The word batik means "wax painting" in Malayan.
Traditional batik involves applying hot wax to a fabric surface, then painting with colored dyes. The areas covered with the hot wax do not absorb the dye, so the wax "resists" the dye or paint. The batik process was first practiced by the Egyptians, but reached its highest development in Java, Indonesia where it has been practiced since the 7th Century AD. Batik was first introduced in Europe by the Dutch painters in the 17th Century.
Today, I layer hot wax and watercolor paint on a ricepaper surface. I begin a painting with a composition in mind and render linear forms using a traditional tjaunting tool and hot wax. I add washes of watercolor paint to blend the forms. The method is repeated, adding layers of hot wax and washes of watercolor paint until the painting is complete. In the final steps of the batik process, there is an element of surprise as the image begins to reveal itself with the removal of the wax.