Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Batik experiment

I'm setting up the large portrait from the study posted last night. It will be on a full sheet of white Stonehenge paper and done in charcoal.  Cross your fingers!

I have been wanting to try a batik techniques in watercolour for a long time, but haven't gotten around to it.  There is limited information on it in this province that I know of so I'm looking for online and written resources.  Then I can across a post on Sandy Maudlin's blog about another less labour intensive batik using masking tape, so I thought I'd have a go with her 'almost batik'.

Sandy has produced some really amazing images with this technique and without pans of steaming wax and mess!  Thanks Sandy for sharing the idea.

As I was up at 4am this morning, not able to sleep, I played around with what started as a little self portrait in ink on a small piece of abstract watercoloured paper that didn't quite make the cut in the freezing process.  I added small pieces of torn low tack masking tape all over it, leaving gaps, then smothered the layer with indigo blue and let it dry.

This image is the result.   I like the jewel effect and the hard edges that some of the tape leaves as well as the darkness of the image. Its difficult to photograph or scan it accurately, even with adjustments.  The colour variances are very subtle. I shall have to experiment more with this.


Billie Crain said...

Nice! Very nice.:) I love Sandy's work but can't quite get my head around the tape thing yet. This turned out very well. I sympathize about the problems photographing certain types of artwork.

Myrna Wacknov said...

I don't think I quite understand what you did but I sure like the final results. I have some information on watercolor batik somewhere in my massive files. If I ever come across it, I will pass it along.

Sandy Maudlin said...

Wonderful textures and a great result! So glad you tried this, especially with your own creative approach.

For 'real' watercolor batik instructions that are very detailed, done with hot wax and sumi ink on rice papers, go to Wet Canvas and search for watercolor batik instructions. Somewhere on that web site are the lengthy instructions that I typed out a couple of years ago about hot wax Batik. I've changed some things since then regarding applying the ink, so ask if you have any questions.

The tape technique lends a batik look, as you found out, because the paint seeps under the tape in places to result in unusual textural edges. When I 'tape' my paintings, I tape the white areas first, then paint over the whole paper with one light value of several different colors, applying the paint in a juicy manner so that there'll be enough moisture to cause the paint to sneak under the tape.

Next I save the shapes that must stay that pale value by covering them with pieces of torn or cut tape after the paper's dry. Then I paint another value darker overall, using almost random color choices.

I do not try to 'paint in' a shape to be the 'right color.' I let the colors mingle and blend, making sure I have dominance of either cool or warm colors.

This process is repeated with up to 7 layers of tape, which would make 8 values in the finished painting. I always go for at least 5 layers to get enough contrast between shapes. Before I paint, I almost always make a chart based on my drawing to show which areas/shapes get taped first, second layer, third, and so on, sort of a value scale study, based on light(1st taping) all the way to the darkest darks (no tape on those last areas.)

I cut or tear the tape into pieces that fit together within a shape that I want to save. I seldom use one piece of tape to fit an actual shape, but use many small overlapping pieces instead. This results in wonderful batik-ie edges within a shape.

You'll see the vast difference in leakages, too between cut and torn pieces of tape. Any tape on top of other tape leaks best. And tape brands all behave/leak differently, so try several out to see which you like the best.

Also, allowing the paper and wet/damp tape to dry completely before adding more tape is crucial, or the tape won't stick. The tape stays wet quite a while where it's overlapped.

Hope this helps a little and makes sense. Happy painting and keep warm!

Jeanette said...

Billie, I just went off on my own tangent I think, based on what Sandy had done. I know its not quite as she described but I like the outcome and will do more to see what happens.

Myrna, you know I'm not really sure what I did either! I had a piece of w/c paper already painted, drew the image on it in pen then tore small pieces of low tack tape and randomly put them all over the paper.

I flooded it with indigo, let it dry and voila!

I'd love any information on watercolour batik if you find it!

Sandy, thanks for the information. I don't know if I'm ready to tackle the real batik with hot wax etc quite yet, but I will search out the resources you mentioned.

Your explanation of how you do the taped batik is very clear, thank you so much for expanding on it. I will indeed be trying this again on a larger piece with more values in it.

A Brush with Color said...

Wow! That's amazing. I loved reading through what Sandy said here, too. I did do a batik in college once, on fabric, but never thought of this! You were up and productive early!