NOT AGAIN!?!?!?!

One of my favorite subjects is an ancient street in Valetta, Malta, and I've taken lots of artistic license to change it to work for me. I've previously posted several renditions of this same ancient street, painted with various watercolor and collage techniques. This is the first time it's been created with the batik process.

This painting is a wax batik, painted with watercolor on Kinwashi rice paper with sumi ink added for the cracked batik look.

First photo = the painting in progress, along with my wax skillet and old brushes. It's tough to find these little skillets with temperature control, but often, right before school starts, Walgreens, etc, have them in stock for the college kids.

Second photo - all of the painting and waxing process is finished on the kinwashi rice paper. The paper, which is now completely covered with wax, is then heated with a hair dryer to totally soak the wax into the fibers of the paper. Next, it's rolled up and popped into the freezer for a few seconds to make it easy to 'crack.'

After cracking the wax over a trash can, pinching some of the areas to create deeper cracks, it looks like a disaster, as shown here. Lots of chunks of wax fall off during the cracking process. Most of the dark shapes at the corners of this photo are shadows on the crinkled paper, not dark paint. Since the paper tears easily, this step was done very carefully.

Third photo = diluted sumi ink has been applied by pouring it over the cracked, waxed paper and jostling it into the cracks.

After blotting off the excess ink, making sure to not rub it into the wax, I gently sprayed water onto the inked painting (while it was hanging over the sink) to help remove more of the ink. This results in a softer, 'grayed tone' to the inked cracks, rather than such a strong, black effect.

Fourth photo = all wax has been ironed off, and the rice paper is smooth and flat again. Overall, I like the painting, but it's so, so, so warm. A bit of cool color relief would be nice somewhere in all those oranges and reds.

It's ready to glue down - to be done before I add any cooler colors to the painting, although the corrective painting could have been done before gluing it down as long as enough of the wax had been removed with the hot iron. Adding paint without compromising the integrity of the batik effect is a major key to keeping this a successful painting.

Methyl cellulose wallpaper paste, applied liberally to really white watercolor paper, works well to secure the painting permanently. However, I was so intent on pasting this really large batik down without messing it up ..... and ended up pasting it down wrong side up! (The wrong side of the batik is similar but the other side was better with more clarity to the shapes and colors.) Rats! Now there will be even more corrections to make, since once it was embedded in the paste, it would have undoubtedly torn too much if I had tried to remove it.

Fifth photo = The finished, corrected painting, backwards, of course. Cool colors of blues, teals, and purples have been added, using both a Pat Dews' atomizer as well as a one inch flat brush, to adjust the outer edges of the painting. I like the warm focus now on the street and the center of the walls, enhanced by the cooler temperatures at the edges.

Last photo = original reference photo/inspiration with many artistic liberties taken.

"ANCIENT WALLS - MORNING LIGHT" Transparent Watercolor and Sumi Ink on Kinwashi Rice Paper, adhered to 140#CP Arches, 25 x 35"