Kensington art work probably, at the present time, is attracting more attention than the other methods of painting on silk and velvet. Kensington embroidery had its day, and while it has not altogether passed out of use, it is nevertheless, like many other methods of art needle-work, being improved upon, and for the old method of doing the work with the thread, paint is being substituted, which far exceeds the more ancient work in splendor and simplicity. The great progress lately made in this accomplishment, the amount of mechanical and artistical power, far excels whatever else has formerly been called into use. Notwithstanding all this, however, the art has not reached that wide state of perfection which, from the exquisite effects, it is capable of producing.
Kensington painting, in general appearance, resembles Kensington embroidery, and as the latter seemed to pass away, the former caught up the name, the idea being to produce with paint and brush upon cloth, a fac simile of the raised work of embroidery, to answer a demand of artists in oil for something new, Materials Used. For doing the work procure the follow-ing materials: The best probably for the purpose would be a brass pen, one that is very elastic; a goose quill would answer the purpose. Next is a round piece of steel, or needle, such as is used by milliners, and set in a handle if you wish. Three sable brushes, Nos. 3, 5, and 7. Cut from brush No. 3 all the bristles, leaving nothing but the abrupt square end of the metal holder; from No. 7 cut away nearly two-thirds of the hair, leaving it with a round end, and you have the required tools.
Now arrange the velvet upon which the painting is to be laid, by stretching it upon pasteboard, and fasten with thumb tacks, so as it may be kept in place for working upon : after this is done, stamp upon it the pattern you wish to have painted. This can better be executed at a place where stamping for embroidery and other work is generally done, and where designs can be found from which you can select just the pattern you wish.
If you have a picture you would like to paint, that is not perforated, you may make a transfer of it to velvet by pricking through with a fine needle, following carefully and completely the full outlines of the copy before you, after this is done, and before the picture is moved, press through the now perforated pattern white powder, with a soft pad, which will show up the outlines of what you seek, on the velvet beneath, or you can use the transfer process given on page 28. It is now ready to receive the painting.
The Colors used are Winsor & Newton's oil colors in tubes, and the opaque mixture for thinning. Flake white, rose madder, cerulean blue, vermilion, chrome green Nos. 1 and 2, burnt sienna, orange chrome, emerald green, mauve lake. For Poppies use Chinese vermilion, a little chrome yellow and green for the centers; for Pansies use mauve lake, with green and yellow for the center; for Daisies (white) with yellow centers, use flake white, with chrome yellow for the center; Forget-me-nots, use light blue, by mixing white with permanent blue, clot the centers with yellow; for leaves, use green, with a little Naples yellow and Chinese vermilion for autumn leaves; for stems of flowers, use green, and green heightened with white for grasses, and where the leaves require it; for Wild Rose, use rose madder and white, apply same as in poppy.
Applying the Color9. After the piece has been fastened to the board, and the flower is stamped thereon, you may begin the painting. Take first a Forget-me-not. Commence with pencil No. 3. Take upon the brush all it will hold of cerulean blue, mixed with white lake, lay this upon the point which you are to place the flower, and with the brush press it out by rolling the brush from the center to the outline of the petal of the flower, in such quantities as to show a rolled edge, (resembling the embroidery), leaving the center with but little of the paint. With the same brush, or point of the pen, (after cleaning with naptha), touch the center with a small particle of chrome yellow, (about the size of a pin head). Now, with the needle, lay on the stems, using green. In doing this, cover the whole of the needle with the color, and lay on the velvet full length, drawing it over the outline, and rolling in the fingers as you move it. This is also used in making flat grasses and leaves. In painting the daisy a pen is used. Place the paint first upon a palette knife, and then take it off from the knife with the pen, which will be found much more convenient, being particular to get the point full of the color by laying the pen sideways when taking it up, (using flake white), press to the outside of the flower, and by bearing heavy enough you will find it carries the color to the outline of the petal in rolls, leaving the center almost void of color. The instrument used for this should be very elastic, and one not easily broken by bending. After you have gone over each petal, dot the center, by using No. 3 brush, with chrome yellow and burnt sienna, mixed, using enough of the color to fit the space of pistil.
In painting the Poppy, use No. 7 brush for outside petals, and No. 5 for inside, or smaller ones. Press as before directed upon the brush, and turning it at the same time toward the outline, pressing the paint to the margin of the petal, and leaving it there in a roll, with the center of the petal as before mentioned. This being done, take brush No. 3, and with chrome yellow place in the pistil and stamens (commonly called the "heart"). For other flowers, follow instructions as previously laid down.
The outlines of flowers are made with brush No. 3, and the pen. The needle is again employed for drawing in the veins, using for this light green, and apply as heretofore directed, by covering with the color, and draw full length over the outlines endwise.
In making autumn leaves, take No. 5 brush, using for this vermilion, chrome yellow and burnt sienna, and sometimes a little green. For durability, this painting will compare favorably with any other method.
N. B. - When the opaque mixture is used no previous preparation or coating of any kind is necessary. The colors will not spread, run or stain silk or velvet of the most delicate shade or tint, beyond the outline.
Use the opaque mixer, to thin the paint to its proper consistency before applying, using no oils, turpentine, or dryer of any kind with the mixer, as it is of itself a sufficient dryer.
If your silk or material painted shows a dampness beyond the line of color, let it remain until the coler dries, and it will all evaporate dry, leaving no stain whatever on the material, placing the paint beautifully in rolls, to imitate what it is intended to, Kensington embroidery.