Batik by Thetis Blacker, UK Batik artist and fellow of The Temenos Academy

Batik Artist Thetis Blacker

Thetis Blacker

Thetis Blacker, UK Batik artist and fellow of The Temenos Academy

Thetis Blacker working on a batik, using a canting in her studio, at Pasturewood.

I decided to write this post about Thetis and her wonderfully vibrant work, because it is almost a year ago since I travelled out to Indonesia on my Thetis Blacker Scholarship adventure and I am very grateful to her and Temenos for making this opportunity possible.

Batik by Thetis Blacker, UK Batik artist and fellow of The Temenos Academy

The Phoenix, batik on cotton by Thetis Blacker.

Thetis Blacker created richly coloured, energetic batik paintings notable for their symbolic and visionary qualities; as a distinguished and respected batik artist her batiks were commissioned for churches and cathedrals in the UK, Europe and the United States. In England her most prominent work were sets of banners on themes such as the Creation, resurrection and the Apocalypse, seen at Winchester Cathedral, Durham Cathedral and St George’s Chapel, Windsor. Her subjects were mainly mythological, drawn from Christian, Asian and classical sources, her style was vigorous, clearly articulate and full of colour, like her personality.

Batik by Thetis Blacker, UK Batik artist and fellow of The Temenos Academy

The Creator of Darkness and Light batik on cotton by Thetis Blacker.

Batik by Thetis Blacker, UK Batik artist and fellow of The Temenos Academy

Batiks by Thetis Blacker at Winchester cathedral. The Creation series.

Batik by Thetis Blacker, UK Batik artist and fellow of The Temenos Academy

Baptism, batik on cotton by Thetis Blacker.

Thetis Blacker, UK Batik artist and fellow of The Temenos Academy

Thetis Blacker working in her studio at Pasturewood.

Ann Thetis Blacker was born on 13th December 1927 at Holmbury St Mary in Surrey. She was the daughter of psychiatrist Carlos Paton Blacker and her grandfather Carlos Blacker was a close friend of Oscar Wilde.
Thetis originally planned a singing career. She studied in London with the lieder-singer Elena Gerhardt, appeared in the chorus at Glyndebourne in the 1950s and sang the role of Mother Goose in Stravinsky’s Rake’s Progress. Despite a promising start, Thetis Blacker felt that her true destiny lay in visual art.

Thetis Blacker, UK Batik artist and member of The Temenos Academy

Sketch in felt tip by Thetis Blacker.

Thetis Blacker, UK Batik artist and Fellow of The Temenos Academy

The Healing Tree, screen print by Thetis Blacker.

 

Having decided on her vocation she received painting lessons from Brenda Moore (Mrs Campbell Taylor, who now has artworks in The National Portrait Gallery), and she studied drawing and painting at Chelsea School of Art.
In 1970 Thetis was awarded a Churchill Fellowship, a travel scholarship which enabled her to visit India, Iran, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, where she worked at the Batik Research Institute of Yogyakarta. She was very taken by the spirituality and symbolic nature of the batik art she saw there, inspiring a love of this magical and vibrant technique. Thetis later visited Peru and Bali which further inspired her and helped to form her style.

Batik by Thetis Blacker, UK Batik artist and fellow of The Temenos Academy

The Simurgh, batik on cotton by Thetis Blacker.

Thetis believed in the divine presence in all things and that creative art has a life and soul of its own. She considered inspiration, although part of human experience, to be something that comes from a source other than the human, and was also influenced by her vivid dreams and the mythical power of
animals and ancient spiritual texts.

Batik by Thetis Blacker, UK Batik artist and fellow of The Temenos Academy

The Feng Huang, batik on cotton by Thetis Blacker.

In 1973 her book A Pilgrimage of Dreams was published, and the poet Kathleen Raine wrote the foreword to it. “ A Pilgrimage of Dreams”, is an anthology of Thetis’s vivid dreams and feature her batik pictures of mythical beasts and birds, such as the phoenix, the griffon or the unicorn. ‘These paintings are not intended to be illustrations in the literal sense, rather they are like punctuation marks, pauses for contemplation’. It was the sacred element in Thetis’s art that endeared it particularly to Kathleen.

Batik by Thetis Blacker, UK Batik artist and fellow of The Temenos Academy

The Phoenix and the Monster of the Deep, batik on cotton by Thetis Blacker.

Batik by Thetis Blacker, UK Batik artist and fellow of The Temenos Academy

The Creation The Third day, creation of Land and vegetation. Batik on cotton by Thetis Blacker.

Blacker was a close friend of Kathleen and later became a fellow of the Temenos Academy, dedicated to “Education in the Light of the Spirit”. (Temenos was founded by Kathleen Raine, Keith Critchlow, Brian Keeble and Philip Sherrard.)

Initally it was launched as a Journal devoted to the Arts of the Imagination. From these early beginnings The Temenos Academy was established as a teaching organisation dedicated to ‘ the Learning of the Imagination’, where scholars and teachers would be invited to hold study groups and give lectures on this recurring philosophy.

Batik by Thetis Blacker, UK Batik artist and fellow of The Temenos Academy

Batik on cotton by Thetis Blacker, from “The Birds who flew beyond Time’.

Over the years Thetis Blacker produced several memorable series of work based on mythical themes. A phoenix rising from the ashes was a favourite subject, a typically fiery example being featured on the altar frontal in St George’s Chapel, Windsor (1997), where a major exhibition of her work was held in 2000.
Thetis had significant commissions; a Phoenix for the dining hall of Grey College Durham; Apocalypse (St Andrew’s House); A Bestiary of Mythical Creatures; The Creation (Winchester Cathedral); Search for the Simurgh; Arbor Cosmica; work for St Albans Abbey, and her last major work, commissioned by Blacker’s dealer Henry Dyson – banners of St Cuthbert and St Oswald for Durham Cathedral (2001). Her work is hung in over 500 private and public collections across the world, clearly she was a prolific and dedicated visionary artist.

Batik by Thetis Blacker, UK Batik artist and fellow of The Temenos Academy

Phoenix, batik on cotton by Thetis Blacker.

In June 2002, Thetis Blacker was awarded an Honary Doctorate by Durham University. Four years later she died at Bramley in Surrey, on 18th December 2006, working right up until the end on her stunning batik artworks.

Batik by Thetis Blacker, UK Batik artist and fellow of The Temenos Academy

Phoenix Egg, batik by Thetis Blacker 1981.

Thetis was a member of the Batik Guild and The Temenos Academy has established a biannual award in memory of her, to further the study and research of batik. This award is currently open for applicants for the 2014 scholarship via the Batik Guild and the Temenos Academy.
I will be returning to Java and Bali next month, to study and further research traditional batik methods, motifs and batik tool making. I hope to revitalise my own batik techniques and return with renewed inspiration and ideas.

Batik by Thetis Blacker, UK Batik artist and fellow of The Temenos Academy

One of Thetis’s batiks acquired by Van Mildert College, Durham, hanging in the Anne Dobson Hall.

Batik by Thetis Blacker, UK Batik artist and fellow of The Temenos Academy

Batik from “The Birds who flew beyond Time “, batik on cotton by Thetis Blacker.

Batik by Thetis Blacker, UK Batik artist and fellow of The Temenos Academy

Artwork from “The Birds who flew beyond Time”, batik on cotton by Thetis Blacker.

Batik by Thetis Blacker, UK Batik artist and fellow of The Temenos Academy

From “The Birds who flew beyond Time”, batik on cotton by Thetis Blacker.

Batik by Thetis Blacker, UK Batik artist and fellow of The Temenos Academy

Artwork from “The Birds who flew beyond Time ” batik on cotton by Thetis Blacker.

Thetis Blacker, UK Batik artist and fellow of The Temenos Academy

The Birds who flew beyond Time, children’s story book by Thetis Blacker.

Batik by Thetis Blacker, UK Batik artist and fellow of The Temenos Academy

Owl batik from “The Birds who flew beyond Time “, batik on cotton by Thetis Blacker.

Batik by Thetis Blacker, UK Batik artist and fellow of The Temenos Academy

Art illustration from “The Birds who flew beyond Time”, batik on cotton by Thetis Blacker.

Batik by Marina Elphick, Uk artist specialising in batik art.

A Portrait of Tania

Batik by Marina Elphick, a recognised contemporary batik artist from the UK, specialising in Portraits.

Tania, butterflies and flowers in blue. A batik portrait of my lovely little sister.

A portrait of Tania in batik

This is a special portrait of my sister and it took me a long time to prepare and create. The likeness is taken from different times in her life, working from many photos covering about twenty years.
Tania’s favourite colour was blue and that was the starting point for my batik portrait of her.

Pencil drawings by Marina Elphick,  respected portrait artist.

Sketching from photographs of Tania.

Initially it involved looking through lots of photographs, then making sketches and drawings, until I came up with one I was happy with.

Pencil drawing by Marina Elphick, who captures a realistic likeness of her model.

Pencil drawing of Tania in progress. (2)

Pencil drawing by Marina Elphick, who captures a realistic likeness of her model.

Pencil drawing of Tania in progress. (3)

Pencil drawing by Marina Elphick, who captures a realistic likeness of her model.

Tania, pencil drawing, by Marina.

A portrait in pencil by artist Marina Elphick, who works with batik to create realistic portraits. Portrait artist Elphick works in various media, her most unusual, batik.

Drawing of Tania for batik portrait. Pencil on Cotton.

Next I gathered inspiration from nature; flowers, butterflies and traditional batik symbology. Many batik motifs are imbued with meaning and have spiritual resonance, reflecting the culture of a deeply philosophical people.

During my trip to Java, Indonesia last year I felt I took Tania with me in ‘spirit’ and now I associate some of the Indonesian batik designs and motifs with her. I have included Kawung and Ceplok motifs as well as the Garuda wings of the Sawat motif which I have interpreted in various ways.

Portraits by Marina Elphick.

Colour sketch in watercolour for batik portrait.

Portraits by Marina Elphick.

Watercolour sketch for Portrait.

Batik by Marina Elphick, a recognised contemporary batik artist from the UK, specialising in Portraits.

Completed batik portrait of Tania, my dear little sister, by Marina Elphick.

I wanted the portrait to express Tania’s warm loving nature so I used flowers in a symbolic way, finding her blue favourites poignantly true of her character: humility, loyalty and love, from bluebells, cornflowers and forget-me-nots. Aquilegias are associated with innocence, folly and desertion in love and in Greek mythology the iris is the link between Earth and Heaven.

The Goddess Iris guided women to heaven, her upright petals symbolising strength, faith and wisdom.

Batik by Marina Elphick, Uk artist specialising in batik art.

Blue was Tania’s favourite colour, here are Aquilegia, cornflowers, bluebells and forget-me-nots, with a “Pansy Blue”butterfly.

Batik by Marina Elphick, Uk artist specialising in batik art.

Bluebells and Iris detail.

Batik by Marina Elphick, Uk artist specialising in batik art.

Detail of iris’ and butterfly.

batik artist Marina Elphick works with great detail and realism on portrait and other figurative themes.

Detail of butterflies and Ceplok motifs.

Butterflies have been and are known in many cultures and civilisations to symbolise the soul or psyche, (the Ancient Greek word for butterfly).

Native American Indians see butterflies as the souls of ancestors, lasting symbols of hope and joy, renewal and freedom.

The butterfly is also linked to the theme of rebirth, metamorphosis and new life.

For me the butterfly is about love, vulnerability, creativity and transition. They are perfect visual tools to express a spirituality that I can relate to.

Batik by Marina Elphick, artist specialising in batik art and portraiture.

Detail of butterflies and monkshood flowers from the portrait of Tania.

These ideas and the imagery they evoked in my mind, formed the composition around Tania. It is not a background but a design which envelopes her in love, peace and spiritual flight.

 

Batik in progress, a portrait of the artist's sister.

Tania batik in progress, 10 of the 15 steps showing drawing, waxing and various dye stages.

Batik at early stage by Marina Elphick.

Pencil drawn batik on cotton, with second and third waxing and two flesh dye tones.

Marina Elphick making a batik portrait in her Sussex studio, UK.

At work on the early stages of Tania’s portrait.

Batik at early stage by Marina Elphick, a recognised contemporary batik artist from the UK.

Batik after bleaching ready for more dyes.

Batik at early stage by Marina Elphick, a recognised contemporary batik artist from the UK.

Batik with Turquoise and yellow over dyes. It is now ready for 8th waxing.

Batik mid way, by Marina Elphick, a recognised contemporary batik artist from the UK.

Tania batik after 9th waxing.

Batik in progress by Marina Elphick, a recognised contemporary batik artist from the UK.

Batik after immersion in deep blue dye.

Batik in progress by Marina Elphick, a recognised contemporary batik artist from the UK.

Portrait after 10th and 11th waxing.

Batik in progress by Marina Elphick, a recognised contemporary batik artist from the UK.

Batik in final violet dye bath. I melted out any cracks in the wax on Tania’s face before hand.

Batik by Marina Elphick, a recognised contemporary batik artist from the UK, specialising in Portraits.

Tania, finished portrait, batik by Marina Elphick.

Batik by Marina Elphick, a recognised contemporary batik artist from the UK, specialising in Portraiture.

Close up detail of Tania, batik by Marina Elphick.

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

Batik by Marina

Past and Present
I will be exhibiting new batik art work at the 2014 September Art Exhibition, Wadhurst, East Sussex.
Batik by Marina Elphick, showing at the September Exhibition 2014

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

Fire Flower, batik on paper on show at The September Exhibition.

The September Art Exhibition was established in 1996. From modest beginnings the show has grown to become an important and eagerly awaited event in the art calendar year. Operating on a non-profit making basis the exhibition is open to all and was established by artists seeking to create an accessible and varied show, it achieves high visitor numbers and has an excellent reputation with consistently strong sales. It is a friendly, professional and enjoyable event.

Open Friday 5th September – Sunday 14th September. Opening times: 10am – 8pm daily (Sunday 14th September 10am – 4pm), private view Thursday 4th September 6 – 9 pm.
http://www.septemberart.org/

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

Batik portrait of Amy, with woodland valley landscape, 88 x 83cm, by Marina. This will be on show at my open studio exhibition, 6th & 7th sept.

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

Sundance, batik on paper by Marina Elphick. This will be on show at the September Exhibition.

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

Butterfly on blue, batik on cotton by Marina Elphick. This batik will be showing at the September exhibition.

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

Furnace, batik on paper by Marina Elphick.

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

Leaf fall, batik on paper by Marina Elphick, showing at September Exhibition.

Coinciding with the September Exhibition, Crowborough Arts Open Studios

My studio will be open for the weekend of 6th – 7th September and by appointment until Wednesday 10th Sept as part of Crowborough Arts Open Studios.

Batik. Contemporary batik artist Marina Elphick.

Marina’s studio with batik on the go.

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

Lupins and Poppies batik on paper, by Marina Elphick. This work on show at Open Studio exhibition, see details below.

An exhibition of my work will be on show in my Studio and stable Gallery where I will be demonstrating the art of batik and all the processes involved in this unique and ancient Indonesian art form. Many of the artworks are for sale, including prints and batik greeting cards.
Parking and wheelchair access friendly, refreshments available.

Marina Elphick, batik artist specialising in figurative work and portraiture in batik.

Working on latest batik in my studio.

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

English Rose, batik portrait of Amy, on show at my open studio exhibition.

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

Bonnie and Clyde, batik portrait of tabby cats in their garden by Marina Elphick.

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

Sirens, life size batik on cotton, by Marina Elphick 122cm x 228 cm, showing at my Open Studio Exhibition.

Batik. Contemporary batik by Marina Elphick, UK figurative artist.

Profusion, batik on paper by Marina Elphick.

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

Floral batik Art

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. Flowers in art.

Alongside portraiture, flowers feature in my artwork 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, floral batik art work by Marina Elphick.

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

Blossom and cyclamen, detail from a batik portrait of Amanda and 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 art 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.