Monday, November 24, 2014

Watercolor Batiks on Rice Paper

Last week, I took a class with Kathie George at Art of the Carolinas in Raleigh.

I had never tried any kind of batik before.  Of course, as quilters, we are all familiar with the lush batik fabrics available to us commercially.  This class combined the art of using wax in making a batik with the art of watercolor painting.  Instead of using fabric, we painted on rice paper.

Kathie is a delightful teacher who had everything prepared for us, including the Ginwashi rice paper, melted wax in small electric pots, watercolor paints on a palette made from a clear CD cover, and drawings and a reference photo.

The way it works is that you trace the original full-size drawing on rice paper with a Pigma marker, then use a different copy of the drawing to add each layer of wax.  The numbered drawings have darkened areas where you apply wax each time.  The wax acts as a resist so that when you paint, the waxed area remains the same color that it was.  The unwaxed areas keep gaining depth of color.  I think we had four or five layers of waxing and watercolor for this fish painting.


Isn't it cool!  I had to add additional paint and even some colored pencil marks when I was finished because my fish kind of ran together.  I love the cool blue and green washes and the little pops of complementary oranges/yellows.

I enjoyed my batik class with Kathie  so much that I tried her technique again at home, using one of her kits.

Sunflowers, by Jeanne Turner McBrayer, 2014

When I did my original batik in her class, I had difficulty seeing the lines of the drawing, which I traced with a Pigma micron .05 pen.  

But what you don't see in the fish painting are the black outlines of the original drawing.  When I traced the sunflowers, I used a Pigma brush marker that was noticeable darker.  You can see the lines clearly, and it was easy to see where to apply wax.  Here is one of the early layers. It almost looks like stained glass.

However, that dark black line remains even at the end of all the waxing and painting.  That is not the look I was going for.

However, I like this piece.  It is painted on Ginwashi rice paper, a very thin, textured paper which is almost like a delicate fabric.  I need to do some experimenting to see if it can be made into an art quilt without the paper tearing when I stitch it.  It might need to be coated with an acrylic varnish first.

Kathie mats and frames her pieces, with the batik mounted on a piece of white mat board.

I will have to figure out what to do with these.  The underwater ocean scene does not exactly fit in with my mountain cabin decor!  It is a really interesting and fun technique, and I recommend taking a class with Kathie George.  I am pretty sure I will be trying this on silk or muslin at some point in the future!  Not sure if watercolor paints will be the way to go on fabric, but stay tuned!

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