Theorem Painting was enjoyed by many classes from the late 1700′s to the mid 1800′s. I once read that it was easier and less time consuming for the young ladies to do than a sampler. Those who were wealthier would work on velvet or silk, while the less fortunate would paint theorems on paper or even wooden planks I have heard.
The products used mostly in my art form are cotton velveteen and artist oil paints. I also use very small badger stencil brushes made just for theorem painting. Turpentine is used with linseed oil to thin the paints for the handwork. Aging the theorem is the last important step. I dye them in coffee (not tea), and shape the fabric while it is drying to create an aged look.
When I saw this art form done a number of years ago, I was very intrigued by the stencils and how, when layered, they could form such a beautiful picture. I have always been very interested in design and color, and this was a chance for me to put both of my talents together. After taking lessons and painting for two years, I had to stop working due to an illness. Not knowing my illness was progressing, is art form gave me structure to what could otherwise be a very tedious day.
There are endless ideas to further the art form. Some people paint theorems that look like stenciling. This is more of a craft form of theorems. However, to make a real art form, layering and shading is the way to make items take on life. Recently, I have been delving into a folk style, trying paper theorems in German patterns. It has proven to be successful, and are now available. Of course, I have traditional and primitive theorem designs, but I also have a style that I feel is a bit more unique, including horticultural and Asian designs.
My husband has made many beautiful frames for me because of the beautiful wood he has available. But since there is still a calling for grained frames for many theorems (which is the traditional theorem frame), I have been glad to also offer these to my customers.