Recently, someone pointed out to me that I have not really talked about the medium that I love the most – BATIK on RICE PAPER. Silly me! I guess I haven’t. So, let’s talk about it this month.
If you’ve done a million of my batiks, you could probably take the month off. But I am giving a few tips that I don’t normally get to tell you in the regular packets that are sold on the website, as well as try to answer the many questions I get about the supplies and the process.
FINE PRINT WARNING: Trying this technique can lead to addictive batiking behavior, which includes loving the smell of wax, becoming loose as a goose, and sleeplessness because you can’t wait to get up and begin another one.
But first…guess you know that we are giving away a trip to Spain? Guess you’ve signed up? What? You didn’t know about it? WHERE have you been? CLICK HERE to see the details and get to it. You only have 30 days. And now LET”S TALK ABOUT BATIK.
BATIK has taught me about three important things:
- How to Loosen Up
Batik is SHAPE and VALUE. That’s it. And the crazy thing is that most successful painting compositions are built on two things:
SHAPE – big shapes rule and detail drools.
VALUE – Value is more important than Color. Think about this. If you paint a horse blue, but the values are correct, it will still look like a horse!
Before we get more into all of that, you need to know how to do it.
So, this week let’s discuss the supplies – in detail. I get soooo many questions about ‘will this work instead’…or ‘can I use my grandmothers double boiler to melt the wax’…that sort of thing.
I almost dropped out of my chair when I read that one. SAFETY, SAFETY. BE SMART AND SAFE. This is totally safe, if done correctly.
If you plan to paint along with me, here are the supplies you will need for next week and I’ll give a short explanation for each one and why I use what I use.
WAX POT AND OTHER HEATING DEVICES AND THE CORRECT WAY TO USE THEM
There’s a lot I could say about this, and by gosh, I’m going to say it because it’s all important.
I carry wax/glue pots on my website. They heat the wax to the correct temperature, so no temperature control is needed. I like to put a small cat food can – or make your own cup by cutting apart on of those aluminum foil cupcake thingies – into the wax pot to hold more wax and be able to keep my brushes in it all the time. Otherwise, they tend to fall out. Actually, a Vienna Sausage can is perfect. Just tall enough for the brushes to stay upright with no problem.
TIP: if you are using a taller can, such as a Vienna Sausage can, do not fill it over half full with wax. Otherwise, the little can can’t heat it to the correct temp.
You do not need a wax pot to melt your wax, but for heaven’s sake do NOT use a double boiler. Melting the wax is serious business. USE SOMETHING WITH A TEMPERATURE CONTROL and heat the wax slowly, so that it doesn’t smoke. You should not breathe the smoke, if it occurs. So always best to heat it in a ventilated or open area. However, it will not smoke if you heat it slowly. Then gradually turn the control up until you reach 200 degrees. This is a good temperature for the wax to remain.
How do you know if your wax is the correct temp? It should go onto your rice paper smooth and clear. If it looks white it’s too cool, caused by one of three reasons.
- You waited too long to put it onto your paper.
- The appliance is not heating it hot enough – as in the case of a crockpot or candle warmer. Some of these work and some don’t. If you feel as though you’re fighting with the wax, it’s not hot enough. It should be FUN to put on the wax!
- You’ve gone over the area more than once.
We’ll talk more about this next week when we actually start to batik.
Yes, you can use other rice papers and believe me, I have tried many over the past 28 years that I have been doing this technique. There are some others that work well, but Awagami Ginwashi is by far my favorite. This is the only one I carry on the website because this is the only one I truly love. It has so many more fibers than any other paper, which not only works as a sizing while you’re painting, but gives a wonderful texture to the finished piece! This paper size is 25 x 37″, so you can cut or tear it down into several smaller painting sizes.
OTHER MISCELLANEOUS SUPPLIES:
Micron Pigma pen, size .05, black. Note: If any other pen is used it must be PERMANENT and WATERPROOF. Sharpies will NOT work.
FREEZER PAPER – The rice paper is transparent and you need to put it onto something white when painting, in order to see your color correctly. That’s how the freezer paper is used. Lay your rice paper on top of it while painting. SHINY SIDE UP.
PIECE OF DARK CONSTRUCTION PAPER – It will be difficult to see where you’ve waxed and sometimes the areas will be tiny. After I’ve done the current waxing step, I like to stick a piece of dark paper underneath the rice paper – viola! You can suddenly see where the wax has been painted onto the paper. It’s a good trick. Give it a try.
WAXED PAPER – To keep the wax from sticking to whatever is underneath.
NEWSPAPERS – To iron off the wax at the very end.
HAIR DRYER is helpful – to dry the washes, of course. But DON’T MELT THE WAX!
PARAFFIN – You can find this in your local grocery story or Walmart, although you might have to ask. It’s used for canning.
BRUSHES FOR PAINT – I just use my regular watercolor brushes, which includes a 1 ½” flat brush, which I can’t do without. I use only three brushes. My 1-1/2″ flat, a 1″ flat and a smaller flat brush. That’s it.
BRUSHES FOR WAX – I like cheap natural hair brushes – pony hair, squirrel and the like. Never use a good, expensive brush because the wax will ruin them. I like using an 8 round, a smaller round and a 1 inch flat brush. That’s it. A liner brush is too small – it doesn’t pick up enough wax. The wax cools before you can get it over to the paper! Don’t sweat it. You can use bit bigger brush successfully. Find your wax brushes in the kids section, or on sale, or a school supply.
Okay, there you have it. Gather your supplies or just read along.
But first – GO ENTER TO WIN A TRIP TO SPAIN! Good luck and thanks so much for reading.