Silk painter Nancy Korman shows some of her work. She and other members of the Vancouver Island Silk Painters are holding their 18th exhibition, starting Oct. 3 at the MAC in Parksville. — Adam Kveton

Silk painters offer Kaleidoscope of Colour in Parksville

Artist discusses capitalizing on ‘beautiful surprises’

Nancy Korman has spent 18 years painting silk — learning how to control dyes to render images of people in the fine material.

But there are still surprises when you’re dealing with colours that don’t like to be controlled, she said.

Still, rather than seeing them as problems, these are gifts, said Korman, and one of the reasons she loves the art.

Some of her work, and that of about 10 other members of the Vancouver Island Silk Painters will make up the Kaleidoscope of Colour exhibition at the MAC running from Oct. 3-28.

The group, formerly the Silk Worm Club, will have about 20 pieces at its 18th annual show, Korman said, with styles ranging from modern and interpretive to realism.

Some members focus on flowers, others create abstract designs, some create animal paintings, while Korman tends to have people as her subjects.

“I like to have a realism with an emotion,” she said of her work. “If I can evoke an emotion out of the viewer, whether it is sadness or joy or whatever it might be, if I have accomplished that, then I have succeeded.”

Korman began silk painting when the group began, being taught by Maureen Walker.

Korman credits her for being able to teach the members of the group while leaving them all with their own individual styles.

“That’s a good teacher,” said Korman.

One of the hallmarks of this type of painting is the vibrancy of the dyes, Korman said, in addition to a certain translucence that she said she enjoys.

The process of the art starts with stretching raw silk on a frame, and applying resist to control the dyes, said Korman. The artists all start with the same six colours, and have to mix those to come up with various others.

Asked what it’s like trying to keep the dyes where she wants them, Korman said, “I am in control, but I have to be ready to accept the gift that the silk and the dye give me.”

“Because the colours blend and flow together, sometimes we get the surprises … The dyes just mix on the silk itself. They’ll blend together into something that is so unexpected and it is so beautiful, and that is part of the reason why I paint in silk is the unexpected gifts that I get.”

The Kaleidoscope of Colour exhibit begins Oct. 3 and runs to Oct. 28, with an opening reception for this and two other MAC exhibitions taking place Oct. 7 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

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