back-lighting – how does it work?
The Batik process leaves the cloth impregnated with wax, even when most of it has been ironed out. This makes the work translucent like stained glass. Back-lighting brings the Batik paintings to life, showing the richness and vibrancy of the colours to make a stunning centrepiece, or to brighten a dark alcove.
The system of back-lighting is something I have developed over several years. In the early days I had to make deep boxes to house strip lighting but the invention of LED strip has transformed the process. Now I can light the painting exactly how I want it, highlighting some key areas and leaving others dark. The great thing about LED lighting is that, being 12v, it is very cheap to run and doesn’t get hot, so the lights can be left on continuously. Best of all, it fits neatly within the thickness of most frames without the need for a box.
When I am happy with the position of the lights, I fix the back board on with velcro (wonderful stuff!) making it all easily accessible for any repairs – then plug in the 12v transformer – and the Batik painting comes to life.