Silk Painting With Lola Fonseca – A Master In Madrid

silk painting


My daughter and I just arrived in Madrid this morning.  It's really the first trip we've done in the better part of a year.  Our neighborhood in Santiago has been pretty much on lockdown since March so we haven't gone out much at all.   I decided to republish this article from a couple of years ago since most readers probably haven't seen it.  I'm not sure if I'll get the chance to see my old friend Lola Fonseca.  I hope her studio and store are still running.  Spain has been one of the harder hit counties over the last year.  To me, however, it looks absolutely lively compared with Santiago so we're delighted to be here.  Please enjoy this article.  I'll have some other updates from Spain in the coming weeks.


Last summer, my family and I took a much-anticipated trip to Spain.  I had not been back to Spain in more than 15 years.  As you can imagine, my memories of Madrid revolve around leather, fabric, lace, and heavily embroidered shawls and are still very much intact in my mind.

Growing up in Panama, we valued anything coming from the “Mother Land” — Spain.  It gave you a sort of distinction among your peers even if it was only a tourist trinket from some street market.

So Spain holds many important memories for me.  Not the least of which is of my grandmother who was born in Spain.

silk painting

I have many memories of my grandmother.  She always tied her hair back and usually draped a colorful shawl across her shoulders.  She said the shawl came from Spain.  I can still close my eyes and recreate every single stitch of that shawl in my mind. The embroidered roses and the long fringes falling down all the way past her hips.  She was such a lovely lady. She was born in Cadaqués, Spain and married young, to a Colombian.  Together they raised five children of their own and helped fifteen other adopted children reach adulthood.  Her shawl had been passed down from her mother, and in turn, she passed it down to my mother.

So while in Madrid, I was in search of something similar, driven by nostalgia mostly, but what I found was something truly unique.  Lola Fonseca… Perfect name, perfect studio, vibrant, colorful and made of silk!!!! Actually, I did not find it, it was my husband who had spotted it and knowing me well told me about it and encouraged me to go in.

silk painting

Silk was everywhere and in bold colors. All over the walls and tables were huge scarves that could be worn even as sarongs.  This seemed to be a magical oasis of textile arts hidden away on a beautiful side street.

Silk Painting with Lola Fonseca

The art of silk painting was first recorded in China and goes back more than 2000 years.  So it was refreshing to find someone dedicating their life to mastering this lovely art here in Madrid.

The center of the shop held the best part. It was where Lola did her silk painting.  I had never seen silk painting before in person, I had only seen the beautiful results of this wonderful craft.

silk painting

Photo credit: Lola Fonseca

Watching her move the brush across the silk with such ease inspired me to try it out.



silk painting

A work in progress…Lola Fonseca

Making My First Silk Scarf

Lola was very friendly and eager to teach me some of her skills. She started by teaching me how to stretch the scarf on the loom.

silk painting

Once the scarf was stretched she instructed me on to apply a resin so that the paint does not run out to the edge.

In other words, we are framing the work with a water/paint resistant resin to ensure that the paint is contained to where I want it to be.

After we draw the frame it is time to apply the base coat.  I am thinking I want to wear this silk scarf with a little black dress so I will choose some colors to match.

Unsurprisingly, I discovered that silk painting was not as easy as Lola made it look. I quickly realized that you need to move the brush rather fast and without hesitation, so the color does not pool.  You can see below that this happened to me.  It really takes a lot of confidence to paint boldly and smoothly with such a delicate material.

While the base coat is drying I took the opportunity to chat with Lola.  Her scarfs have been selling for over 20 years.  Today her son Claudio  handles most of the general production since these scarves are exported to all over the world.  Of course, she continues to create her own work and sells her personal creations to interested individuals.

Back to the painting, next I painted the frame with black.  I made a little mistake and had to draw something in there to disguise it.  As I mentioned before this craft is not easy, but boy is it rewarding! I was just happy to be there spending the time with Lola and learning this unique technique.

I kept my design pretty simple because I wanted it to be ready for me to take home the same day.  I chose a traditional pattern of flowers and branches.  Like all crafts, a simple design that is well executed is always better than a complicated one executed poorly.  It is important to keep this in mind when learning any new skill, as learning the basics well will set you up for success and further growth.

Lola then showed me a technique for making petals with one brush stroke, but my brush skills were out of practice and I found it a little difficult…

Painting the branches was a lot easier, it was just a matter of positioning them in a balanced way.  Adding a few buds here and there gave the plant some more substance.

To finish the flowers I used some yellow-gold paint dripped onto their center.  I also used the yellow to highlight the brighter petals.

When I finished, Lola told me to sign the scarf.  I realized that Lola and I have much more in common than I would have thought, we both love textiles (as well as romantic movies 🙂  There is no place where I would rather be than right here in this happy studio.


If you like paint bottles, brushes, and silk, plus the perfect amount of light filtering in and the sounds of steps from the pedestrian street out front — I recommend a visit to this studio.  If you would like to feel the Bohemian vibe of it in the middle of one the most exciting cities in Europe, chatting, painting and drinking coffee… why don't you come by?

You can find Lola's Studio in –> Calle Cervantes 20, Madrid.

silk painting

silk painting

Call ahead to book an appointment or drop by to purchase one of her exquisite designs.


tel:+34 913 69 15 43

If you happened to see Lola this summer say hello and give her two kisses on the cheeks from me.

Update:  Today this lovely studio is directed by Lola's son who is just as talented as his mother.

Photo Credit:   Claudio Mendez Fonseca silk paintingsilk painting

Until Next Time! Happy Sewing!

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41 Responses to Silk Painting With Lola Fonseca – A Master In Madrid

  1. Cheryl Wical says:

    I can very highly recommend the Dharma Trading Company for all of your silk painting needs. They have pre-made blank scarves, several brands of silk paints and dyes, brushes, frames, resist and any other supplies you might need. I have been using them since 2012 and have always been happy with their products and fantastic customer service. And your scarf looks fantastic.

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      Thank you, Cheryl, I have contacted them to see if we can run a promo discount for the readers but, sadly I have no answer. I will try again…

  2. Karen Boyd says:

    I didn’t read this in 2018, so I hope you will repost a picture of you in the gorgeous scarf.

  3. Linda says:

    So exciting. I would love to try silk painting.

  4. Dorothy Stobbs says:

    Your scarf is absolutely beautiful and I know that it will give you many happy memories every time you wear it. Is there a special silk used? I have wanted to paint with alcohol ink on silk and your beautifully detailed blog has given me much encouragement. Thank you so much for all you teach us!!

  5. Thank you for sharing Mayra, your scarf is gorgeous, just wondering what picture did you put on your ‘whoopsy’? I really, really enjoyed this article, you are such an inspiring lady.

    • So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Pauline, thanks for your kind words. I made one of the branches start from the “little mistake”. I think it came out ok.

  6. Maria del Mar McCready says:

    Thank you for sharing this visit! I wish I could go back to visit Spain. My mother was from Malaga and I have traveled from Gibralter, up the coast to Malaga, Sevilla, and Madrid. Seeing the map triggered many memories. I don’t have any painted silk scarves but I have inherited a couple embroidered shawls from my mom and one is massive! By the way, your scarf came out beautiful!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      I will be sharing a dress that will go beautifully with your shall. Hope you get back to your mother’s land, I love Spain, thinking I would like to spend a few months there one day.

      • CLAIRE says:

        OMG. my family is from Barceloneta, Spain. My husband was just there and if I had known about this I would have asked him to buy me a project to make. I am saving this because I want to visit next year. Thank you so much for sharing. and I love your scarf.

        • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

          Thanks Claire, i suggest you send her an email and make a booking to avoid disappointment, I must say she is a warm, wonderful artist and teacher.

      • Elinborg jonsdottir says:

        Hola….I am looking for art shop in spain that sells silk for painting

  7. ange says:

    You are such an inspiration, Mayra! My artistic horizons expand with each of these posts.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Thank you, dear, you are so kind. I am so happy you find inspiration here. You made My day 🙂

  8. Nelly says:

    Thank you for showing us the beautiful scarf you made. That was a very nice pattern you painted. like the colors. How big was the scarf?

  9. HelenG says:

    Lovely scarf! What does the back of it look like, did you paint both sides?

  10. Tammi says:

    That’s really beautiful. Makes me wonder how you get started on a much smaller scale.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Tammy, I am o it, I have been looking for the that myself when I do I will write about it.

  11. luz velez says:

    Excellent article of Lola Fonseca. it’s very inspirational. I am very pleased you have a latin background. I am from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Thank You.

  12. elena says:

    I love the scarf and I’m also very ashamed to say I live just outside of Madrid and I had no idea Lola’s studio was so acsesible. Next time you come to Madrid let me know and you can probably show me around, lol

  13. Aiyana Luttrell says:

    I painted on silk over 40 years ago and I moved to California and lost all my supplies. Recently I’ve been wanting to start again, I know the paints are much better now. Thank you for sharing you seemed to have read my mind. What a pleasant surprise.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Aiyana, looking forward to your art. Hope you can share with us your talent, I am sure that is like riding a bicycle. Keep in touch, please!

  14. Robyn Becker says:

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience with us. I hope some day to visit Madrid. Lola’s shop will definitely be on my list. Your scarf turned out beautifully. Wear it in good health.

  15. Rocio Calvo says:

    What a wonderful experience and what a beautiful scarf! I love hand-painted things. I was in Madrid four years ago and I bought a pair of hand-painted shoes. The lady at the shop was very proud to tell me that they were painted by her daughter. I love them!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      I am sure you do. There is something glamours about wearing an item you know is not mass-produced.

  16. Carolyn Wyrwas says:

    Your scarf is beautiful! If I ever get a chance to visit Madrid this will definitely be on my list of places to visit. Thank you for sharing with us.

  17. Cyndi says:

    Awesome: Love it. Looking to take up some new crafts, perhaps I may do something like this in the future. Looking forward to creating a new life for myself & doing things different from what I’ve done previous. Though I have a ton of crafts, if I put them all in the same room, it would perhaps line up walls in the room.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      HI Cyndi, I don’t see why can’t you, the important thing is to start as soon as possible. We all need a happy place and yes we need to reinvent yourself and change our lives before we have to. If there is anything I can do for you, let me know.

  18. Alice Cornelson says:

    You painted like a pro! Lovely scarf.

  19. Martha says:

    I made my first trip to Madrid at the beginning of the month. Lola Fonseca was the first store I sought out. Bought a beautiful scarf for myself and one for a gift. Beautiful work, which made it hard to decide. The people are so friendly and take time help find the right pice for you. A definite must on my next trip.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      So happy for you Martha, I was hoping a reader would back up this story! Thank you! Yes, you are right it is hard to decide what to buy.

  20. Gretchen Thompson says:

    What a fantastic article. I now must visit Madrid. Lola sounds wonderful and I love the scarf you made. Thanks for sharing such exciting stories.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Ahhh! waking up to a comment like this makes my day! You are a sweet lady. Yes, I think you will like Lola, she is fantastic!

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