These paintings on today's post have been created with watercolor in an unusual way and tend to have a batik-like look. The process is one I developed in the mid 90's using masking tape. The masking tape is torn or cut and then pressed onto areas that are not to be painted. Layers upon layers are added along the way throughout the painting process.

Once the painting's completed, it's actually totally covered with many bits of masking tape. Then the tape is carefully removed to reveal the painting underneath. I love the surprise element involved in this kind of process, and I never know for sure until the very end if the painting is working or not.
A straight edge razor blade was used to tear and shape many of the the tape pieces for this tape technique painting of an old window in historic New Hope, Pennsylvania.

This April, the Watercolor Society of Indiana is sponsoring a 4 day workshop in Indianapolis, Indiana, where I'll be teaching this unique watercolor process. Check out the side bar for more info or click HERE.

This archway/window painting combines both watercolor and gouache, an opaque watercolor, along with the taping technique. It's obvious that correct perspective wasn't a goal. Capturing the essence of the locale was far more important in this instance.

This is a detail of a tape painting that also has gouache on it. It began as an abstract and slowly evolved to be a little old lady watching her friend knit....or is that a paint brush? Only select areas of the taping process remain, since many were covered over as the painting developed. This shows only a detailed area of a much bigger painting and is my favorite part of the painting.
Double click on the any of the paintings to see the taping effects or batik look better.

This was a two day painting - two FULL intense days! And it was worth it because this painting took awards, the best being a Gold Medal at an Ohio Watercolor Society juried Show.
This scene, taken from a photo I took years ago at Sauder's Village in northern Ohio, is one I've painted several times, with adaptations each time. Anything with strong contrasts lends itself to being painted with the taping technique.

These Masai women show such power and strength, and the patterns in their beautiful handmade clothing made me want to use the taping technique to paint them. Creating their face details with tape certainly presented new challenges. This painting now 'lives' in Germany with my sister-in-law, Chris, and my nephew, Jonathan, took the original reference photo. Double click on the photo to see the taping effects better.
This scene in northern Italy also won a nice award at one of the annual Watercolor Society of Indiana's juried shows. The tape technique is a natural for creating textures to look like old stone work.

Here is another New Hope, Pennsylvania, window, and the flowers were added via artistic license. This is another scene that intrigues me so much that I've painted it several times in different ways.

As you can see, buildings easily lend themselves to this taping process, partially due to the straight sides of buildings and masking tape. This Italian village had many, many sets of ancient stone steps. The color isn't very accurate in this photo...too orangee and pale. Sorry about that.

This is one of my first taping paintings and is still one of my favorites. An architect bought it years ago, and since then, I've painted the same scene several different ways, but never with the same luminosity that this one had. This is one of just a few paintings that I wish I still owned.
The title of this painting almost caused it to be ignored by a judge who was tired of seeing so many watercolor flowers. "ORANGE BLOSSOM TIME" made him smile when he finally saw the painting, and he gave it Best of Show back in the 90's!
This van is the one I drove back and forth to my hometown in the late '90's to teach classes two days a week...putting over 12,000 miles on that van in one year alone! I did see LOTS of orange construction barrels, for sure.

John Deere tractors are usually bright green, unless they are rusted like this old boy. The taping in the sky area let some paint sneak under to look a little like cobwebs.

Every fall at our lake, people would pull their boats ashore. One drab day, I caught this scene and decided to make a tape painting of it. Although it's monochromatic, I still find it fascinating to explore.

New Hope, PA, again and another window, too. That town is packed with history as well as great painting material. I think I remember reading that George Washington even slept there!

Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts offers so much to see and paint. It's a wonderfully educational place to visit too. My sister and I were there on a very cold winter day when this shot was snapped. It's also one of the earlier taping pictures when I was first figuring out how to do what I wanted to do with the tape, so a lot of regular brushwork was done in this one.
This is one of my very first taping paintings, and it's won two Best of Shows!
The photo also came from Sauder's Village in northwestern Ohio.

This painting had lots of curves in the tree and house, so miskit was used along with tape to preserve areas that didn't need to be painted again. Miskit is easier to curve than tape. This old Italian home is atop a hill with a great view of the Ohio River.

The reflections in this back door caught my eye, so I started taping with these results. A mundane subject can sometimes become a good painting.

This old homestead was deserted. With the tape technique, the painting
became more about the feeling of the house than of an accurate rendition of the place.

This is a partially taped painting. The sky and background were painted with pale washes before the taping began, then avoided as the painting progressed. Quite a bit of regular brushwork was done, with the taping being a secondary part of the painting.

This very, very early tape painting was an adventure that didn't work out as well as most of the others. There's a lack of unity in the painting due to the jumble of techniques used. Still, experimenting is a great way to learn - and if there's success, then that's a bonus! The orange reflections on the water were gorgeous, though.

Thanks so much for 'grazing' through this collection of Tape/BATIK LOOK Paintings. One of these days, I'll try to post a taping in progress to show you just strange it looks before the tape's removed. Be sure to checkout the WSI workshop on the sidebar if you're interested in learning hands on how to create watercolors or fluid acrylics with this technique.


Christiane Kingsley said...

Sandy, these are all soooo beautiful! It's really unfortunate that I am so far from Indiana...and that I have a full-time job:-)Otherwise, I would certainly attend your workshop. I hope that you are considering writing a book on this technique.
I will dream of your stunning paintings tonight:-)

Billie Crain said...

Your work just blows me away, Sandy. I love the masking tape technique but would have to study your paintings at great length to see just how you used it. It's most apparent to me in the painting of the two little old ladies. I have NO idea how you used on the Masai women! The faces? Wow!

I keep coming back to the old sewing machine in the window. I absolutely love it! I have my grandmother's old Singer sitting in front of my bedroom window and would love to give it a go with your tape technique sometime.

I also love your bold and liberal use of color. It's exciting w/o looking like a crayola box exploded.

Chris Beck said...

What a great collection of super paintings!! Wish I could see you demo this technique - it gives fascinating results!!

Myrna Wacknov said...

This will definitely go on my list of techniques to try! Very creative to invent such a wonderful idea.

Vicki Greene said...

I enjoyed looking through your taping technique paintings. I think that you should create a DVD for those of us that are unable to take your workshop.

Dawn said...

amazing all these paintings Sandy! I wish I could come to your workshop, someday!
and I hope you had a great holiday.

irinapictures said...

It is such a pleasure to scroll the post, return, study the details, then get the whole impression, then return to the beginning... Thank for this pleasure!

Ginny Stiles said...

Sandy...the mood, color, composition that you use in these makes me want to hurry to my studio to paint also. What could be a higher compliment!

I wonder if you ever tape on Yupo paper? Would that ever work?
I am assuming most of these if not all are on 140 cold press watercolor paper.

I'd like to see a taped painting in progress sometime, with a lot of the tape still on so I can picture how that works. thanks for SO many paintings and so many descriptions.

Cynthia said...

What a wonderful glimpse at your tape creations...they are marvelous indeed. Your work inspires me soooo very much. Please make some DVD lessons for us...or write a book,,,PLEASE!!!!
Happy New Year!!

Jeanette Jobson said...

I like this 'almost batik' technique and you've produced many stunning images with it.

Batik is something I need to know more about but this may be a good introduction to it.

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

WEOW! what a post of delight: technique, colours, light, subjects, just everything. You give us such challenges with all these different methods you use to create your wondrous works.

Oh yes, please do write a book on the tape technique and reserve one for me from the first edition. Meanwhile I will print what I am able from your post, if that is ok with you.

Have a very deserved fantastic 2010you wonderful artist, you, with best wishes from your English admirer.

Sandy Maudlin said...

Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment...it's a real treat to 'get together like this!' This process is a bit tedious but so worth it in the end. Try it. Happy taping - and painting:-)

Sorry, no book or video planned - but workshops are available...

Anonymous said...

Hi Sandy, Stunning paintings! I think it's great you assembled such a diverse group of paintings to illustrate the possibilities of your technique. I find them exciting and inspiring!

A Brush with Color said...

That is very cool, Sandy. I read Jeanette's post and saw your notes there, and knew I had to come see what else you had up here, and I'm so glad I did. I had somehow missed this post before I saw hers. So interesting! I love the look of these, and the process sounds fascinating. I'll bet pulling all that tape off must be exciting, and seeing what becomes of all that effort. Fabulous!

jgr said...

I am going to put the tape technique on my list of ideas.Too bad you are so far away, I would love to attend your workshop - (sigh). Oh yes- do write a book!

Annab said...

Sandy--Have visited your web site with your beautiful paintings Your work is outstanding. Looking forward to seeing you this June ay LAWS workshop. Maybe we could have a batik workshop ater on.
Annabelle Vandemark

John Brisson said...

Sandy...You mentioned that you might show your taping technique on your blog. That would be great as I really love the technique. Is there any other place I might find a demo? I would love to attend a class but live on the west coast and don't see that happening anytime soon!