Saturday, August 31, 2013

An Experiment in the Batik Process

To me the lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome
 than the most luxurious Persian rug - Helen Keller.

I haven't blogged in a while.  I am fortunate to say I've been busy with galleries, exhibits and batik workshops.

This "Summer Field" batik is an example of some recent experimenting I have been doing with the batik technique. This latest batik was created using the same process as batiks on cotton but instead of a creating it on textile, I used a heavy weight watercolor paper.  The colors are created with batik dyes and each layer is washed across the whole of the batik to create the new color similar to the cotton batik dye bath.

In this piece I never used green pigment.  I prefer to let the principals of color theory do their work. The green was created after the initial blue dye wash.  The blue was protected with a layer of wax and then I applied a wash of yellow dye to the whole batik.  The yellow wash interacted with the blue creating the green.  Additional washes of blues and yellows were applied to create the warm and cool greens.  Finally the warm earthy brown was created using a light wash of red over the existing greens.  Because red and green are opposite on the color wheel, they mix to create neutrals. More washes, more colors and in the end the wax is removed.  

As I develop this style and technique I'm realizing that what I love about this process is it takes me back to my illustration and printing days. Before computers each color plate was created separately and the ink was applied in the printing process.  In fact, someone recently mistakenly believed this piece to be a block print and I can see why they would as block prints are certainly reminiscent of printing methods.  I think if I hadn't discovered batik, my medium of choice would be block prints.

I am continuing to enjoy the process as much as the end result.



  1. THe play of light and shadow is very inviting!

  2. Great!!! looks like some ancient Kandinsky painting :)

  3. Interesting how the technique makes its voice heard in the design, even when we don't know what is speaking. Lovely direction your work is taking.

    1. Very well said.. and thank you. It is certainly a medium that requires and explores an almost esoteric understanding of co-creation. :)