Category Archives: Watercolour Batik

Rain Rescue – a random act of kindness

With Gratitude

Out of the Rain

Out of the Rain ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour Batik

My Mom and sister live in the same neighbourhood as we do so the three of us often go for evening walks. I am grateful for these times to visit and check in with them. One day last week as we were walking along there was a sudden downpour. Fortunately there are lots of large trees so we took refuge under one thinking it would pass quickly.  It wasn’t more than a minute later that a woman came running out with an umbrella for us! She invited us inside but we declined, still optimistic that this rain would stop as quickly as it started.

Well, we were wrong! The wind came up sending rivers of water down the street. We gave in and went to the door.  She was so kind and welcoming!  We are grateful for the umbrellas, the towels, the visit and the opportunity to meet her 2 month old baby! Her kindness made the adventure into a happy story!

With gratitude,

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P.S. Remember to stop by Handmade House and have to see my show there!

Nearby

Handmade House Show – August – September 2016

Handmade House Show – “Nearby”

A while ago Heike from the  Handmade House asked if I would consider having a show of my work in their guest artist space.  I was honoured to be asked! Today I get to see my work in their space!  You can see my work there in August and September 2016.

Creating a Series

Handmade House Show Pieces

Paige Mortensen Handmade House Show hanging in my “Fireplace Gallery” 2016

Most of the work I do is relatively large however their space is small.  So, my challenge has been to create a series of small pieces. Summer in Saskatchewan was my inspiration. These are places and flowers I see on a regular basis. Here they are hanging in what I call my fireplace gallery – a place I hang pieces that I have just finished.

Preparing the Pieces for Hanging

This particular series hung here for a long time. As I walked by I wondered how best to finish them for display.  Some days I was going to put them behind glass. Other days I wanted to mount them on canvas.  Then came the question of whether the image should go right to the edge or have a boarder. Finally, someone came to see my work and wanted to purchase one so the push was on to get it ready to go. Thanks to her motivation, I got busy and mounted them on canvas…and I’m quite happy with them.

Handmade House Show Pieces

Series for Handmade House 2016 – mounted on canvas

They have been on display at my house for a while and now I’m excited to see them hanging in the Handmade House!

Handmade House Show 2016

Handmade House Pieces 2016 – ready to go!

Handmade House is at 710 Broadway Avenue and they are open Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Broadway Avenue has experienced a summer of construction however I hear at least that portion of it is open again. If you haven’t been before I’m sure you will enjoy the work of many artists – pottery, fabric art, felting, jewellery, and more!  While you are out and about this summer please stop in and have a look!

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Sun, Sand, Water…and Art

Summer is here and with it come thoughts of sun, sand, water, … and art!

By The Sandbar ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour Batik 16x16" Available at Black Spruce Gallery

By The Sandbar ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour Batik 16×16″ Available at Black Spruce Gallery

The northern Saskatchewan forest is a wonderful change from city life. I love sitting on the beach, reading, walking and enjoying the sounds of nature. My art making changes to simple sketches and experimentation just for fun and relaxation!

Nature provides lots of inspiration – but so does a visit to an art gallery.

As you head north to Christopher, Emma or Anglin Lake, Elk Ridge, Prince Albert National Park or La Ronge you will drive through Northside.  There, a historic dance hall is now Northside Antiques & Collectibles…and Black Spruce Gallery.

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Black Spruce Gallery – on Highway #2 at Northside, SK

The gallery has been open since 2010 and every year it gets more impressive.  We stopped on the weekend and WOW – it looks fantastic! They  have an amazing range of work with something for everyone.  In addition to paintings you will find pottery, sculpture, jewelry and more.

Spring Birds

Spring Birds ©Paige Mortensen Available at Black Spruce Gallery

I am honoured to be represented by Black Spruce Gallery (since 2012). I delivered some new pieces and these three “Spring Break” birds were on display immediately! When you stop at the gallery you will also see “By the Sandbar” (top) – one of my favourite places to stop as we walk.

Tall Taller Tallest ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour Batik 12x36" Available at Black Spruce Gallery

Tall Taller Tallest ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour Batik 12×36″ Available at Black Spruce Gallery

 

Enjoy nature … and art!

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Post Show feels like a Spring Break

New Work

These last two weeks have felt like I’m on a spring break!  The Artists’ Workshop Show & Sale was April 15-17th which meant some focused show preparation time leaving other things undone.  I have enjoyed the change of pace and checking some of those things off of my to-do list.

I have still been working though, and these four ‘spring break’ birds are framed and ready to go!  (Actually since I started this post one has already been sold!)

Spring break Birds

Four ‘Spring Break’ Birds: Listening, Cheerful, Proud and Nesting all 8×8″ Watercolour Batik ©Paige Mortensen

 

Spring Break Gallery Stop

One day last week I drove out to the Station Arts Centre in Rosthern to see an exhibit called “Hello In There Hello Out There”.  This project was a collaboration of artists and Saskatchewan seniors. They worked together to write out stories from the seniors and then create dioramas to depict the memories.  It was great to see how the Rosthern school engaged with the show with some students creating dioramas of their own and other classes coming to view and reflect on the stories.

Spring break gallery stop - Station Arts Centre - Rosthern

Spring break gallery stop

As well as the visual art they have a wonderful tea room and live theatre in the summer.  See the Station Arts Centre website for more information.

My next project is to create, and mail them some postcard sized art!
From June 21 – August 7th they are having a Postal Art Fundraising Exhibit.  Individuals have been invited to mail them postcard sized art which will be auctioned to help keep the arts alive in Rosthern. If you are interested in participating see Postcards to the Station: a Postal Art Fundraising Exhibit.  It will be fun to see what they receive!

I hope you too are enjoying a spring break!

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A Glimpse into My Watercolour Batik Process

This glimpse into my watercolour batik process is for the curious artists out there who keep asking how I do it … and for anyone else who is just curious.

Watercolour Batik Process

Tools

Watercolour Batik Process Tools

My supplies include:

  • Ginwashi paper – notice the obvious fibres in it – they help create the texture!
  • A paint tray and brushes – I just use a small, inexpensive brush to mix the colour and one of these large hake brushes to apply the paint to the paper
  • Watercolour paints
  • Paraffin wax
  • An encaustic iron to melt the wax
  • Sponges, stamps, tiny brushes, etc to apply the wax

Watercolour Batik Process - Encaustic Iron

Preparations

Watercolour Batik Process - Under the Bridge Drawing

First, I edit and crop photos I have taken to decide on the composition. Then I draw the basic image the size I want the finished piece to be. When I am happy with that I go over the lines of my drawing with a back marker.

The Ginwashi paper is quite transparent so I can then trace the drawing onto it with a Micron pen (permanent and waterproof).

Adding a Layer of Wax

Watercolour Batik Process - Step 1 Add Some Wax

Here, the Ginwashi paper is set on top of a piece of wax paper – so the wax doesn’t stick to whatever is underneath it. When I am adding wax I also put a black paper underneath so I can see where it is going.

The purpose of the wax is to preserve the colour of the paper at a given point in time…so, anything that needs to stay white needs to have wax put over it before any paint is applied. In this case I just put a bit of wax in a couple of spots on the water to create some highlights.

Building Up the Colour

Watercolour Batik Process - Under The Bridge - Step 2 - Adding Paint

Now, I can add the first layer of light colour. Some of the things I think about:

  • This is very watery paint and will very quickly run uncontrollably across the paper
  • These are transparent watercolours so every layer will show through to the top
  • The colour will dry much lighter than it looks going on
  • What colours can I layer to get the right colours at the darker layers

Mostly, the goal is just to get the first light colours on there and see where they go. Letting them run into each other creates softer edges and unity of colour in the finished piece.

This then needs to dry before the next wax and watercolour layers can go on.

The Ugly Phase

Watercolour Batik Process - Under The Bridge - Adding More Wax

More wax … you can see how much lighter the colours are now that it has dried.

Watercolour Batik Process - Under The Bridge - Ugly Phase

More paint … and so on. In these early stages it can get to look quite ugly.  Everything has the same value, the drawn lines are disappearing and there is little definition.

Adding Darks

Watercolour Batik Process - Under The Bridge - Darks

Five or six layers of wax and watercolour later, the darks get dark enough that I once again begin to feel like there is hope for a successful piece.

Iron off the Wax

When I feel like the piece is finished I make sure the entire surface is covered with wax then place it between layers of newsprint and iron it. The wax comes off onto the newsprint and the image emerges in its finished form! This is my favourite step in the process – and the only thing I like to iron!

Finished Piece

Under the Bridge Watercolour Batik ©Paige Mortensen 10x20" March 25, 2016

Under the Bridge ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour Batik 10×20″

See more about two Saskatoon bridges I did in these blog posts:
– the Broadway Bridge
   – the Traffic Bridge

Or, watch a time lapse video of my watercolour batik process.

Thanks for reading!

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Show Preparation Time

Tall Taller Tallest ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour Batik 12x36"

Tall Taller Tallest ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour Batik 12×36″

The show preparations have begun!  I have finished lots of pieces and yet that is only the beginning. They need to be mounted onto canvas or framed before they are ready for the show.  As you probably know I work on Ginwashi paper which is an oriental paper – thin like tissue paper yet sturdy with small threads in it. You can watch a time-lapse video of my batik-like process on my website – http://paigemortensen.ca/demonstrations/

03-MountingProcessMounting these on canvas is a multi-step process. First I need to paint the edges of the canvas to give them a crisp finished look. Then I cover the canvas with a layer of acrylic medium and attach the piece using a brayer to smooth it down and ensure that it is well attached. I chose to mount this bird with the torn edges showing.

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Often though I wrap it around the edge of the canvas, and sometimes the darker colours run into the medium. So…the edges need to be painted again.

03-FinishedMounting
This collection of pieces are mounted and ready for the next step in the process which is to spray them with an archival UV protective varnish that seals the entire piece and ensures that the colours are permanent. After that there will be hangers and information labels to attach and paperwork to prepare.

These are just some of the pieces I will have in the show and there are 10 other artists working on their own. Together, the works will make a great show. We hope you can make it!

2016 aw invite sm

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Memories of Bouquets

Fond Farewell ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour Batik 12x24"

Fond Farewell ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour Batik 12×24″

As the saying goes, “Pictures are worth a thousand words”…and they bring back so many memories. Looking at some photos recently I came across some from a farewell party for a friend and co-worker. They brought back many memories of working with this amazing, dedicated person. Another co-worker had put together this small bouquet in an office mug reminding me of the special talents every person has. Working on this piece was a joyful opportunity to remember those connections.

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Healing & Protea ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour Batik each 8×24″

These two also have memories. The daisies were a gift from family when I broke my ankle in 2014. I don’t really want to remember the broken ankle but I am always thankful for my awesome family and their support in everything. The orange flower in the second one one is a Protea (or Pin Cushion) and the arrangement includes some Eryngium and Eucalyptus. These I gave to my sister for her birthday. The vase she used was a plastic one that folds flat. Once filled with water it created some very interesting shapes and colours.

Just over a month until the Artists’ Workshop Show & Sale.  Hope to see you there!

2016 aw invite sm

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Mann Art Gallery’s Permanent Collection

It doesn’t happen very often but yesterday there was something very exciting in the mail.  It was a letter from Jesse Campbell, Director/Curator at the Mann Art Gallery in Prince Albert, SK saying that they have purchased this piece (‘Welcome’) for their permanent collection!  I am honoured and thrilled!

Welcome ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour Batik 12x18" SOLD to Mann Art Gallery's Permanent Collection

Welcome ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour Batik 12×18″ SOLD

As background, it is Winter Festival in Prince Albert and as part of that the Gallery has a member’s show and sale.  All gallery members are invited to submit two pieces to the show so that is how this came to be there.  There are many, many amazing and varied artists with work in this show so please take the time to check it out.  It is up until April 2, 2016. Details can be found on the Mann Art Gallery website.


About ‘Welcome’

In 2008 we were in Bath, UK. The weather was great and we had been exploring. I remember a little shop where we watched a glass blower create beautiful pieces of art.  Glass blowing is magical and mysterious…and makes the room very hot.

Shortly after we came across this sign and a very welcoming building.
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The building is the Walcot Chapel and it was built in the late 1700’s. I loved the welcoming feel of the space, the people and the history. What stuck with me was again magical as the artist’s ‘circular art’ explored deep inner emotion in a colourful, mesmerizing show.


 

This is the second piece I have hanging in the show:

Beauty Behind ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour Batik 10x14" $225

Beauty Behind ©Paige Mortensen Watercolour Batik 10×14″ $225


I am extremely thankful to the people who chose my work for the Mann Art Gallery’s permanent collection!

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Remembering and Letting Go

First Drive Memories

First Drive Memories Watercolour Batik 24 x 36″

In this, the city of bridges, we are remembering and letting go of a bridge that has been part of our identity since 1907.  It was the first vehicle bridge and replaced the ferry service for connecting what were then Saskatoon, Nutana and Riversdale.

It is fondly (?) remembered by many of us as the first test of our driving skills as it seemed that all new drivers were taken across it on their very first drive.  It was extremely narrow so once you made it safely across your confidence was bound to have improved.  Since 2010 it has been closed to traffic and it is now being taken down to make way for a new one.

The taking down process has brought people together this winter as they came to watch the demolition.  You can watch the crowds, and the explosion from the removal of two of the spans in this time-lapse taken by our son Derek (Electric Umbrella).

And the bridge came tumbling down. #yxe #?

A video posted by Electric Umbrella Images Inc. (@electricumbrella) on

First Drive Memories

First Drive Memories (Detail)

This is my tribute to a bridge that holds many memories for Saskatoon residents.  I invite you to imagine yourself sitting on this bench and remember.

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Explorations to Start 2016

January, a month for new explorations! I have been sewing on my paper batiks, sketching and adding charcoal to my batik-like process.

Sewing on my paper batiks

I have been admiring the work of some amazing thread painters and wanted to try combining stitching with my batiks. My first project involved creating a number of papers of coloured batiks, cutting them up and sewing them back together.  I had had a lovely bouquet of daisies and as they were nearing their end I cut the blossoms off and put them in a bowl of water.  This really perked them up. I loved the look and used it as inspiration for this mini-paper batik quilt!

DaisyBowl

Daisy Bowl ©Paige Mortensen Mixed Media 12×12″

Then I had done a batik of a lovely little outdoor cafe we saw in Sarlat, France and I decided to see what some stitching would do for it.  I didn’t cut it apart, just added details with various colours of threads. My goal was to keep it about the batik, just enhance the look.  It was a lot of fun!

Sarlat Cafe

Sarlat Cafe ©Paige Mortensen Mixed Media 12×18″

Here is some of the detail:

Sarlat Cafe Detail

Sarlat Cafe Detail ©Paige Mortensen

Sketching

January has become an annual month of daily sketching and this year I have been working on people and fabric.  There have been some great tips and exercises in this book “Drawing Realistic Clothing & People” by Lee Hammond.  Exploring and learning!

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Adding Charcoal

It was back to our weekly painting day with the Artists’ Workshop group and time to explore something new! Rather than just work from light to dark I decided to start with the darks by using charcoal for the initial design and then build the colours onto that.  These landscapes are the result of this week’s experimentation.  They are both inspired by spots at Emma Lake close to our cabin. Awesome to think about warm summer days!

©Paige Mortensen

Evening at Emma ©Paige Mortensen Mixed Media 16×16″

Emma Mystery

Emma Mystery ©Paige Mortensen Mixed Media 16×16″

I wonder where this exploration will take me? What about you?  What are you exploring these days?

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