About The Artist

I have been a creative person all my life, drawing and painting from an early age; toy making and dressmaking in my teens and working in batik and other mediums ever since.

Image of Marina

Batik was first shown to me at school and it fascinated me. Its vibrant colour, intricate pattern and crackly texture, inspired me to think of and explore images that would gain from this distinctive technique.

The figure and the face are central features in my work; I am drawn to the physical form and its presence. I enjoy the pleasing contours and shapes that are created by a slight twist or change of light.

Capturing a likeness is extremely important to me when drawing faces. They are real people whether the artwork is a portrait, a mythically themed piece or a nude. Commissioned portraits are a Major part of my day to day work and fortunately I very much enjoy doing them.

People often ask me why I choose to work in batik, rather than oil or acrylic. The answer is I do work in these mediums, but am always drawn to the fluidity and serendipitous nature of the batik process. However, I intend to take time out and rediscover other techniques and freer ways of working in all media.

I have always kept sketchbooks and now have quite a selection covering 35 years. They have been a way of recording my ideas and developing them, from initial doodles, to something of substance. They have also provided me with numerous under explored areas to revisit and remodel, with new inspiration and experience.

About Batik

Batik is a wax and dye resist technique originating from Indonesia and has been around for thousands of years. It involves applying hot wax on cotton and then immersing it into cold water dye; the waxed areas resist the dye colour and allow a design or painting to be made. Once the work is dry the process can be repeated many times to achieve fine detail and variations in tone and colour.

Batik has been one of my favourite mediums since my school days and I have continued to be inspired by its versatility, vibrancy and character. I use batik today professionally to create life-like portraits, landscapes, nudes, floral and mythically themed hangings.

The Batik Process

After drawing directly on to the cotton, I heat the wax in a small electric cooker to about 130°, when it is very hot and fluid.

I apply it onto the fabric with brushes, cantings and kyskas. These tools are like flowing “ink pens” and they can create fine lines and tiny dots. Used alongside bold brushstrokes, a wide range of marks and textures are possible.

The batik is dyed with Procion cold water dyes, using both the traditional dip-dye bath and hand painting; these combined methods enable more freedom and variation of colour, as well as achieving strong saturated over-dyes.

Once dry, the batik is waxed again; this time it is applied to seal in areas that are to remain this colour. The dye process is repeated and will only penetrate un-waxed areas, creating depth and contrast to the image or design. The number of waxings and dyeing depends on the project; two or three can be effective in a simple design, yet for more ambitious pieces up to 10 dye baths are needed.

The batik is completed when the wax is removed and the full intensity of colour and detail are revealed. This is done with a hot iron and newspaper, sandwiching the batik between newsprint and ironing it, allowing the paper to absorb the molten wax.

It is at this stage that the fine vein-like cracks are exposed; where dye has leaked into delicate fractures in the wax and identified them with threads of colour. The lively crackle can add resonance to the batik, adding texture and dancing life into an otherwise plain background.

Crackling can be avoided by working on a frame; or they can be sealed using heat. There are obvious times when fissures are not desirable, like on faces and flesh. I melt any cracks not wanted before dyeing the next dye, using a hot air stripper on medium heat. Care is needed not to scorch the work or melt unfinished areas.

As with all art mediums artists find their own unique way of working, batik offers huge scope and versatility for anyone wanting to try something new.