Earlier in the year I created some of my favorite recent batik artwork, using verses from the Psalms as my inspiration. I had been working my way through the Psalms and writing scripture that spoke to me in my journal along the way, making the selection process easy!
Each piece began by writing the verse in some sort of circular form on Unryu paper that had pieces of gold thread imbedded in it. As always I used my trusty Sharpie for that, knowing it can withstand the rest of the batik process without fading.
I took a wide brush and dipped it into melted wax and blocked off streaks of the pieces so they would remain white and then added light strokes of color with a feathery brush and India inks. Next all the pieces were entirely covered with the wax, crumpled to create cracks for more color to seep in randomly and then sprayed with liquid watercolors.
After that application the pieces dried and then the wax was removed to reveal the final outcome of each. All four have been framed in 12×12″ barn wood frames. Here they are:
I love to include words, quotes and text in my art but, despite some instruction and practice, I’m not always thrilled with the way my hand drawn letters turn out. This little hack is a favorite of mine and I thought you might find it useful as well! This was just an impromptu, messy fingers project that popped into my head one day. The first step was to add acrylic paint to the board I was painting. Somedays my favorite paint tools are my fingers, and this was no exception.
I have accumulated a large selection of fonts on my computer (there are many resources for free downloadable fonts available online) and have fun using different ones in digital creations, advertising and such. They are especially handy when lettering on artwork! Some of my batik work is done on Unryu paper which is transparent enough you can actually just trace the letters onto the paper as they are visible when placed underneath.
If I’m working on wood or canvas I have a way of getting the letters on my art that works very well. First I measure the space where I want the words placed and create a blank file in Photoshop Elements that is the same size. Then, using the type function I type, resize and arrange the letters to suit my project. This is what the file looked like for the project I am showing you:
I printed it the exact size as the file (which meant it had to be printed in two sections) and then taped together the pieces. The next step was to turn it over and take either pencil or charcoal and cover the back of the paper where the letters were printed.
You want to cover it fully, the pencil or charcoal is going to be used like copy paper to make outlines of your letters onto your art. Turn it over and position it where you want the letters to be on your art and then take a ball point pen and trace the outlines of each letter. I get excited and always want to rush things so come to find out my paint wasn’t as dry as usual, I ended up lifting some of it from the wood when I applied the marks. It still worked!
Now that I had the outline on the artwork I could use markers, paint pens or a really steady brush to add the colors and outline for the lettering and any details I decided to include. I decided to just handwrite the “hello” portion of the lettering and kind of wish I’d have traced that too. Oh well! Here is the final piece.
Let me know if you try this technique for adding letters, I hope it’s inspired you to get creative!
As I mentioned in my last post, today’s blog features some new batik artwork. It seems as if I haven’t exhausted all the ways I can play and explore with this medium…as I learn new styles and techniques in other media they often translate into some fun batik pieces!
The piece above (and the three below) I used the wax to “paint” abstract marks and shapes onto the paper before adding the background colors. The final coloring on these pieces seeps in between the cracks in a final layer of wax. I like the earthy way these feel. Incorporating the spirit-led, random mark making with the wax painting brings in some of the new style I’ve been using with acrylic paints.
Another new type of batik I’ve been exploring is using India Ink to paint onto the paper prior to waxing and adding the final layer of color. Very free strokes, flow-oriented and fun!
Obviously I was having a LOT of fun with the piece above! Testing how the inks interacted with the paper, how the brush moved and the colors could blend. The ones below were a little more thoughtful as far as the colors selected, but still full of freedom and expression.
I did one other very special set of batik art but I can’t reveal them just yet…I need to deliver them first! Look for them soon.
I was inspired (and invited) to do an art installation at our local church for Advent this Christmas season. I had three amazing ladies that volunteered to help with the project, which was awesome! After learning more about the meaning of Advent, the coming from the darkness into the light, I knew that I wanted the project to both “wrap around” the little country church sanctuary and change its appearance by getting brighter each week. The church has three sets of windows on each side and a wooden “rail” across the front near the altar. Using some wooden easel displays that fit in the windows it began with a very dark blue yard wrapped abstractly around sets of three easels. These were placed in the very back windows. The middle windows had a slightly lighter blue, the third window had light blue sets and across the rail were sets of three white yarn-wrapped easels. The lighter ones initially had some random black yard wrapped over them as well. The team was awesome with the help wrapping all that yarn! There was a single easel on each side of the railing that had tiny lights wrapped around it, signifying the light of Jesus that would be coming soon.
After the first week the very darkest yarn-wrapped set was removed and the progressively lighter ones were moved toward the back of the room and another set of light-wrapped easels were added to the front. The following week the mid-blue colored set was removed (as well as the extra black yard from the white set) and, again, more light-wrapped sets were added in the front as the light spread through the church. The Sunday prior to Christmas the entire display had changed to all white lights, all of the darkness was gone.
For the Christmas Eve service the final part of the art display was added…we created different line drawings of the nativity on glass panels that were placed in front of each easel/light set so they would be illuminated from the light behind them. They were a beautiful part of the celebration that night with the darkness outdoors and the lights dimmed in the sanctuary!
Next up? An interactive art project for the congregation and visitors on the topic of redemption and deliverance. I’ve also got sketches for a “fruit of the spirit” project and the construction of a cross with each person adding a piece to it. I feel blessed to be able to share my creativity and use it to inspire and build up others!
After neglecting my blog for the better part of a year it’s more than a bit intimidating trying to figure out what to jump back in with! I’m fairly prolific so the choices are numerous and with several shows and exhibits last year that is probably an understatement. I finally decided to just start writing about what is currently dear to my heart, a series I titled “Intuitive Abandon”. Then, within that body of work, I found these pieces, aptly titled and begging to be shared. Perfect!
Something that’s been on my heart for several years is the desire to merge both my art and my faith, to feel like my work is more inspired and led than just merely decorative. I can kind of put it in “auto-drive” and make art that is pleasing to look at but when asked what it means, well, nothing really. I tried just referring to it as “Happy Art” (which it is) because so many people commented on the colorful and happy content. That, in and of itself, isn’t a terrible thing – I am a fan of happiness and if I can give others joy with my art that’s pretty darn cool. But I wasn’t satisfied with just that anymore.
Enter my favorite, most “mountain top” experience each year called “Gathering of Artisans“. 2018 was my third year in a row to attend/participate in this event and I cannot recommend it highly enough! And, yes, although I’d classify it as a mountain-top experience no matter where it is held, it happens to actually be held in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Each year I’ve attended I’ve grown and deepened my life in ways I couldn’t imagine. In addition to the most powerful worship I have ever experienced, 2018 led me to classes by two different instructors, Aeron Brown & Amy Smith, both of whom had an amazing influence on my artistic and spiritual path. I finally feel like I am stepping into my desire of combining my faith with my artistic expression.
These newest explorations are full of freedom, mark making and lively conversation. After some prayerful quiet & meditation these pieces start with mark making – my thoughts, prayers, song lyrics, text randomly scribbled with charcoal/pencil/graphite on the canvas/paper/wood substrate. In the case of these pieces, 12×12″ canvas. From that place I try to listen quietly until I get a feel for the initial colors. Once the painting, scraping, stamping and marking begins I try to not think at all! Often I get so lost in the process that, unless I stop to take progress pictures, I have no idea how I got from point A to point B. The freedom to create this way is so very freeing.
Currently I have close to 40 pieces created in this manner – on canvas, wood and paper. They even inspired another artistic endeavor! I’ll be sharing more as I continue to blog but if you just can’t wait to see them you can CLICK HERE to visit the web page where they are featured.