Sunday, May 13, 2012

Wax tulips


I offered a spring challenge awhile ago and agreed to take part in it.  Why I'll never know as I really dislike painting flowers in any form.  I know I can create form and colour but for some reason flowers just don't appeal to me at all. I put up this mental block against them. But because I'd agreed to join in, I figured I'd better show willing and have a try with the tulips.

I wanted to try a wax batik again and the contrasts in the colours of these flowers should work with this technique  I used unryu paper, a mix of beewax and paraffin and watercolour to build layers.  The process itself is quite quick to produce, as it seems once you get going, you want to see it through to the end to see the final result.  The layers of wax,  as they build, mask the final piece which isn't revealed until all the wax is removed.

Because I'd run out of ginwashi paper I tried the unryu but its a bit more fragile and doesn't take to scrunching as well before the final application of pigment and there are a couple of tears in the surface.  This is an easy fix as once its on a backing paper of the same surface its not noticeably.  The distinctive patterning that is batik isn't as strong as a result of less cracking in manipulating the paper less.  But the effect is there and does read batik.  The fibres in the unryu also help achieve the pattern.

I usually put a piece of parchment or wax paper behind the paper to make peeling it off easier but grabbed a cutoff of foam core board instead this time.  The board has a slick surface, and releases the wax easily.


What I found when I removed the piece was the ghost of the original painting on the foam board.  It seemed too good an opportunity to waste, so adding more paint to the surface gave version two of the tulips. I wasn't respecting rules or shapes a lot in this piece and let water and pigment run and mix on the surface, which acts much like yupo.


The batik is about 12 x 15" and similar size on the foam board.

10 comments:

Katherine Thomas said...

Oh my gosh, that's SO beautiful! Do more of those! I also like the Fishwife piece that popped up in the "You May Also Like" section! These are so pretty!

Jeanette said...

Thanks Katherine, its such an interesting technique to do and you never know quite what it will look like until the end.

Its a bit messy, but usually worth the effort. I hope to do some more, just not sure if flowers will be involved! :)

RH Carpenter said...

I never do the wax batik technique at home but like the look of it - you got some nice work from this and I enjoy seeing you save the ghost print and create another painting from it :) You paint flowers well - wonder why you don't like them? Too common a subject for you?

Jeanette said...

Its not that messy to do at home if you keep the piece to a reasonable size and a window open for fumes. Having said that, I quite like the scent of hot beeswax... :)

Flowers are like anything else to draw or paint, just shapes, light and dark. I don't know why I have this aversion to them. I should analyse that. Perhaps because so many people do them already or maybe its overexposure to flowers with a commercial size greenhouse full of them every year. When I see them as subject material for a painting, I always think 'boring'.

Rose Welty said...

Jeanette - Both versions are great. The wax batik is my favorite - a rather ghostly presence to them. You've also used mostly cool yellows and blues - this makes the bits of warm that you have all the brighter. Very clever!

Jeanette said...

Thank you Rose. The wax batik is paler than anticipated, but still works. I may add more colour to it yet or try it all over again once I get some more ginwashi so it holds up better.

Christiane Kingsley said...

I love the batik look, Jeanette. This is really well done.

Jeanette said...

Thanks Christiane, I enjoy the technique, each result is a surprise at the end.

Sue Pownall said...

For something you don't like doing, you have done it brilliantly.

Off to finish my dislike - curves - on a boat in this case.

The Art of Kim Kincaid said...

You might not like painting flowers but you've achieved some lovely textural effects with these tulips. I think you should do more.