Born in the hill country of Texas, Beth Erlund graduated with a B.A. in Zoology from Louisiana State University. After working in research at Tulane University, she spent two and a half years, in Japan, exploring many of the oriental art forms and fell in love with the art of batik. In this medium, she finds the challenges of design and color to be never ending. Her love of nature has influenced her choice of subject matter, and she enjoys researching her subjects in their natural environments. Beth's art begins as an on-site sketch in ink and watercolor or a plein air oil painting. She also takes many photographs to aid her research. These become the basis for her final sketch on cotton or silk which will ultimately become the batik.
The Art Form
Batik is at least 2000 years old and has been maintained as an art form in Egypt, China, Japan and Indonesia. Batik-making is a process of producing a design with the use of resist and dyes. Hot wax is the traditional resist and is applied with a tjaunting (a brass cup mounted on a wooden handle). The waxing and dyeing process is repeated on natural fibers, working from the lightest color to the darkest until the design is complete. Then most of the wax is removed revealing a combination of careful planning, technical and artistic craftsmanship and unpredictable character in the form of "crackle." Encaustic wax may be added to increase texture and luminosity.The translucency of the encaustic allows the underlying batik to show and she may embed paper, string and other objects to develop a deeper feeling.Much of the recent work has been made by a combination of the ancient techniques and the contemporary digital process. After producing the traditional style as an under painting, new imagery is added through digitally altering the image.
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