Artist of the Month - February 2001
- Silk Passion
By Carol Wells
medium of painting images on silk is not a new idea. Indeed, as early
as the Six Dynasties period, Gu Kaizhi (344-404) one of the greatest artists
of Chinese antiquity, was painting on silk.
There is something about the quality of silk itself, combining a luminescence
and transparency while maintaining a fluid motion that the paint of the
painting on it, once had.
Ive been intrigued with Juliette Langenours art, especially
on silk because it takes on both an earthy and ethereal quality, combining
heaven and earth to make her silk scarves, shawls, and umbrellas.
There are recognizable patterns from the animal and plant world, even
the stars. But she combines them in unusual and inspired designs with
alluring colors that repeatedly capture your gaze, and make you want to
touch them. But Juliette has also had success using her techniques on
non silk items such as duvets and pillow cases, as well as on cut and
Juliette has only been working with silk for the past year, she confesses
shes always been working in art, and it really took off in junior
high and high school. In fact, when I asked her what the most unusual
thing shed done artistically, she told me that aside from painting
an entire bathroom in pointillism, it was a life size drummer made out
of paper maché that was entered in the regional art show during
She began her artistry with drawing, oil painting and some watercolors.
Juliette told me that she enjoyed realism in painting but from unusual
angles. That idea still comes through in some of her silk paintings.
I asked Juliette how she got interested in painting on silk, and she said
it was something that always had fascinated her, and so she took a class
offered at the Moab Arts & Rec Center. However, Juliette uses a different
process called Deka Silks. Though it still uses a resist
method, there is no mixing the paints and they lend themselves to silk
salts which achieve a nebula effect that Juliette enjoys producing.
The fact that silks were more like watercolors, attracted Juliette; and
though they took time to get used to, her experimental results were good
enough that she could keep most of the items.
The most challenging pieces in silk, are the umbrellas. They are
difficult and time consuming because of the shape, explains Juliette.
Juliette grew up in Indiana and at the age of 19, moved to Wyoming for
a time. From there, out of her love for the desert, she picked out Moab
from the map because it looked a little more isolated. She moved to Moab
in May of 1998.
Though Juliette is focusing her time on silks because of her show at Red
Rock Bakery from April 1st through May 31st this year; she finds her time
equally divided between her bead work and silk painting.
found her bead work was born out of the need to find what wasnt
available where she was living in Indiana. True to form, her bead work
is as exquisite as her silk painting. Her beaded bracelets, and choker
necklaces are finely hand crafted and showcase the same elements of original
design and color that she employs when she paints on silk.
When asked what gives her the inspiration that infuses her art, Juliette
replied, The native plants, the sky, the rocks, our incredible sunset
colors. Hiking alone in winter provides my spiritual renewal. Along with
container gardening, I like to bake and figure out my own recipes.
All these fill the artists well that she must draw from to complete
her creative endeavors.
I was curious to find out if Juliette sketched her ideas before she implemented
Sometimes I pre-draw a plant to get the feel for it, but mostly
I write down ideas. I pretty much use the image straight out of my head,
or at least part of the image. Once part of the image is done, I can usually
see where its going to go to complete the design.
Juliette dyes most of the silks a specific color that she has in mind
to go along with the design that will be painted on later.
Juliette creates a richness of colors and patterns in her artwork that
promises a long and talented career as an artist.
Aside from her upcoming show at Red Rock Bakery in April, Juliettes
silk items and bead work are always available at Cave Dreamers Gift
Shop on Main Street, Moab, Utah.
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