in order to obtain the flower effect that appeals to you before you paint on your favorite blouse or shirt. Try painting on a pillow case or white dish towel. It’s fun and worth the effort. I continue to wear the pieces I painted many year ago. It’s almost like wearing works of art. Well not quite, but of value to the wearer for sure.

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