Monday, August 31, 2009

completed work

I woke up this morning and knew I had to create distinctions in the foreground greenery and I did that by etching into the wax, then rubbing oil pastel into the markings, followed by linseed oil to take off the excess pastel. It felt like sculpting when I was defining the leaves and grasses. It's hard to photograph encaustic because there is a reflection of light whether its from a flash or a natural light source but you can still get a sense of the painting.

I do like the 3 dimensional aspects of painting with wax but for now I will hold off on working any larger than 6 x 6 panels.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

18 x 24 encaustic painting, almost done

Image transfer with painted wax addition

Image transfer on wood board before painting with colored wax

I have been possessed and obsessed by the image transfer that has patiently waited for me to go back to working on it; the problem was, I was dreading it! After having done almost a dozen 6 x 6 image transfers with pigmented wax I thought I was ready for the larger size but all these new problems kept arising - Did I need more wax medium in order to protect the outer layer of colored wax? (I used more) Were there enough details in the greenery? (I built the layers of leaves with shades of green wax but wasn't sure if I should etch into the leaves more details) Was there enough depth? (encaustics are all about fusing layers) Did I achieve a luminous landscape? (that was my primary goal). None of these thoughts were an issue when I was working smaller but now with this spotty image transfer on my painting table I had more physical space to work with and more problems to work through. Bigger space = Bigger challenges.

I kept reminding myself that I wanted the photo transfer to play and interact with the colored wax. I did not want to cover all of the photograph but I did have to correct the holes that were left when I damaged the image doing the transfer. I can't decide if this is one huge mess of green wax or if it takes me some place in my mind... down the path that leads to the pond just beyond the trees.

One thing I can admit to is that I am looking forward to working on a watercolor landscape I started earlier in August. My watercolors are my happy, serene creative place and I have missed the flow of the translucent medium. I also have a few more smaller 6 x 6 wood panels for encaustics, a size I feel I should stick with for a little longer. I still have to sit with this and look at it with fresh eyes in the morning. I may etch some details in the larger leafy plants, even use oil pastel; don't know if that would make it too busy or more interesting. I will know in the morning.

Friday, August 28, 2009

fun night~ ATC workshop

My trades from last night's workshop; I meant to trade with all 14 workshop participants but I only ended up with 8 cards from other artists
Tables setup with everyone 'doing their thing'

Last night I hosted an artist trading card workshop sponsored by Lynn Arts, Inc. About 14 people came to the workshop, most of them had made cards ahead of time but had never participated in live swaps. For me, it was interesting to see all the different styles of art cards and I definitely enjoyed the networking aspects of the workshop. I even met an artist who used to be in a gallery that I am still showing work in, and we had so much fun sharing our experiences. Some of the artists I met have websites (which I will be visiting as soon as I am finished posting). It really was a nice change for me to trade cards in person rather than through websites. It's important to me that I see what other artists are doing, what mediums they are using, and what they find appealing when they look to trade their cards.

Today I hope to spend time dealing with my large encaustic image transfer. I need to start adding color and 'connecting the empty spots' which should be a challenge because it's so much larger than the previous encaustic paintings I have done. At least it's a cool, cloudy Friday, perfect for making art.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


18 x 24 image transfered onto wood board, next step is painting with colored wax on top of the image transfer

Image transfered onto the board, original photo for reference is next to it

2 layers of wax medium painted on the board, 1 more layer to go!

I sure will have my work cut out for me with this new encaustic. I spent today preparing the 18 x 24 panel first with wax medium, then with the xerox image transfer. I definitely need to get more of the medium because if I am going to be working larger one block of wax doesn't last long. After the 3 layers of wax were fused, I was able to transfer the image however I had a problem and have more "empty spots" than I wanted (where I rubbed too hard and the image rubbed off).

I think it's hard to know what you are looking at in this stage. I plan on adding colored wax next and will paint in the details that will pull everything together. I need lots of foreground greens, and I will need it to blend toward the back where the big tree trunks are. Not sure what else I will paint until I start doing it.

It took a few hours to burnish the paper into the wax, and then rub off the excess paper. I need to be more delicate with my rubbing but I know how to fix this so all is well, for now.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

what next?

This is the black and white xerox copy I will use for my next image transfer; it is 18 x 24, same size as the wood panel seen behind it.

My bonsai helps me remember to breathe peacefully especially when I get so busy I can barely think! It also helps me to remember to see the life in a tree, the shapes, the details. I will use this to help me with the tree details in the encaustic I am about to start.

This is always the time of year that is crazed with preparations being made for my kids, getting them ready to start another school year. It is also time for me to get ready for another year of school, although knowing I am entering the second half of my master's program helps me see the light at the end of the tunnel. The studio residency class was held in August and in some ways I never stopped going to school in 2009. I just finished writing a paper that was a personal review of all I have accomplished the past year as well as what my goals are for the coming year. Starting with my next piece, I want to work on a larger scale doing encaustic image transfers. I feel like I have discovered a hidden treasure with this medium and I am enjoying the way each piece is taking me on a journey... it seems to be all about color. I have hesitated to invest in the pigmented wax paints (huge expense) but as I have more faith in my ability to use the medium, I can see there will be a need for me to develop more of the landscape colors I use in my palette. I won't have time to start this next work for about another week but I am excited knowing it's waiting to happen as soon as I have the time.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

catching up

Encaustic image transfer of "3 Buddhas", I am still attached to this card and not ready to trade it. I took the photo when I was in Salem at an antique store and there where buddha statues everywhere. I made a few other cards from the photos I took, not ready to trade any of them yet!
The host for the Buddha swap usually gets a 'free' card from the swap participants; she had indicated to me that this was her favorite.

These 3 cards were my picks for the group ATC swap, all encaustic image transfers

I have to admit, being in a 6 day studio residency was exhausting, even for 'high energy' me. The day it ended, my 2 older children came back in town and I had to immediately switch gears. I have barely had time to think about the class or the paper I have to write. Hopefully tomorrow morning I start.

Today I did pick and send 3 buddha cards I had made for a group Artist Trading Card swap - the ATCsforALL website always has group swaps and I was lucky enough to get in this swap, the theme is "Show Us Your Buddha" (and I so love my buddhas!)

I made an assortment of cards, picked the 3 I thought would be a cohesive unit for the swap, and now I am planning on trading the remaining cards in 1/1 trades on the same website.

After my paper is written I will be ready to do my first 18 x 24 encaustic image transfer, I just cant get started until I clear up some of the loose ends that interfere with my process.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

2nd half of studio residency

"Geisha Robin-san", exploring a "secret self"
Our assignment was to find an archetype that we felt connected to, then to dress in costume and become that personality for a photo shoot.

"The Shadow", exploring another secret self
We were then told to choose a second secret self and to engage in some sort of dialogue between the two personalities. The concept of "shadow"was explained by Carl Jung and it refers to archetypes that we repress and then identifying them.

Encaustic collage painting
This work was an extension of my curiosity with encaustic painting combined with my fear in painting figures, something I no longer fear!

work in progress, watercolor painting of the path to Sanctuary Pond, bird sanctuary on Marblehead Neck

After spending 4 days painting with wax, becoming a geisha, and exploring new subject matter in my art, I also craved the opportunity to start a new watercolor landscape. I will finish this in my studio but the fact is for me, painting landscapes and creating serenity and balance in my work will always be my happy place.

It's always an interesting process when you are put in a creative environment, are nurtured to the max, and then are left alone to explore and express yourself. Today is the last day of the studio residency and we will be holding a reception for each other, sharing what we explored all week, and hopefully we will be inspired to continue tapping into our inner, secret self's.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

6 day studio residency

After day 2, I finished both works, each is a 6 x 6 panel. The original photo is on the right, the encaustic painting is on the left.

After day 1, images are transfered into wax medium and ready for the addition of pigmented wax.

I finally had the time to work on more image transfers; I am in the middle of a 6 day studio residency (part of my school program) and our focus is on making art this week. I had taken photos from a walk through the bird sanctuary near my house recently knowing I would use the photos for encaustic image transfers but what I didn't know was that I would want to incorporate shades of green rather than sticking with black, brown, and white to add depth to these encaustic paintings.

Being in a class that has our focus on discovering ourselves, our 'secret selves' can be liberating as well as enlightening. I am always trying to be aware of my self and for the most part I am pretty transparent... there are no big secret personas hiding inside me.

Besides making art, we are doing self reflection and planning goals for the next year in this program. I never thought a year ago I would be so excited and focused on encaustics, it makes me wonder what I will be doing a year from now. There could be some kind of book inside me, waiting to be written (and illustrated) but it's too soon for me to know.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Back from New York

"Upstream", 24 x 18

"Mt. Huangshan", 38 x 30

"Bamboo", 24 x 20

"Golden Lotus", 38 x 30

Yesterday I brought 4 of my paintings to MARQUIS ARTS LTD. in New York City. I 'fell' into this opportunity when I was visiting family in the city 10 days ago. The paintings I brought will be hanging and seen in a new venue for me, a gallery that features mostly antique and classical works... until now. My watercolors are a contemporary addition that opens an entirely new customer base for the gallery. The gallery will get the standard 50% commission if they sell my work and I feel they will earn it by allowing my paintings to hang in their prime gallery wall space; in my opinion, that's why galleries are entitled to their portion of a sale. I will check in with them if I don't hear anything in about a month to see if there has been any interest in my work and will hope good karma stays with me!