Sunday, June 13, 2010


The conference ended this afternoon, but I still have a post conference workshop on color mixing tomorrow, and another workshop on Wednesday. Today I left the conference confused and overwhelmed and unsure of what I am suppose to be doing with the wonderfully lush and alive encaustic medium. I looked around the "Best Foot Forward" show and as amazed as I was at all the different ways artists are using the encaustic paints, I felt a disconnect from the abstractions. Why didn't I feel emotion?

One of the talks I went to over the weekend was on imagery and it's meaning in art expressions and it made me start thinking my art was too simple and direct. My motivation in art expression is to paint a scene in nature, a place that will allow you feelings of serenity and balance. It's so simple, that is what I am inspired to do. I question if that is "deep" enough. Instead of dwelling on this, I will need to shift my focus to learning more about how to use the medium in ways that will let me do what I want to do when I start my next painting.

The biggest lesson learned (so far) is that I need to use a ground, or gesso, so that the wood board is white and light initially, and from there I will work on building depth in wax layers, and applying color with not just encaustic paint but using oil pastels, crayons, and even charcoal or pencil . I purchased something called "Holy Grail" from Evans Encaustics and I can hardly wait to do my next painting starting with a white, primed, birch cradled board.

Another talk I went to was probably the highlight of the entire conference for me. The theme was called "Wax Fetish" which threw me for a loop but it ended up being the talk that inspired me the most. Laura Tyler, producer of the movie "Sister Bee" was able to articulate the thing that has captivated me most about encaustics and painting with beeswax. She explained it as bringing the life and light of the bees and all of our existence into our art expressions by using the beeswax (encaustic) as a medium. It made me feel like I could understand better how being alive and our desire to create art using beeswax was an expression and transference of light. She explained it much better than this, and I am still sitting here trying to process it all. I probably shouldn't even be blogging so soon after the conference because there is too much jumbling my brain right now. Tomorrow will be the color mixing workshop with Hylla Evans, and I will enjoy the opportunity to be student for a day.


  1. HI Robin...loved your post, even though you feel confused...I thought what you had to say was very important. Loved your thoughts about bees and their wax and how it helps the artist share "the light" reinforces for me that we are all one...nature really brings that home. I hope you don't dwell on the issue of being "deep" where your intuition takes are a wonderful artist and your creations exude a wonderful feeling of groundedness and spirit...just be who you are because it's great. Can't wait to see more of your new work. p.s. Are people who never used encaustic allowed to attend the conference? I'd love to go next year.

  2. Terry, anyone can go to the conference and the talks and demos that are geared to beginners are marked clearly. The sign-ups open in January (unless it changes for next year) and you should definitely go if you have the interest! We are so fortunate to be local and to have the conference easily accessible.

    Thanks for the encouraging words about my style and art; It was overwhelming to be surrounded by so many experts when for me I am like a kindergardener trying to learn for the first time! I do feel better about my style and preference and purpose in the art world as of this morning and you may notice I changed my blog look. It's a new day with a fresh start.

  3. Exhaustion is a good thing when so much has been packed into such a short time. I think its a great idea to write about your thoughts right away. I've always found that by going over what I've learned instantly and writing it all down I remember more later. You can put clarity to your words later when you've had time to rest and organize your thoughts more concisely. I can't wait to see the work that comes from your adventures...


  4. Don, thank you for reconfirming for me why I blog. It's my journal and teaching method for myself (and others) to remember the details in my head before they get pushed to the side! It's become my favorite learning tool (blogging) as I am learning from the blogs I follow as well. :)