Oil Paint Experiments: Shiva Paintstiks


My first attempts at oil-painting deeply touched me, so I want to share my experience with you.

Shiva Iridescent Paintstiks sounded perfect for my fabric-painting. I also loved that they could be used for rubbings. (You know how rubbing a pencil over paper that’s held against a tombstone makes an impression on the paper?)

Precise, detailed fabric painting is my focus and I love it, but it doesn’t suit all my needs. More than once, I’ve spent a week making a very detailed scarf then, once it’s folded to wear, it doesn’t look good because all my labor-intensive painting is hidden in the folds. (I framed some of those scarfs, so all was not lost.) It is even more disconcerting if you realize that my painting is one-of-a-kind, so there’s goodly additional time spent creating a design for each piece. The past couple of years, I’ve bit by bit learned to paint better scarfs, but only recently felt successful.

Rubbings with Shiva Paintstiks seemed another way to give a scarf a sweep of design that worked in folded fabric. For example, I wanted a general impression of a garden, instead of floral details no one would see. (Heh, pun about rubbings: “Impression,” get it?)

I set about trying to design and construct rubbing plates. (If you want a DIY rubbing plates tutorial, lemme know, I have a lot of tips, because I became obsessed about making plates.)


My homemade plates consist of thick 3-D lines, made with Jones Tones metallic fabric paint, on old CDs and CD cases. (I’m a genius!) There was lots of trial ‘n’ error: I made 40 plates, tossed ten, and had to salvage many of the remaining ones by redoing them. (Yes, I got obsessed.)

Also, it also took a bit of practice to learn how to actually do a rubbing, but the process was fun.



3rdRub7WT 3rdRubColg

Conventional wisdom tells us to look at other people’s designs for ideas. I avoid that, fearing it will cloud my mind so I can’t see my own visions. Also, if I subconsciously translate other people’s work as “the right approach,” I won’t recognize my own style. So I researched technical use of Shiva Paintstiks (such as colorfastness, and how to set the paint), but avoided seeing people’s actual rubbings, except when part of a technical article or vid.

Point is, I don’t know how my rubbings compare with ones made on professionally made plates. I imagine mine are messier and more primitive. But I need my own style. And the rubbings made clothes I’ll love wearing…hmm, I guess that says it all, I guess I like my rubbing plates, LOL!

The next thing I tried was using Paintstiks directly, no plates. I like the result but, at first, did not and didn’t care, bc the sheer process of painting directly with Paintstiks was a joy joy joy. See next three pics:

DirctApp2OB DirctApp4aOB DirctAppColg

Then, I used Paintstiks directly on another unloved Tee, after which I made rubbing plate impressions over that. I don’t know what I think of the outcome. See below. Feedback?



I have mixed feelings about my Paintstiks experiments, which spanned several weeks, because I’m unsure where to go next. The rest of this post are my thoughts about that.

Sometimes the results of your efforts do not matter, if the process is enjoyable and helps your creativity grow.

I’ll continue with Shiva Paintstiks because, whatever the end result, the process of using them thrills me on a visceral level.

Making my own rubbing plates, and the specific way I’m using them (more about that, next paragraph) are possibly as labor-intensive as painting directly on the fabric to make one of a kind pieces. But labor-intensive can be worth it.

Most of the time, I might be using my plates eccentrically. Usually, I’ve seen rubbing plates employed to texture small fabric pieces that become a quilt patch. I don’t quilt, and do not need textured cloth or small pictures on small fabric pieces. Primarily a painter, I want a large OOAK picture that is a composite of rubbings, e.g. a floral landscape in which each flower, leaf, or branch is placed precisely. Also, I mostly used the plates on large areas of assembled clothing, which was difficult.

Though I’m bringing my usual precision into the process, the messiness of my own rubbing plates frees me up. And I like how the messiness, sweep, and meticulous combine.

As I said, my work prior to this tended to be calligraphic: sharply-defined, ornate lines. I’m not letting go of that or the paints best suited to it. Oil paint creates a whole different look. Time and practice will improve my skill with it, and tell how to best use it to express me. For one thing, messiness might be part and parcel of the approach I am exploring, but it is maybe too messy.

Thanks for sharing my first efforts using Paintstiks. I would love to hear about your own experiments. One last pic:


Mea culpa! The manufacturer is Jack Richeson.

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16 Responses to Oil Paint Experiments: Shiva Paintstiks

  1. Pingback: DIY Rubbing Plates | Outlaw Bunny

  2. Ruth says:

    I too luv your paint stick clothing. My first thought on how to make a rubbing (after reading yours) was to use hot glue and a pizza box. Havent tried yet so not sure it would work but think I will give it a whirl, Right now am wanting to do a landscape wall hanging. Haven’t had a successful rubbing yet so will have to keep trying.
    Thanks for sharing,.

    • Francesca De Grandis says:

      Ruth, Thank you for yr support!!!!! I imagine cardboard and hot glue wld work, let me know how it goes. And keep on trying!

  3. Kathy says:

    I love love LOVE your pieces! Would you please post how you made your own rubbing plates? I would like to make my own images and freezer paper stencils just aren’t durable enough.

    BTW, Shelly Stokes has a detailed “Oils Over Acrylic” article in her April newsletter.

    • Francesca De Grandis says:

      Wow, oh, wow, I never expected going against the grain wld garner this post the support that you and others are giving me, thank you so much!!!!!!! And thanks for the tip re Shelly’s article on acrylics used with oils, bc I use a lot of acrylics and was told they do not mix well with the oils, so I want to see what shelly says. I am delighted (!!!) to post how to make the plates, my plate (virtual plate, not rubbing plate) is full with blog commitments right now, but i will try hard to get to a rubbing plate blog within the next month or so. Thanks again!!!

  4. Irena Mickunas says:

    Hi, Francesca, thank you for sharing your beautiful works on clothing, I am an artist and express myself in creating paintings. I will try to paint my tops with acrylic liquid paints, mediums and dyes, enhancing with shiva iridescent paintstics, wish me luck, Irena.

    • Francesca De Grandis says:

      Irena, TU sooo much for yr supportive compliments and for taking time to visit me here at my site. Wow, acrylic liquid paints, mediums and dyes, enhanced with Paintstiks. Let me know how that goes, would love to see it. Sounds fun! Do Paintstiks bond well nuf to cloth to hold fast if applied over acrylics? I have not tried that yet, would love to know.

  5. terry says:

    Wow! Your garments are gorgeous. I love the whole idea of fabric painting/embellishing – especially on wearables. So far I haven’t tried myself, just appreciating the work of others from afar. I’d love info on immersion dying. Anyhow, thanks for the inspiration.

    • Francesca De Grandis says:

      Terry, thank you so much for visiting and commenting and making me feel so good! I will try to type up immersion dyeing info over the next few months. I scribbled it on a scrap of paper a few years ago, and it is difficult to read thru when I dye, so I need an excuse to type it up clearly. Keep me posted if you paint anything!

  6. Pingback: Be My Guest: Francesca De Grandis | Cedar Canyon Textiles

  7. Christina says:

    Beautiful work. I also like the green the most.

  8. julie says:

    really looks like fun to play with! where do I sign?

    i like what you did with it but then on the model, it was remarkably more beautiful! don’t know what that means… maybe i need to get a model for my work too!

    kuddo’s dahling!

    • Francesca De Grandis says:

      Thanks, Jules! Yeah, I wish there had been someone to model the dress and tshirts, they look amazing when worn. I really worked on the way the painting sculpts the body. I need to figure out how to take full body shots of myself, lol, bc not that many of my buds here are the right size. They are mostly too tiny for the clothes I paint. The clothes in this blog are size large. And the friend in the pic is only over once every week or two.

  9. Kathleen says:

    Very pretty stuff, FDG!! I like the green shirt way better after the rubbings. LOVE the texture it created. You’re making me want to make some stuff and paint on it! You may be my craft guru this summer for dying and painting! Keep it up! I bet you could sell these on Etsy, if you haven’t already!

    • Francesca De Grandis says:

      OMG, I wld luv to teach you low-immersion dyeing, it is so easy, but great colorfastness. I been thinking of typing it up anyway. Anything you want to learn, i’m in, bc u r always so generous explaining tech stuff to me that I don’t know. Haven’t put oil painted stuff on etsy yet, bc only just finished the pieces for moi in this blog, but want to sell only a little clothing, bc folks get weird about their garb. Will probly make some scarfs and altarcloths with the oils, though. I am jealous that you can make yr own stuff before painting it! As u know, my sewing sucks. Hey, just got out that full length black velvet and lace dress u made me for my 40th bday, bc needed to move it. I still love that dress!

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