There has never been a time in my
life when I didn't draw or paint or sing or play a tune in my head. The
creative muses have been alive and well inside of me since I took my first
breath. I always wanted to recreate what I observed around me so I set upon a
path, at an early age, that would take me into a world of color, shapes,
melodies and great creative passion. I found that after struggling to choose
between expressing as an artist or a musician that first and foremost, I was an
artist and that for me there was no distinction between the two varieties. I
was both, so I would learn to find a way to thrive as both.
The art of batik, which actually means, "wax painting" was introduced to me in a high school course in art. I found the medium to be a fascinating one and pursued it, determined to master it. I've been practicing it for over thirty years now and 11 have yet to "master" it. I have, perhaps, along with a very few other artists who also worked in the medium, taken it beyond a simple application of wax on cloth and dipping into a dye bath to achieve interesting patterns and color combinations. This very challenging medium for me has become my means of painting. Just as another artist would use watercolor, oils or acrylics, I use melted wax and colored dyes to create my images. My early batiks were simple in designs as it takes quite a bit of skill and practice to control hot wax that is applied to fabric. I use silk, which is even harder to control but the quality and the beauty of the fabric makes the challenge worthwhile. An artist sees a different world than most and that transfers to what becomes captured on "canvas". Since batik is a method of painting "negative space" I have learned to see the shapes and figures in between the shapes and figures. This, I believe, not only develops a strong design sense but is helpful when navigating around a piece of silk deciding where to apply the next color and then the next application of wax.
I have always loved animals and birds. They are amongst the first subject I chose to paint and the love affair continues. Although I have, through the years, branched out and created batiks of interesting buildings, beautiful landscapes, boat harbors and villages, wildlife art is what excites me the most. A trip to East Africa in 1999, which was a dream come true, introduced me to many animals and birds I had only seen in zoos or in books. I will be creating new batiks from that experience for a long time to come.
I love the art of batik more than any other medium that I have played with. There is something very serendipitous and exciting about it. It's as if, while I am using batik to create an image, by it's very nature, it begins to offer it's own gifts to the piece. Perhaps it is the very spirit that lives within each finished painting. Or perhaps it is in the emotion or memory, which is stirred when viewing one. Whichever the case, a work of art is in the eye of the beholder and should, in my opinion, be a source of pleasure for a long, long time.
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