Tag Archive: dye


Now featured on Artsy Shark!

Agua XIII The Red LeafI know I haven’t written a blog posting in a while-I’ve been so wrapped up in creating and organizing my artwork (not to mention exhibiting and creating a revised website) For 2014, I decided that I wanted to get back into chronicling my ideas and inspirations for my art. I have a lot of work to do: I received a notice that I will be showing in the gallery at the Florida State Capitol in 2015– more Seminole kimonos to create.

I have submitted work for the Florida Contemporary show at the Baker Museum of Art, and next week I am venturing over to Boca Raton to see two of my “Agua” series paintings, Red Leaf 1 and Red Leaf 2 in their opening day at the Nathaniel Rosen Museum and Gallery.

A happy and busy time for me.

Meanwhile, I submitted work to Artsy Shark, an online site that helps to promote visual artists. Carolyn Edlund of Artsy Shark selected my work after I made several revisions to my website and images. the results are amazing!

You can read about my work on the article here:Artsy Shark

Many thanks to Carolyn and her webmaster Jason Stambagh for making this happen!

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Take it all off!

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.

Ironing out the wax

Using newsprint to remove the wax

Rubbing off the excess dye before dryingIroning out the last traces of wax

Dying Steps, part 2

Dying # 4

Dying # 4, adding more color

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

Version three of the dying process

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…

"Warren's World" in the early stages

"Warren's World" in the early stages

"Warren's World" Panting with first few dyebaths started
“Warren’s World” Painting with the first few dye baths started
Batik painting using soy wax of Old San Juan

Calle de La Cruz

A few years ago, an article appeared in the Fall 2007 edition of The Surface Design Journal about artist Betsy Benjamin and her use of Soy wax in creating batik images. I read the story and put it aside, thinking that I would like to try it sometime.  The opportunity arouse this last fall when I received some soy wax in an order from Dharma Trading Company, my dye supplier. I wanted to experiment with this wax, as I was seeking greener alternatives to mixing my beeswax with paraffin wax.   I tried using the wax in several different projects, the first was with the “Seated in Silence” painting.  I liked the results and kept on going.  In this situation, the soy wax was mixed with the beeswax, so that I would have a wax that was not too runny, and would harden faster.  I tried it again with another painting of a downtown street in Old San Juan:”Calle de La Cruse”.The sky and other ares of solid color did not flex well, and tended to break and create more crackle than I was used to, but I liked the final results anyway.

Starting the first project

When I looked at the portrait of the Seminole Indians with their friend, I had to visualize how the final result was going to appear, what did I want to achieve with this image, and how was I going to get there? I wanted to create an almost large as life image. First, I decided that I would paint the wax and dye on Rayon. Rayon is a man-made fabric that accepts dying very well and shows color much more brilliantly than cotton, and sometimes, silk. Once this was decided, I thought it would look best as a wall hanging, that could be hung from a rod screwed into the wall. I washed the fabric in Synthrapol, a liquid that removes the sizing from the fabric, and allows the dye to adhere more easily . I then worked on my drawing that I would place on the fabric-I draw a small image that I then have blown up to the size I want on a blueprint copier at a local office service store. The new image is then laid down on my work table in my studio and taped down so that it won’t slide. The fabric that is washed and ironed flat, is then laid over the drawing and traced with a charcoal pencil so that the lines from the drawing show up on the fabric much like a drawing is done for a stained glass window. This process can take several hours, as this image did, due to the complexity of the many patterns in the clothing, and rendering each of the six figures. I try to do the drawing in one sitting so that I have a sense of continuity in my images. Then the fun begins…