Friday, January 30, 2015

So many ways to work with wax (a post about process and possibility)...

In Good Company::Float On::Side By Side

Someone asked if I would talk about my process a bit and I realized I haven't given a step by step on any one piece in quite a while.  In looking back I see that I used to talk a lot more about the encaustic process but now I tend to share the beginning and the end but leave out the middle part.  The good part. The sometimes mind blowing, sometimes excruciatingly frustrating part.  As I thought about writing this post I realized that the reason I may say less is because I am doing so much more experimenting and it can be tricky to write about things you are just trying out.  Encaustic is a medium that is wide open.  You can take a class or read a book to learn the painting basics and vital safety information but you really have to experiment and learn from mistakes and go through the process of trial and error to find your voice in this luscious medium. So instead of discussing how I created each of the new pieces shown above I'm going to list the variety of ways I approach a block of wood or piece of paper in hopes that you may see something you haven't tried or that one of these methods may spark a new and uncharted path for you to travel down creatively.  So when I have a nice thick hardwood block on my table I usually head down one of the following paths...     

(for the sake of space I will use hs to stand in for heat set or fuse which is something that happens between each and every layer of wax and after adding incised details or after applying silver or gold leaf)

  Apply a layer of clear medium and hs 
dip newsprint bits into wax and meld them onto the wax surface, hs
*add colored medium, oil stick, etc., hs
apply another layer of clear medium, hs
repeat multiple times hs in between each layer
etch in detail with pin tool and fill lines with black oil stick
remove excess with linseed oil and hs.

paint wood block with encaustic gesso 
use glue to adhere newsprint bits
apply clear medium and proceed as in step one*

paint wood block with encaustic gesso
paint image with oil paint
allow to dry for days
cover with clear medium and proceed as in step one*

apply clear or colored medium to wood block, hs
paint with colored medium, hs
proceed as in step one*

So in a nutshell these are the ways that I usually work.  In my paintings most of the clothing is newsprint, all of the heads, arms and legs are created using heated encaustic paint and the backgrounds are a mix of both those things and encaustic paint sticks and there are between 4-8 layers of clear medium on most pieces.There is no one right way to work and as you find your way you are sure to discover new methods not mentioned here.  The encaustic process is truly about letting go and enjoying the process.  Heat setting is the trickiest part and is the thing that demands you let go of perfection.  This definitely isn't everything you need to know but it is a little window into the way I create and I hope you find something useful, interesting or inspiring. 
 Happy Friday :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

new work in progress...

Lots of new pieces in the works for the shop and lots of experimenting going on for show submissions and just to stretch myself creatively.  I might be able to share two nudes I'm working on later in the week and a diptych which is taking shape although I'm not sure either will be finished.    I'm enjoying all of the 'beginning' but am itching to see a few pieces through to completion and so I spent the morning clipping newsprint into tiny bits of clothing for a small group of new work.   The big kids are home for the 2nd day this week but they are all wrapped up in school projects and the house is quiet.  The sun is shiny and bright today and it seems like a good day for getting things done.  Time to clean up from lunch, heat up some wax and send you wishes for a super lovely day!

Friday, January 23, 2015

The friday round up....

much too messy 
before i discovered paper
a fresh start
making medium
a little bit of sunshine
putting it all together
the invitation

happy friday

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

shaking things up...

 Just a quick hello midweek to share a few things I'm working on.  I pulled out my beautiful hotbox and worked into the wee hours on Monday night.  I've been meaning to take it out from under my worktable for months now and even though it was too late to start something new I'm glad I did it.  The flat heated palette is the perfect place to explore hazy, dreamy, muted landscapes.  I painted directly on the heated palette with encaustic paints and pigment sticks and then laid a piece of rice paper over the image to create a mono print. Once the print cooled, I used more pigment sticks and oil pastels to shade and fill in the image.  I found the process very meditative and am trying to find a place for the box to stay out so I can use it more often.  I'm planning to mount these images on wood blocks and cover them with encaustic medium to finish them up.  The painting on paper to the right was done last night at a friend's open studio time.  The assignment was to paint without thinking by  exploring shape and color and letting those things guide you. As you can see there are very familiar shapes and colors in my painting but it is definitely a bit more 'free' than most of my work.  I really like it and plan to translate it to a large board over the next week or two.  The paint went on so quickly and makes it so easy to work large but I need the solidness of the wood and the depth of the wax to really complete an image.  And speaking of completing an image  I finally got around to waxing the 2nd 30"x30" painting in the diptych I started almost one year ago.  I still need to do some adding and subtracting to pull it together but it's getting there.  Big art is slow art and I'm learning to be Ok with that.  With C gone for the week I have many things nibbling away at my studio time so I guess I should stop prattling on here and get to work...see ya later :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Cast your vote at minted!

art prints - She Longed To Move The Stars
art prints - She Longed To Move The Stars

art prints - 26 tools to express everything
art prints - 26 tools to express everything

art prints - Adaptation
art prints - Adaptation

Hello there.  This is an unusual time for me to be posting but I have a little news to share on the i-am-going-to-be-brave-and-take-chances-in-2015-department.  I entered three paintings in an art design contest on minted.  The voting window just opened and will close on January 21st.  With over 2000 entries I do not expect to win but I would love to get a few votes so if you have a minute to pop over sometime between now the 21st and vote for my pieces that would be lovely (i am on page 21).  Thanks and good night friends!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Toned down and tuned in...

::works in progress::

Late last year I started experimenting with some india ink that I purchased years ago. A few mistakes led to a finish I really like which looks like a cross between a chalkboard and deep space.  I've been pairing that background with some muted colors which feel like winter yet have a softness and warmth to them.  I tried introducing a bit of bold color but it took away from the sense of calm these pieces carry.  I'm trying to allow this body of work to unfold in a very organic way and am really enjoying working a bit larger and a bit more slowly than my pre-show pace. I really should be loading all my aug-dec work onto my website but it is such a chore.  I know I should take care of listing things as I go but I would much rather paint than type.  With the kids back to school and the snow falling there should be time for both this week.  

Friday, January 2, 2015

Hello 2015...

...the winner of wild hare no.5 is artslice!

Hello 2015, nice to meet you.  I have thought about you a lot in a very abstract way but now you are really here.  You are sure to be a year of growth and transition and I welcome you with open arms and an open heart.  I hope to handle the changes you will bring with strength, grace and patience.  I plan to take more chances creatively and  seek new opportunities for seeing people and being seen.  I am committed to eating well and moving more and practicing self care and self love. In many ways you are just like any other new year but in a few very key ways you are sure to be unlike any that has come before.   I am looking forward to taking you one day at a time and enjoying each and every one of those days.  

ps:  Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment and enter the New Year's Giveaway and congratulations to Artslice!