Batik art works, paintings and travels by Marina Elphick
A Portrait in Batik
The Batik Step by Step
Having been asked so many times how I “paint” a portrait in batik I have decided to write an explanation of my techniques, with stage by stage photos of the process. There are no secret tricks, the basis is starting with a clear drawing, mainly in line, finding a good likeness and skilful control of the wax.
I start with sketches and watercolours of the sitter. If the portrait is a commission I spend time talking about options and ideas trying to gain as much information as possible about the person and discover their wishes. I then provide the client with a watercolour rough of the composition I am planning as well as an idea of the colours I will use in the dyeing process. This gives them the opportunity to suggest any changes and gives me the chance to adjust the design on paper before working on the batik.
The Portrait of Nicola was a success and received much appreciation. Revealing the completed portrait to a client is always a little nerve racking, even if I am happy with the result, it is impossible to gauge the reaction of the sitter or the customer.
PORTRAIT OF SOPHIE
The batik step by step
In the same way as with the previous portrait of Nicola, I start by sketching Sophie in pencil and watercolour then, when I am happy with the composition I draw directly on to the cotton in line. The first waxing will be to keep the white of the cloth, it may be only the whites of eyes and a few highlights. Next I paint a flesh tone all aver the face, the dye may bleed over the edges a little but this is no problem because the darker hair colour will conceal and dye over any paler dye.
PORTRAIT OF FELIX
With younger children it is almost impossible to get them to sit for you, I spent a lot of time playing with Felix on the floor taking photographs of him and I was lucky if he’d even look at me ! I made some sketches while he was sleeping and found I could manage to compose a portrait from one or two photos and studies in my sketchbook.
JAMES & OLIVIA
This portrait was wanted as a life size hanging, with symbolism included reflecting places the family had lived, Scotland and Sydney, as well as personal interests of the children. It was a fun project and enabled me a lot of freedom in the background.
See more portraits in The Batik Art Gallery, see top menu
To commission a batik portrait contact me at :
10 thoughts on “A Portrait in Batik”
Another great post on batik
Thank you so much for your detailed process in making the portraits. Really enjoyed this! Your pieces are very beautiful, thank you!
Beautiful work ,Marina ,the process of drawing waxing and dyeing well explained .But oh ,what talent ,hard work and patience it must take to achieve these wonderful results.
Hi! I just would like to give you a big thumbs up for
your great information you have right here on this post.
I will be coming back to your web site for more soon.
Wow, I’m impressed, they are great, and I respect your willingness to share your process.
Thank you Nienke, I have no secrets and am happy to share, I think every one has the right to learn through information.
I really love your site.. Pleasant colors & theme.
Did you build this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m looking to create my own website and want to know where you got this from or just what the theme is called.
This is a word press blog with a theme called Zoren, I had to choose colours and tweak it a little, but basically it’s WordPress.
What’s up colleagues, it’s an impressive article on the
topic of tutoring and fully explained, keep it up.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I don’t know anything about painting. Just came across your beautiful painting on the internet. I really like this painting because its just like as if someone has put my imagination in front of me.