Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I get it now, I think.

My first encaustic image transfer was done in the June workshop under the supervision and in the environment of experienced encaustic painters. I was pleased with the results but once I started doing them at home I felt like I must have had beginners luck because rubbing off the paper without ripping the image seemed to be a real challenge. I realized if the wax medium was still warm the image was easier to transfer, plus I knew the toner images I had made at Staples were also the best type for transfers. Today I finally remembered how to transfer properly; it's clean work and I am pleased.

I have now done a series of 4 image transfers, all of trees, and I feel like I am ready to start something different. Yesterday's sunflower painting was my first attempt at using pigmented wax rather than working with an image transfer and I feel like it's time to work on luminosity in landscapes with encaustics.

As a side note, I did get to Ikea today and bought 36 shadowbox frames! I plan on framing encaustic and sumi e art cards and will hope offering a smaller, more affordable piece of original framed artwork will be appealing at my next show.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

working smaller

Another day painting with wax ... I am sure each time I do a new work I am learning; maybe I am getting better at it?

I also want to be true to my self and my creative process and I am playing with the wax, trying to understand luminosity better and how the wax medium with the pigments can lead to wonderful depth. I still have a long way to go. I don't think I am fusing enough layers of medium...

The sunflowers were first painted as an art card and I really liked the way it turned out so I then did a second version on a 6 x 6 panel. I do find the art card size makes a good study before doing a larger version.
6 x 6 panel, "Sunflowers"

3.5 x 2.5 art card, sunflowers study

6 x 6 framed encaustic art card

I continue to build inventory of smaller framed works in anticipation for my October show. In the photo above I have mounted an encaustic art card on foam core, then floated it on 300 lb. watercolor paper, all placed in a shadowbox frame. Tomorrow I am going to Ikea to see if I can find more frames.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I LOVE New York!

barter with gallery - painting traded for netsuke figures

Yesterday I arrived in New York for a 1 day family visit and as much as I wanted to spend time visiting museums and galleries this visit was going to be too short to go on any art ventures... at least that's what I thought!

On the way to my hotel I walked past a gallery on Lexington Avenue that had a display of netsukes in the window and I could not resist wanting to find out more about them. I have a small netsuke collection that was my father's and I have wanted to add to the collection but the cost for these antique ivory carvings can run into the thousands of dollars. (I have seen copies made for a fraction of the cost but the authenticity and details of the originals fascinates me). Several years ago when I was in the French Quarter in New Orleans I had started pricing figures and educating myself about netsukes and I found the history behind this art form intriguing.

I decided to go back to the dealer after I checked into my hotel and was overwhelmed by the size of his collection. He spent a good amount of time with me although I admitted I was intimidated by the prices and not in a position to make any purchases. He was a keen salesman and encouraged me to keep looking and to pick out my favorite 3 figures. After he shared with me a story about a Boston artist that did commissioned work for a hospital who ended up accepting a barter as a form of payment I decided to share with the gallery owner that I was in fact an artist who could barter. We ended up looking at my website and he found a painting he wanted! I was able to purchase the netsukes after all!!

On Monday I will be shipping him his painting plus he offered to show additional works of mine in his gallery. My son lives in the city and will be looking at the gallery space for me on Sunday... I love when good things happen unexpectedly.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Today I put in 110% effort, I was totally in the zone and wanted to focus on encaustic image transfers. I decided to ' warm up' by painting art cards in the morning and thought I was being so smart when I added pure beeswax pellets to my encaustic medium - I was trying to mix up a medium that was not as yellow. I learned that by adding too many beeswax pellets the medium becomes too soft and doesn't have the hardening qualities required (probably because the damar crystals in the wax medium became diluted). I ended up melting a new batch of wax medium. Live and learn.

I did transfer the photo I had taken and printed here at home although as I was trying to burnish the image without ripping or leaving excess paper, I realized that I would have had an easier time if I had gone to Staples and printed off their xerox machines. They use toner, different from my printer at home, and the image transfers much easier because of the toner. I felt as if everything I did today wasn't right first time around and required me to problem solve... making art is exhausting when it requires solving one problem after the next!

I thought I could do a second image transfer after I printed several 'toner' copies at Staples but I had trouble burnishing the image into the prepped panel. It made me think maybe if the wax medium was warm it would be easier to accept the image. One thing led to another and let's just say the image refused to transfer, I ended up scraping everything off, and starting over. I think the colored photograph is so interesting that I just painted it onto the panel with a top coat of wax medium.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Back at it

I spent the morning working on 3 encaustic art cards and I admit it took me a little time before I felt like I could remember how to use the medium.

As my profile states, I have been a watercolor painter for the past 20 years although lately I only want to paint with wax. Is it possible I have found a new medium?! time will tell...

I also prepped a 6 x 6 panel with wax medium knowing I was going to do another image transfer. Later, I went out and took photos at a local bird sanctuary so that I could continue my tree study series. I have chosen the image I will use to transfer on to the panel and hope to finish later, but for now it's break time.

Below is the wood panel prepped with wax and ready for me to burnish the image of the tree. I decided to change the photo from color to black and white, same as the previous 2 works I have already done on 6 x 6 panels.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

6 x 6 is where it's at!

Art card framed in 6 1/8 x 6 1/8 frame. The card is mounted on 300 lb. watercolor paper with my seal just below.

Before I left for vacation my friend suggested I get a simpler frame to display art cards, she did not like the ornate wood frames I had gotten for my encaustic cards and the idea of framing watercolor cards in shadowbox frames interested me. I have always been excited about displaying my larger watercolor paintings, (18 x 24 and 22 x 30 have been my 2 favorite sizes for show booth displays) but now I feel like I want to offer smaller, more affordable artworks. My next show is not until October so I have the time to build up my inventory.

I framed one of my art cards before I left town (shown above) and now that I am back I am going to paint a series of small works to be put in these simple shadowbox frames. The frames come in black and white, dimensions are slightly larger than 6 x 6. I also have been working in the same size with encaustics, coincidence for sure!

This should be a productive week for me, I am eager to get back to it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

6 x 6 panel

6 x 6 image transfer with encaustic paint

The panel covered with wax medium is in the foreground, melted wax medium in the fondue pot, and the griddle is for heating the colored wax. My dining room was my studio for this piece.

It's summer vacation!
Finally, no school (classes as student, teacher), no shows for a few months, nothing but free time until August. I am visiting family in Chicago end of the week but now have time to take out the griddle and use the birch panels I ordered a few weeks ago. I can start working a little larger with the encaustics; doing the 2.5 x 3.5 art cards is not enough of a challenge anymore. The 6x6 panels now feel manageable.

I setup my fondue pot for melting the wax medium, the griddle for melting the pigmented wax, and spent a good portion of time just preparing the panel with medium. Once the layers of wax were fused I burnished in an image of birch trees. I then painted with colored wax to give more depth to the image transfer. I kept the first birch tree image transfer I did visible while working on this 2nd piece so I could remember to keep the same feeling in this panel... this may become a series of birch tree image transfers all on 6x6 panels.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

perfect weather = good show

Me and my "stuff"


encaustics and sumi-e paintings

We had literally, a month of little sun and loads of rain... the thought of an outdoor art festival was hard to imagine. 

The weather could not have been any better! 

I had not done this show for several years and now that it's over I can say it was great to do a local show and see loads of people I know, but the environment was more casual which meant for me the sales were a lower price range. It takes time to build a customer base for annual shows.

The good news is I sold plenty of art cards, some of my new sumi-e paintings, as well as prints and notecards. My next weekend show is not until Columbus day weekend so I have plenty of time to figure out how I want my booth to look. I am posting a few photos from the weekend.

Friday, July 3, 2009


Art Cards for sale

The sound of no rain falling is music to my ears! It has been raining here in the northeast for days and today I setup my tent and display panels in preparation for the art festival this weekend (tomorrow morning I will bring my artwork). The weather forecast is hopeful however watercolor paintings are never happy in a wet environment. I have tried to seal the seams of my tent (there were a few leaks last time I used it) and I also have large plastic tarps if all else fails, but the key ingredient to any show is always the attendance. Indoor shows the weather is never an issue... this is the reason I usually don't get involved with outdoor shows. I hope the weather co-operates and people are looking forward to the festival.

My newest additions to my exhibit will be the art cards, encaustics, and sumi-e paintings. This show will determine for me what will go to the fall Paradise City show in Northampton. I am curious to see how people respond.