Rice Paper, Watercolor, Wax

Chaparral Artists enjoyed a demonstration by Nancy Miehle who intrigued everyone with a painting technique involving wax! The process is simple, a bit messy, and so much fun. This technique is a slightly altered form of “Watercolor batik” and it combines watercolors, rice paper, and melted wax, and the result truly creates a product that 'pops.'

Nancy was ready with all of her tools, which included several sheets of rice paper, her watercolors, used brushes, and pre-melted wax. She shared that rice paper has a rough and smooth side, and informed everyone that the smooth side should be painted on. The rice paper must be placed on a mobile painting surface - such as a small sheet of plexiglass. A scene is traced onto the rice paper with a permanent pen - in our case, an iris was provided. Nancy then spattered the rice paper with wax as well as brushed on wax to protect ANY white spots, as this application of wax will block out those locations, disallowing any watercolor to absorb into the rice paper. After the wax dried (it happens quickly) we began painting with watercolors. Vivid colors will result in a very stunning end-product, so have at it and go wild with color! The painted rice paper must be allowed to dry COMPLETELY.

Once everything is completely dry, a coating of melted wax is applied over the entire sheet of rice paper. This, too, must be allowed to dry COMPLETELY. Finally, paper towels were placed over the rice paper, and a hot iron was applied to the layers. The paper towels absorb the reheated wax, pulling it from the rice paper, leaving the watercolor imagery behind.

The finished product is a vivid watercolor, painting on rice paper, with slight elements of protective wax, which seems to deepen the inks left behind during the process of wax removal. The rice paper can be float mounted on watercolor paper and framed.

This process was fascinating to watch!