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This was actually a really interesting experiment. I set out to do a piece that was very similar to batik. This is a way of dying fabric using resists of wax to mask out parts you want to keep the color dye you’re doing at the time. You do consecutive washes of color, each time masking out what you want to keep, going lightest color to darkest, then removing the wax using salts and heat. I achieved the same effect using watercolor washes and a resist of liquid frisket (yes, that’s really a word).
I think this piece was very like birth in a lot of ways. I started out wanting to have a plan for how it should look, envisioning the colors, etc. Then at some point I realized I had to surrender to the process and let it be whatever it wanted to be. The watercolor is so transparent that it really melts into the previous colors so it’s impossible to tell the finished product. I just had to go with the flow of the painting and allow it to take shape.
Also after I removed the frisket it was interesting to see the little perfections that showed through. Places that the darker colors seeped through the frisket and crackled into the lighter colors, etc. These are organic things that I could never have planned. And yet they end up making the piece more beautiful in its imperfection.
It actually turned out nothing like what I had set out to create, and yet I’m very pleased with the outcome. That’s the beauty of relinquishing control.
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