This is a completed watercolor batik painting. This textured, somewhat ethereal effect is achieved in part by painting on Ginwashi "rice" paper (available at Jerry's Artarama) Ginwashi paper is made in Japan from Zozo and Manila Hemp Fibers. It is lightweight and has inclusions on one side. You paint on the smooth side. It feels like you are painting on tissue paper. The paint spreads and can be washed to lighter values.
To achieve the "batik" effect, you start with the lightest values (remember value refers to light or dark) in your painting plan and preserve them by applying hot wax (the kind you use for canning "Gulf" wax) over them. Then, you paint the value that is slightly darker. You hold this slightly darker value with a layer of wax. Continuing in this manner, until all of the values have been painted including the darkest darks. A final layer of wax is then applied. Once very dry, the whole painting is balled up to crack the wax. Now different colors are worked into the cracks. An additional layer of wax is applied over the paint in the cracks before melting (ironing on "cotton" setting) the wax off.
This is incredibly freeing because every step of the process can be unpredictable. The wax drips where you don't expect, the paint drips where you don't expect (or you splatter drops of colors about), the paint bleeds into this thin surface and finally you crack it all and randomly apply different colors which destroys some edges and adds more depth and interest. Katie George has excellent paintings, step-by-step kits and directions on her web page.
This is a larger watercolor batik painting showing you the steps in progress. After selecting a number of photos of the Sylvan Heights flamingos, I rearranged the birds until I arrived at what I thought would be an interesting composition and painted the first light layers.
Here, the new bird (very right) and all the other are painted. All the light peach and pinks are complete. Again, wax is applied.
Now, the background has been started. The blues can't bleed into the lighter whites, creams, pinks etc because wax protects them. My plan was to have a gradation of blues from top light to bottom dark. Although this is an i phone image with overhead incandescent lighting, the painting has problems. The very light top area makes the bottom light in the central birds feel isolated. In addition, the top lights appear to be washed out. Plus, although overly represented by this poor quality photo, the purples that show up in this photo are too pronounced and take away from the peach colors in the birds.
Now, the blues are repainted. The painting has wax applied to all of it. Then, the painting is balled up so the wax is cracked and additional paint is rubbed into the cracks. Small droplets of paint are dried and the entire painting is waxed again before all of the wax is ironed (melted) off.
Almost done. I re waxed the top of the painting, cracked it again and added more paint into the cracks.
This is finished and ready to mount and frame.