Today's post shows the step by step process of yesterday's batik post.

First photo - Finished batik on Kinwashi rice paper

Second photo - First layer of hot wax (Gulf paraffin, not bees wax) and watercolor... wax is only painted on the whitest shapes in the painting to preserve them, (similar to painting miskit to preserve the whites.) The first 'wash' is supposed to be only one value, using several colors, randomly placed for the most part.

Third photo - you can see the pale, second wash on top of the second layer of wax, carefully applied to the shapes that need to be very light, like the inside rim of the sun. Next, (fourth photo) the batik is hanging to dry after another layer of waxing and paint. A fan helps it dry faster, but don't use a hair dryer or the heat will melt the wax, making it spread into weird blobs.

The next step (fifth photo) shows the value differences even better with the fourth layer of wax applied to all shapes that need to be preserved for that value. Again, colors were more or less randomly washed on, and my focus was to keep the painting warm at this point. Only a few cool colors were touched in, but still about the same value for each wash.

The process continues... painting hot wax to cover the shapes which must remain the value of the previous wash. Follow up by painting over the whole page to darken one value darker, using mostly random colors. Dry and repeat until all the shapes are covered with wax except for the darkest shapes.

The step below shows the next to the last wash over a mostly waxed sheet of paper. At this point, I changed to strong, cool colors to make a good contrast with the earlier warms.

The wax makes the paint under it look a little darker. The edges of the unpainted ends of the Kinwashi paper show on both sides.

I added one more really dark wash for the darkest darks, then let it dry. When the batik was completely dry, I waxed all the remaining shapes, so that the whole paper was completely covered with wax.

Below, the 34 x 26" completely waxed paper has been crunched up and wrinkled, breaking the wax surface so that diluted Sumi ink can be applied to seep down into the cracks to create the traditional batik effect. The white jagged lines in the photo are actually the cracked paraffin. This is the really messy part, and I forgot to take photos of the inking and ironing.

The final photo below shows the full size of the painting before it was glued to the wrapped canvas. Two inches wrapped along each side of the canvas, creating a finished look.

The wax was ironed off the Kinwashi paper right after the inking was completed. I glued the Kinwashi down over a generous layer of acrylic matte medium on the canvas then left it to dry overnight. Often, there are tears in the paper which are easy to repair during the gluing down process.

Later, I added a thicker, dark border around the bird area, using fluid acrylics. Watercolor would've worked too, but would have been more difficult to use on the previously waxed surface. (See finished pix at top of post.)



Batik on rice paper, using watercolors instead of dyes, can result in some really cool artwork. This batik, finished earlier this month, will hang in the gallery at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, during their summer courses. The detail of the painting is shown here, with the whole painting below.

Sue B, one of my special artist friends from North Carolina, told me how to mount a batik painted on rice paper onto a wrapped canvas. She'd learned the batik process years ago during one of my workshops on the North Carolina coast and is now selling her beautifully designed batiks in a gallery near her hometown:-) This painting wraps around the sides of the canvas and looks finished as is - no framing needed. Several layers of special varnish are applied to protect the surface to be as durable as an oil painting.

At the end of June, I'll be teaching another Batik Workshop at Miami, and there only a couple of openings left in the class, in case you're interested. Artists in my weekly classes have also been creating exquisite batiks for the past six weeks. It's messy, fun, intriguing, unpredictable, and requires some serious planning sometimes.... but so worth the results.

To see the first "CAWS" painting in this series, called CAWS FOR ALARM, go here. Sue bought that painting several years ago, and I loved getting to visit it. This series started as a message about East Nile Virus, which was killing birds in our area, as well as infecting people through mosquito bites. Since I loved the shapes the birds created, I began a series springing off of that first, large YUPO painting. More to come in the future.

"A CAWS FOR CONCERN" Transparent Watercolor & Sumi Ink on Kinwashi - 28 x 22" Wrapped Canvas COLLECTED



One of Chris Beck's recent blog posts wisely proclaimed 'CROP TIL YOU DROP' as a great solution for some paintings. She and Pablo Villicana Lara were more or less challenging each other to 'find' a better painting within a bigger one. Their solutions are eye candy.

My azalea painting shown here on the right is one of those that really needs to be cropped to work better. The center of the painting is boring, but the left hand edge I really like. Turning that section upside down makes for a better painting. My experimental crop is below, shown flipped upside down from the original.

This bouquet of azaleas is an old, old painting from the archives which was framed as is. After reading Pablo and Chris's fabulous quote, I'm sure it must be unframed, rematted, and reframed. Maybe the top needs to be cropped off a little more.

Thanks Chris, and Pablo, for your wisdom and inspiration. I always enjoy visiting your blogs, learning much from what you so freely share.

This could be called Cherry Blossoms?????



Memorial Day in America helps us pause to remember the importance and cost of freedom. It's too easy to take for granted what so many have given their lives for.

This painting was created over a decade ago to depict a small town near us that's nicknamed 'the City of Spires.' It's a small river town right on the Ohio River that is delightful and quaint, very much a representation of mid America. There's plenty there to inspire a plein aire painter, for sure.

Thanks to so many, we enjoy a life of freedom in a wonderful land. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

"AURORA" Transparent Watercolor on 140#CP Arches, 20 x 14" COLLECTED