Friday, November 8, 2013

Helen Brown • Watercolor Batik • Getting on with it!

In my last blogpost (Nov. 3rd), I showed the supplies and set up needed for batiking with watercolor. Now I’ll show you how I proceed with the actual painting. I’m working on some small works for the Tumalo Art Company’s holiday show. This is a little painting of a Barrows Goldeneye. It’s only about 4” x 6”, but the process is the same for large pieces.

First I draw on the smooth side of the rice paper with a black ballpoint pen. Just make sure the ink in the pen is not water soluble or it will smudge. Then I paint a very light wash of different colors, not being concerned about staying with my lines at all. This photo shows the next step after my first light wash has dried. I paint with molten wax onto the areas I want to remain almost white. Here I waxed the mark on his face, some of his body and some horizontal lines in the water. Notice the black construction paper I keep handy to slip under the wax paper so I can see where I'm painting the wax.

The wax hardens almost instantly so I don’t have to wait to continue to the next step: PAINTING! Because I have protected areas with the wax, I do not have to paint very carefully around the light spots. You can see in the photo below where the blue paint is being resisted by the wax. 

At this point in each layer, you must allow the paper to dry completely. I usually tape it from my painting table as in the photo below.

Continue waxing each consecutive area of light, and then painting in the darks until you are satisfied that the painting is finished. Allow to dry one last time before covering the entire surface with the wax, using a larger brush. REMEMBER that the wax will ruin your paintbrushes, so use inexpensive ones.

In my next post, I’ll show how to get rid of all the wax, and how to mount your painting for framing.

Where can you see examples of my work using this method?
Tumalo Art Company in Bend's Old Mill District
• Broken Top Clubhouse has an exhibit of the High Desert Art League until November 20.
• COCC's Rotunda Gallery in the library has a High Desert Art League show until December 6.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Joanie. Wait til I start teaching Emily to paint with hot wax. You're going to love it!!!