Floral batik with cat by UK batik artist Marina Elphick, specialist at batik portraiture and other figurative artwork.

Floral batiks

Floral detail of batik by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik, portraits, fora and fauna. Flowers in batik.

Cyclamen and ivy, detail from Winter, batik by Marina Elphick.

Alongside portraiture, flowers feature in my work regularly, whether in a portrait or still life, or as a batik floral painting.

Exotic Flowers in home made vase, batik art by Marina Elphick, Uk artist and batik specialist. Flowers in batik.

Exotic Bouquet in home made vase, batik art work by Marina Elphick.

Floral batik art by UK artist Marina Elphick. Flowers in batik are popular, portraits in batik can be commissioned.

Hyacinths with Willow Coffee pot, batik art by Marina Elphick.

With their intense colours, natural perfection and delicate range of textures and shapes, flowers give me great pleasure and inspire the designer in me. In some of my work the vase features as a focal point, in later batiks I concentrate on the flowers in a more natural state or as specimens.

Floral batik art by Marina Elphick. Still life with flowers in batik. Artist specialises in batik portraits. Batik flowers.

Lilies and Iris on Orange, batik art work by Marina Elphick.

Floral batik by UK artist Marina Elphick. Flowers feature in many of Marina's batik portraits. Flower batik

Anemones in blue and white vase, batik art work by Marina Elphick.

Floral batik painting by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik portraits, flora and fauna. flower batik.

Lilies and Iris in hand made vase, floral batik art work on cotton.

Freesias, batik art by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik. Flower often feature in Marina's batik portraits as symbolism.

Freesias, batik by Marina Elphick.

The natural beauty and range of delicate floral structures present endless design potential and drawing challenges, so I am regularly drawn to them as batik subject matter.

Floral batik painting by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik portraits, flora and fauna. Flowers in batik. Batik art by Marina.

Ranunculus in shades of red to orange, batik on cotton by Marina Elphick.

Flowers can hold symbolic meaning and I have often used them in my batik portraits to emphasise a mood or something about the character or experience of the sitter. They can help tell a story as well as making the composition more interesting and colourful visually.

Floral detail of batik art by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik, portraits, flora and fauna. .

Rose hips, detail from Autumn, a batik by Marina Elphick.

Floral detail of batik art by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik portraits. flower batiks.

Detail of roses from a batik portrait by Marina Elphick.

Floral detail of batik art by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik, portraits, flora and fauna.

Snow drops, detail from batik portrait of Amanda and Lucy, by Marina Elphick.

Floral detail of batik by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik, portraits, flora and fauna.

Blossom and cyclamen, detail from a batik portrait of Amanda and her daughter, Lucy.

Floral detail of batik art by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik portraits, flora and fauna. Batik flowers.

Rose detail from a batik portrait, by Marina Elphick.

Floral detail of batik art by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik, portraits, flora and fauna. Batik flower..

Poppies and seed heads, detail of batik portrait by Marina.

Floral detail of batik by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik portraits, fora and fauna. Batik flowers.

Detail of poppy and chrysanthemums, from a Portrait of Nicole. Batik by Marina Elphick.

Floral detail of batik art by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik portraits, flora and fauna. Batik flowers.

Lanterns and blackberries , detail from Autumn. Batik by Marina Elphick.

Floral detail of batik art by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik portraits, flora and fauna, batik flowers.

Cosmos, daisies and roses, detail from portrait of Bobby, batik .

Floral batik painting by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik portraits, flora and fauna.Parang flowers batik art.

Flower detail from ” Butterfly on blue “, batik art work by Marina Elphick.

Floral batik painting by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik portraits, flora and fauna. Batik art Flowers..

Anemones with Chinese screen, batik art work by Marina Elphick.

Floral batik art by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik , portraits, flora and fauna, batik flowers.

Detail of Iris’ from batik portrait on paper, by Marina Elphick.

Floral batik art painting by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik , portraits, flora and fauna, batik flowers.

Lupins, from a batik portrait by Marina Elphick.

Floral batik painting on cotton by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik, portraits, flora and fauna. Batik flowers.

Lilies and Poppy seed heads, batik art by Marina Elphick.

Floral batik art by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik portraits, flora and fauna.Batik flowers.

Bird of paradise, early floral batik by Marina Elphick.

Cornflowers, batik art by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik. Batik flowers.

Cornflowers in Blue glass vase, batik by Marina Elphick.

Batik art by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik. Flowers in batik.

Anemones and black teapot, batik by Marina Elphick.

Poppy Garden by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik. Flowers in batik.

Poppy Garden 1, batik by Marina Elphick.

Batik art by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik. Flowers in batik art.

Poppy Garden 2, batik art work by Marina Elphick.

Batik art by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik. Flowers in batik art.

Cerise anemones, batik art work by Marina Elphick.

Floral batik art by painter Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik. Batik flowers.

Fire tulips, batik by Marina Elphick.

Floral batik painting by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik portraits, flora and fauna. Batik Art. Flowers in art.

Purple Tulips in green vase, batik by Marina Elphick.

Sweet peas, batik art by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik. Batik flowers, flowers in art.

Sweet peas on the Window sill, batik by Marina Elphick.

Floral batik art, by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik. Batik flowers.

Ranunculus on blue, batik by Marina Elphick.

Batik art by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik. Flowers in batik art.

Purple Ranunculus, batik by Marina Elphick.

Tulips, batik art by Marina Elphick, UK artist specialising in batik. Flowers in art, batik flower painting.

Red Tulips, batik art work by Marina Elphick.

Floral batik by UK artist Marina Elphick. Batik art.

Anemones with Phoenix screen, batik art by Marina Elphick.

Floral batik artwork by UK batik artist Marina Elphick, specialist at batik portraiture and other figurative artwork. Flowers in batik.

White Cat and Anemones, batik by Marina Elphick.

My niece Megan as Spring muse, batik on cotton by Marina Elphick. Batik portraiture by UK artistBatik art by artist Marina Elphick. British batik artist known for her exquisite portraits in this classic Indonesian art medium

Batik Portraits: A Retrospective

Batik art by UK batik artist Marina Elphick. Contemporary batik artist well known for her highly life like portraits.

Portrait of Grace as a winter muse. Batik by Marina Elphick, 80 cm x 87 cm, batik on cotton satin.

A Retrospective of Batik Portraits by Marina Elphick

Batik has been my Medium of choice since the start of an artistic career thirty two years ago. In that time I have been commissioned to make artworks in batik in a range of subjects and sizes; from life size batik portraits 2.5 metres high, to smaller batik artwork for book over illustration. I became interested in portraiture fairly early, drawing my friends, family and myself. At age thirteen I had my first commission and several more followed, I thought it was great to get paid for what I loved doing ! The portraits were pencil or charcoal drawings initially, but soon after I discovered batik and succeeded in creating a few simple profiles in the technique, I became confident I could create simple portraits of real people, by transferring my drawing skills onto cloth.

Batik portrait of Amy and Edmund,  by artist Marina Elphick. British batik artist known for her exquisite portraits in batik, the classic Indonesian art medium

Amy and Ed in Austria 1994, life size batik on cotton by Marina Elphick.

Of course this wasn’t as easy as it sounds because the batik process is quite unforgiving and can be frustrating if the wax spills or floods into unwanted areas. Thankfully good quality cantings are now more easily available but back in the seventies and eighties I had to make do with clumsy shaped, heavy brass canting tools, so I mainly used brushes at that time.

Portraits of children,  sisters Kera and Francesca pose in their favourite painted dresses.  Early batiks by UK artist Marina Elphick, specialist in batik portraiture.

Batik portraits of sisters Kera and Francesca in their favourite silk painted dresses. Early batiks by Marina Elphick.

My batik portraits were individual and unusual compared to traditionally painted portraits, I wondered if they would appeal to people who were more familiar with oils or watercolours; but thankfully many were keen to have their children or even themselves portrayed in this unique technique and I was kept quite busy.

Below are a selection of early to more recent batik portraits, not exactly, but more or less in order.

Batik art by UK batik artist Marina Elphick. Contemporary batik artist well known for her highly life like portraits. portraits of children in batik. British batik artist known for her exquisite portraits in this classic Indonesian art medium.

Early portrait of Stephen and Rachel , batik portrait on cotton by Marina Elphick. 90cm x 66cm.

The first batik commission was a double portrait of young brothers. It was an exciting project, translating the client’s thoughts into a visual design, using home surroundings, symbolism and colour to create a personalised and true portrayal. Meeting the boys, chatting with them about their favourite toys, sketching and making colour studies, allowed me to get to know the them better. The interaction and inclusion of the boys ideas was important in the process and progress of the work. The portrait was successful and customer delighted, unfortunately I have no photographic reference of this early batik, only working sketches.

Batik art, portrait of Cain by artist Marina Elphick. British batik artist known for her exquisite portraits in this classic Indonesian art medium

Portrait of Cain, batik on cotton by Marina Elphick. 65cm x 70cm.

Batik art.Batik portrait of Megan by British batik artist Marina Elphick who creates sensitive portraits of children.

Megan, a portrait in batik by Marina Elphick, 64cm x 70cm.

Batik art. Self Portrait by Marina Elphick with Howard as John the Baptist. Batik portrait by British artist.

Self portrait as Salome, holding the head of John the Baptist (from a drawing of my ex boyfriend). Batik on cotton, 91.5 cm x 167 cm, by Marina Elphick.

Batik portrait of Richard, soon after I met him in 1987. Portrait by batik artist Marina Elphick.

Portrait of Richard as Geologist. Batik on cotton, 74cm x 106cm, by Marina Elphick.

Batik Art.  Ophelia, self portrait by artist Marina Elphick. British batik artist known for her exquisite portraits in this classic Indonesian art medium.

Early self portrait as Ophelia, batik on cotton, padded, stitched and embellished with shisha mirror, 122cm x 259cm. Batik by Marina Elphick.

Batik art, life size batik portrait of James by UK artist Marina Elphick.

Portrait of James as nude youth by batik artist Marina Elphick. Batik on cotton, 182cm x 228cm.

Batik portrait of Buchi Emecheta by artist Marina Elphick. British batik artist known for her exquisite portraits in this classic Indonesian art medium.

Portrait of Buchi Emecheta, book cover artwork in batik, on cotton by Marina Elphick

Batik art Portrait of Gavin by UK batik artist Marina Elphick, known for her vibrant and distinctive batik portraits.

Gavin, a portrait in batik by Marina Elphick. Batik on cotton 76cm x 91cm, stitched and embellished with shisha mirror.

Zoe, a portrait in batik by artist Marina Elphick. British batik artist known for her exquisite portraits in this classic Indonesian art medium

Batik Portrait of Zoe by Marina Elphick

Batik Portrait by artist Marina Elphick. British batik artist known for her exquisite portraits in this classic Indonesian art medium

James and Olivia , life size portrait , batik on cotton by Marina Elphick. 127cm x 163cm.

Phoebe and Emma, batik art portrait by Marina Elphick, UK batik artist known for her exquisite portraits of children in this classic Indonesian art medium.

Batik portrait of Phoebe and Emma, commission from the USA, worked only from photographs. Batik on cotton, 84cm x 64 cm, by Marina Elphick.

Portrait of Amy by contemporary batik artist Marina Elphick. British artist known for her exquisite portraits of children in this classic Indonesian art medium, batik art.

Batik Portrait of Amy in Turquoise, by Marina Elphick. 70cm x 75cm.

Batik art Portrait of my Parents by artist Marina Elphick. British batik artist known for her exquisite portraits in this classic Indonesian art medium

Batik portrait of Barry and Emmy, my parents. Batik on cotton, 80cm x 65cm, by Marina Elphick.

Batik art portrait of Amy in bluebell woodland setting, by UK batik artist Marina Elphick. Contemporary batik artist known for her exquisite portraits in this classic Indonesian art medium

Amy in woodland bluebell valley, batik portrait on cotton satin, 88cm x 83cm, by Marina Elphick.

Batik art portrait of Edmund with solar Disc and Lava lamp. Portrait by contemporary batik artist Marina Elphick. Children's portraits her speciality.

Portrait of Edmund with Solar Disc and a few of his favourite finds. Batik on cotton satin, 88cm x 83cm, by Marina Elphick.

My niece Megan as Spring muse, batik on cotton by Marina Elphick. Batik portraiture by UK artistBatik art by artist Marina Elphick. British batik artist known for her exquisite portraits in this classic Indonesian art medium

Megan as Spring, batik on cotton by Marina Elphick. 89cm x 80 cm.

Batik Art. Portrait of "Bobby" by contemporary batik artist Marina Elphick. British batik artist known for her exquisite portraits in this classic Indonesian art medium

Bobby, commissioned portrait in batik, by Marina Elphick.

Batik Art. Persephone, batik portrait by contemporary batik artist Marina Elphick. British batik artist known for her exquisite portraits in this classic Indonesian art medium

Portrait of Roberta as Persephone, by Marina Elphick, batik on cotton satin, 80cm x 98.5cm.

English Rose by contemporary batik artist, Marina Elphick. British batik artist known for her exquisite portraits in this classic Indonesian art medium

Portrait of Amy, English Rose. Batik on cotton, 80cm x 95cm by Marina Elphick.

Batik art by artist Marina Elphick. British batik artist known for her exquisite portraits in this classic Indonesian art medium.

Batik portrait of Nicole, by batik artist Marina Elphick.

Batik art portrait of Felix by contemporary batik artist Marina Elphick.  British batik artist known for her exquisite portraits of children in this classic Indonesian art medium.

Batik portrait of Felix, by Marina Elphick .

Batik art. Portrait of mother and daughter, Amanda and Lucy, by artist Marina Elphick. British batik artist known for her exquisite portraits in this classic Indonesian art medium

Portrait of Amanda and Lucy, mother and daughter, winter and spring. Batik on cotton, 77cm x 69cm, by Marina Elphick.

Batik art. Portrait of Joe, by contemporary batik artist Marina Elphick. British artist known for her exquisite portraits of children in this classic Indonesian art medium.

Portrait of Joseph in his Grandmother’s garden, batik on cotton by Marina Elphick, 69cm x 66cm.

Portrait of brother and sister in batik by artist Marina Elphick. British batik artist known for her exquisite portraits of children in this classic Indonesian art medium.

Christy and Grace, batik portrait in their garden in Lenham. Batik on cotton, 68cm x 86cm, by Marina Elphick.

I have continued to enjoy drawing people and my batik work has been popular as a portrait medium over many years. Batik portraits are unique and certainly different from paintings in traditional mediums by the very characteristics of the technique, but it is not true that batik is an inferior art-form; my portraits have the same draughtsmanship and resonance that a portrait in oil, acrylic or watercolour. I have found a fluency in the medium but batik has it’s challenges and intrigues, which keep me learning. I am aware of the need to keep a fresh approach, experiment a little and take a few risks. This is happening in my latest work which is non figurative and I intend to extend this freer approach to my batik portraiture.

BATIK ART by contemporary batik artist, Marina Elphick, a skilled and a highly experienced batik artist, who has worked with the medium for many years creating unique batik portraits. Her batiks capture a life-likeness and express an understanding of her subject beyond physical features; "she brings feeling, intensity and occasionally a dreamlike quality to her portraits. Whether in batik or paint, her work is always vibrant; capturing the essence of the subject whilst leaving enough for the viewer to make a personal connection with and interpretation of the art work."

Batik Portraits by Marina Elphick made into a collage of faces from several years of batik commissions and family sittings.

Secret Garden, batik by Marina Elphick, batik artist and painter. Batik art. Batik

Batik by Marina on show at Exhibition in May 2014

The Exhibition was a great success, many visitors and plenty of sales.

Batik art by UK artist Marina Elphick, batik Art, Batik artist, painter in batik

Jurassic, batik on paper by Marina Elphick.    SOLD

 

Batik Exhibition

Red poppies, Batik art by Marina Elphick, UK Batik Artist , batik artist, batik art

Red Poppies, batik on paper by Marina Elphick.

Iris study I,  batik on paper by Marina Elphick.

Iris study I, batik on paper by Marina Elphick. SOLD

This was the 17th Annual Exhibition by the Pilgrim Way Artists to be held in the magnificent 14th Century Grade 1 listed Tithe Barn in the village of Lenham, Kent. There were 28 artists, painters, sculptors and potters working in varied media, in what is said to be the best art event in Kent. Refreshments and home made cakes were enjoyed.

I exhibited new batik work, much of which is included in my last 4 posts and is inspired by my experiences in Java last November and December. Both my parents exhibited their wonderfully original colourful paintings alongside artists of talent from all over Kent and East Sussex.

Bushfire, batik painting by batik artist Marina Elphick. Batik

Bushfire, batik art by Marina Elphick.

Secret Garden, batik art by Marina Elphick, batik artist and painter. Batik art. Batik

Secret Garden, batik on paper by Marina Elphick, UK batik artist.

Batik, batik art, by batik artist Marina Elphick. UK batik artist

Fire flower, batik on paper by Marina Elphick.

Your feedback is always welcome, thanks to all of you who attended the exhibition.

Fern, batik on paper by Marina Elphick.

BATIK: My latest works on paper

Leaf Fall,  batik art on paper by artist Marina Elphick

Leaf Fall, batik on paper by UK batik artist Marina Elphick

Through most of my artistic and batiking career I have worked figuratively on cotton and have enjoyed elaborate detail and embellishment. My life-sized batik hangings would take weeks, sometimes months to complete, being very labour intensive. Commissioned portraits would need a lot of preparation drawing, colour planning and fine detail, not to mention the additional stress of getting a correct likeness at the end of it. This has been the way I have worked for many years, finding inspiration from various painters, including Rossetti and the Pre-Raphaelites, Gustave Moreau and Klimt. It is rare for me to batik in an abstract way unless it is a background or decorative addition to a portrait.

Fern, batik art on paper by UK artist Marina Elphick.

Fern, batik on paper by batik artist Marina Elphick.

The batiks shown here represent a new experimental approach, a chance to free up my working techniques which maybe needed a shake up.
Over the last three weeks I have allowed myself to work with less emphasis on realism or representation, relying more on intuition and expression to create lively, abstract batiks.

Sun dance, batik art on paper by UK batik artist Marina Elphick.

Sun dance, batik on paper by batik artist Marina Elphick.

I have been using wax, dye and ink on heavy rag paper. This handmade paper absorbs the dye very readily and enables real depth of colour, also the surface allows interesting brush strokes and textures to be created, which contrast dramatically with the fine flowing lines of the canting and kyska. This way of working needs no planning but involves an instinctive intellectual approach, balancing colour and design over the ever changing stages of the batik.

Meteor, batik art on paper by UK batik artist Marina Elphick.

Meteor, batik on paper by Marina Elphick.

Protozoa, batik painting on paper by UK batik artist Marina Elphick.

Protozoa, batik on paper by Marina Elphick.

I have to admit to finding this new way of batiking quite liberating and rewarding, it is faster and doesn’t limit me to working on one artwork at a time, also I can afford to make what I call “disasters” without regretting many hours lost !

However this doesn’t spell an end to my portraits and figurative work, I have a commission which is due to begin in June and I hope to bring a fresh approach to the portrait.

Pelagic, batik painting on paper by batik artist Marina Elphick.

Pelagic, batik on paper by Marina Elphick.

Furnace, batik art on paper by batik artist Marina Elphick.

Furnace, batik on paper by Marina Elphick.

Neptune, batik art on paper by batik artist Marina Elphick

Neptune, batik on paper by Marina Elphick.

Nebula, batik art on paper by batik artist Marina Elphick.

Nebula, batik on paper by UK batik artist Marina Elphick.

Krill, batik art on paper by batik artist Marina Elphick.

Krill, batik on paper by UK batik artist Marina Elphick.

Carnival,  batik art on paper by Batik artist Marina Elphick.

Carnival, batik on paper by UK artist Marina Elphick..

Batik on paper by UK artist, well known for her figurative batiks.

Batik art: Batik paintings on Paper

Detail of Persephone,  batik on paper by British artist Marina Elphick, a batik portrait of Bobby.  Contemporary batik art by British artist.

Detail of Persephone, batik on paper by UK batik artist Marina Elphick.

Labradorite and Malachite,  batik art on paper by Marina Elphick.

Labradorite and Malachite, batik on paper by UK batik artist Marina Elphick.

Hematite and Azurite,  batik art on paper by Marina Elphick.

Hematite and Azurite, batik on paper by UK batik artist Marina Elphick.

Batik on paper is something I have only relatively recently experimented with. I’ve been working with cold water dyes and inks on a variety of robust watercolour and cotton rag papers, using cantings and brushes to apply the wax. These papers take the dye easily and don’t fall apart when wet, so allow dye to be washed back if necessary. Working on paper can have advantages, the dyes dry faster because they are on the surface only and don’t need to penetrate through, as on cotton or silk. Also the dyes can be painted on like watercolours, allowing gentle build up of tone and and blending of colours. The waxed lines are crisper edged on paper and give the work a clarity and sharpness.

Detail of Primavera, batik portrait of Cathy by British batik artist Marina Elphick. Batik art on paper, contemporary batik art.

Detail of Primavera, batik on paper by UK batik artist Marina Elphick.

Lupins and Poppy flowers, batik art on paper by British artist Marina Elphick. Contemporary batik artist.

Lupins with Poppies, batik on paper by UK batik artist Marina Elphick.

Windy Garden, batik on paper by Marina Elphick, UK batik artist, contemporary batik artist.

Windy Garden, batik on paper by UK artist Marina Elphick.

The batik process on paper loses some of the characteristic properties of batik on fabric, the obvious loss is the distinctive “crackle”, where the wax cracks during dyeing and allows thread veins of colour to seep into the tiny grooves. The “crackle ” can be manipulated on silk and cotton by crushing the waxed areas to maximise the effect, yet this cannot be achieved on paper without destroying the surface structure.

Portrait of Jodie with Iris flowers.  Batik on paper by British artist Marina Elphick.

Portrait of Jodie with Iris, inspired by Mucha. Batik on paper by UK batik artist Marina Elphick.

The marbled veins in Jodie’s portrait have been finely drawn in with an ink pen, a laborious task compared to the instant crackle of wax on crushed fabric in a dye bath !

Batik Portrait of Amy, batik on paper, by British batik artist Marina Elphick

Batik Portrait of Amy, on paper, by UK batik artist Marina Elphick. This work was inspired by Rossetti and my beautiful daughter

Bluebirds, portrait of Grace, batik painting on paper by British batik artist Marina Elphick.

Bluebirds, portrait of Grace, batik on paper by UK batik artist Marina Elphick.

Along side hot wax resist, clear wax crayon has been used on the Bluebird portrait to create additional textures.

Poppy flower Garden, batik art on paper by Marina Elphick. Contemporary British batik artist.

Poppy Garden, batik on paper by British batik artist Marina Elphick.

It is interesting to note how batik on paper enters the realm of painting, managing to shake off its association with craft and becoming a contender among traditional art mediums. Paper is perceived to present fewer problems commercially, in terms of presentation, durability and longevity. The perception that traditionally made batik on cotton is any less of an art form or less durable is a misconception, yet batik on paper manages to bridge the gap between mediums and makes it more accessible.

Transience,  batik at on paper by UK artist Marina Elphick. Batik art

Transience, batik on paper by Marina Elphick.

Deep Blue, batik art on paper by Marina Elphick. Contemporary batik art.

Deep Blue, batik on paper by UK artist Marina Elphick.

Profusion, batik art on paper by batik artist Marina Elphick.

Profusion, batik on paper by Marina Elphick.

I would be interested in your views on this, everyone’s experiences and opinions are different when creating, viewing, buying or selling batik. Do you think batik is an artform or a craft medium, maybe it can be both ? Please feel free to comment at the bottom of page.

In the Lake, batik on paper by Marina Elphick.

In the Lake, batik on paper by Marina Elphick.

Iris floral study III, batik painting on paper by Marina Elphick. Batik art.

Iris flower study III, batik on paper by UK batik artist Marina Elphick.

Iris , batik floral study, batik  on paper by Marina Elphick, batik artist making batik art.

Iris flower study I, batik on paper by UK batik artist Marina Elphick.

Portrait of Nikki, batik and watercolour painting on paper, by Marina Elphick. Batik Painting.

Portrait of Nikki in Gustave Moreau scene, batik and watercolour on paper, by UK batik artist Marina Elphick.

Garden, batik art on paper by UK batik artist Marina Elphick. British batik.

Garden, batik on paper by Marina Elphick.

Fossils and Malachite,  batik painting on paper by Marina Elphick.

Fossils and Malachite, batik on paper by UK batik artist Marina Elphick.

Persephone, modelled by Bobby. Batik on paper by British batik artist Marina Elphick. Contemporary batik art work.

Persephone, batik on paper by UK batik artist Marina Elphick,
modelled by Bobby.

Please feel free to comment below.

Batik with Kawung, Ceplok and Parang motif designs

Kawung batik motif

The Kawung, a brief history and my interpretations.

The Kawung motif photographed in the Danar Hadi Museum in Solo.

The Kawung motif photographed in the Danar Hadi Museum in Solo.

Detail of batik by Marina Elphick, with Kawung and Ceplok motifs.

Detail of batik by Marina Elphick, with Kawung and Ceplok motifs.

The Kawung is one of the oldest batik motifs, consisting of a four lobed stylised flower, based on the Areca Palm blossom. The cross section of the palm fruits and their seeds are also said to inspire the design. Part of the Ceplok (circle) family of designs, the Kawung can be arranged as intersecting circles in some of its variations, making dynamic repeated patterns.

Repeated Kawung in a Ceplok design photographed from "Indonesian batik designs" by J.E Jasper & Mas Pirngadie.

Repeated Kawung in a Ceplok design photographed from “Indonesian batik designs” by J.E Jasper & Mas Pirngadie.

Known in Java since the 13th century the Kawung appears on Hindu temple walls such as Prambanan and Kediri and Loro Jonggrang, providing valuable visual reference connected to Sakti mythology, the Goddess of all creation in Hinduism.

Kawung  design at Dana Hadi Batik Museum in Solo.

Kawung design at Dana Hadi Batik Museum in Solo.

Kawung in a design more recognisable as Areca flower, though highly stylised. From the Danar Hadi collection.

Kawung in a design more recognisable as Areca flower, though highly stylised. From the Danar Hadi collection.

The Kawung has many symbolic meanings, its association to the palm blossom indicates purity and honesty, while the palm fruit refers to fertility and hope. There is also a profound philosophy attached to it of universal energy and the sacred origin of human life, longevity and eternal life.

Kuwang appearing in a diagonal  Parang design. This would have been worn in the Royal courts.

Kuwang appearing in a diagonal Parang design. This would have been worn in the Royal courts.

The design was originally worn only by the Sultan and his family and was one of the forbidden batik motifs for the general population. In this context the Kawung was linked with power, wisdom and justice and was thought to imbue these qualities to the wearer.

Kawung Universal Energy, batik art work by UK batik artist Marina Elphick. Batik art inspired by traditional Indonesian batik.

Kawung Universal Energy, batik art work by Marina Elphick.

The simple Kawung motif.

The simple Kawung motif.

The simplicity of the design reflects the idea of a structured universe, the visual representation of four directions and the four classical elements of earth, fire, air and water. Batik artists and philosophers Agus Ismoyo and Nia Fliam interpret Kawung further with binaries of death and regeneration, the divine and worldly needs, love and compassion and acceptance of destiny. Agus told me he saw the design as ” functioning like a sieve to sort through life’s experiences”.

Batik art by batik artist Marina Elphick inspired by Kawung and Parang motifs.

Batik by Marina Elphick inspired by Kawung and Parang motifs.

I have started using the Kawang and Parang in my batik artwork and am exploring the abstract and design elements of the motifs while considering their meanings for further planned work.

Parang Journey, batik by Marina Elphick. Traditional batik motifs Kuwang and Parang are interpreted in a contemporary way by this batik artist. Batik art.

Parang Journey, batik by UK batik artist Marina Elphick.

Symbology 1, batik by Marina Elphick. Traditional batik motifs Kawung and Ceplok motifs used in a contemporary way.

Symbology 1, batik by UK batik artist Marina Elphick. Kawung and Ceplok motifs used in a harmonious range of colours.

These are the first of a series of batik artworks that will be examining and reflecting the effects of colour and design on emotion and feelings.

Firebird with Parang tongues of fire, batik on cotton by artist Marina Elphick. Batik art by  batik artist who interprets traditional batik motifs in a contemporary way.

Firebird with Parang tongues of fire and Ceplok design, batik on cotton by UK batik artist Marina Elphick.

Parang motif arranged as fire, with Phoenix like bird rising from the flames. The Ceplok and Kuwang symbolise immortality and the long journey to eternal life.