I have always been an artist, starting with drawing and then painting with oils and acrylics. I moved to watercolors when our kids were little because I could put the artwork away quickly, hiding it from little hands between sessions. I have 30 years experience as a custom picture framer, earning my CPF, Certified Picture Framer, in 1999 from the PPFA, Professional Picture Framers Association.
While working full-time I didn’t have time to make art but I did get to frame some special pieces such as a 1920’s wedding dress, a page of Gregorian chant on sheep parchment circa 1500. I conservation framed a cross stitch dated 1782, and a Norman Rockwell artist’s proof print valued at $40,000. I framed a card from Rose Kennedy thanking Gunther Gebel-Williams for attending the funeral of her son, John F Kennedy. I also framed a letter to Representative Harris from President G W Bush apologizing for leaving Florida abruptly due to the attack on 9/11/2001. It was humbling to handle history.
While living in Florida, I taught Sailors Valentine creation and other arts utilizing seashells, such as making shell flowers and arrangements. It’s a Florida thing. My watercolors are not shy. I love bold colors that don’t sit quietly on the paper. Watercolor is so versatile with so many choices of substrate. My latest favorite surfaces are Yupo synthetic paper, and Ginwashi or Unryu ‘rice paper’ which have Kozo fibers that add inherent texture to anything painted on them.
The batik process is similar to traditional fabric batiking which uses wax as a resist, layering paint and wax, one after the other. By the end of the process the paper is completely coated with wax which is then removed with a household iron and newspapers. I have been teaching watercolor batik classes since 2017.
Batik artwork has freed me from the need to obsess over details and teaches me patience and acceptance. Patience to persist till the process is complete. Acceptance of the finished product which always has hidden surprises that are revealed. It’s this emergence from the wax coating, as if from a chrysalis, that excites me at seeing each new batik creation.