After a week at my favorite dry cleaners, the painting looks bright and shiny. The silk threads glisten. The main panel is ready for its two soulmates to be created !
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I am now in the final stretch of this piece. I have added a few more colors to paint on, and then it’s time for waxing out. As you can see, I am placing sheets of newsprint over portions of the image at a time, allowing the wax to absorb into the newsprint. This takes at least 1/2 an hour of my time. Quite often I am asked:”How long does it take for you to create one of these paintings”. I actually loose track after a while, but in this case, the photo enlargement, and placing on the fabric have taken over 3 hours; the waxing of the white layer took about two hours, then the remaining layers took another 4-5 hours. This does not count the drying time between each layer of wax and dye. So for this project, I already have at least 11 hours work before touch up and finishing to go.
Now I am getting really excited about this painting. The colors are holding their own. The next few photos are showing the build-up of color, moving towards the final result
After these first two rounds of dying and painting are completed, I go on and add more color, working from light to dark, trying to bring out as many details as I can. the painting begins to take shape
I now can get started with my dying process. This painting is very complex, due to the number of color combinations and waxings that must be done in order to accomplish getting the information in front of me to look like what I have envisioned. I start by painting on all of the white areas with hot wax. This time around, pure white is few and far between, so after I do the initial waxing I paint on the next few colors: yellow for the floating debris, and a pale rose pink for the basic flesh. tone While the painting is still wet, I decide that it is too intense, so I paint a layer of ecru dye over the pink over the wet fabric, to more carefully match the color I am looking for. This gets waxed, and I keep on going…
I know that asking what you were doing while on vacation is a common question, but this time, I decided to try to show one tiny part of it in a new painting series I’m christening “The Water Series”. While snorkeling with at Sandy Cay in the Bahamas, a photograph I took of my husband snorkeling opened up a whole slew of new ideas on how to create the moment in Batik. I would like to show how over the next few writings I created a new wall hanging that is still in process. The first photo I am showing is the cool picture I took of Gill in the water snorkeling. I liked the reptilian patterning on his arm and the way the light reflected on the surface of the bright turquoise water. I took the photograph that I liked so much, and converted it into a line drawing in Photoshop. I then blew up the black and white image to the size I wanted to create the painting, and proceeded to draw it on to a large piece of beautiful white upholstery grade silk that I had acquired last year. (Oh thank heaven for yard sales). Then I began my wax and dying process.
Last November, my husband Gill and I traveled to Belize and Guatemala for a vacation. As a part of this trip, we wanted to revist the ancient Mayan city of Tikal, a place we had stopped at the previous winter. This time we stayed on the national park grounds for two nights at the Jungle Lodge. It was a great experience and we hope to do it again. As a part of that stay, we took a sunrise tour with a guide who grew up on the site while his father worked as an archaeologist. We woke up at 4:30 am and hiked onto the temple grounds by the light of a flashlight, drinking in the sounds of Howler monkeys and birdsong. It was really impressive seeing the sun begin to rise behind the pyramids, especially so when we hiked to the top of Temple Four to watch the sun try to breakout from behind the clouds. The whole experience gave me inspiration for some new art images.
The one I am featuring here is based on the scenes of two Fiery Billed Aracaris (members of the Toucan family) feasting on the berries of the Christmas Palms that were growing outside our room. They were a riot to watch, peeling the outer skins off the seeds and throwing the pits to the ground one after an another. They were joined by some Keel Billed Toucans, so there were numerous squabbles over who would get the fruit. I shot dozens of photographs, and chose one of these images for this painting. I am also featuring some works in progress images so that you can see the start to finish of this 40″ x 30″ painting.
I finally figured out how to photograph this new addition to the family. After 2 years of trying to come to an end, I finally did it!. Now I am trying to figure out how to carry this idea forward for future images in this format. See what you think and let me know. I am titling the image: “Vote Yes! For Harness Racing!”
Friday, I picked up my new painting from the tailor, with the “Sleeves” and center panel sewn into place and ready for hanging. It came out great, and looks better in some ways than I imagined. The problem now is trying to hang it to photograph. The sleeves and folds makes it an awkward shape, long in a horizontal format, and not wide: 36″ tall by 72″ wide. I shot one set of images, but am going to try again. It is very different from the other pieces I have put together…
After I finally flushed out my ideas for reworking one of my banners, I took it over to a drapery company that I am presently working with to see if I could get the base pattern done. I left the wall hanging, the fabric pieces, and my paper doll mock-up with them so that they would have something to work from. two weeks later, I picked up the fabricated “sleeves” to my piece. The next challenge was to draw and mimic the Seminole style patchwork onto the sleeves so that I can wax and dye them. I was still having issues with which patterns and colors I wanted to use. I consulted several history books featuring 1920′s vintage Seminole patchwork. After re-drawing and washing the “sleeves” a few times, I think I have what I want to work with, and started the wax and dye process. Who ever said that this project was going to be easy?