Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Back in the saddle again

Country Road, 6" x 6" encaustic

Weeping Willow, 6" x 6" encaustic

Fall is in the air, the watercolor class I teach begins on Thursday night, and I am finally making art for the sake of art (and my personal happiness). I hadn't picked up a brush since July and I had decided I wasn't going to force myself to paint, instead I just waited, patiently, until I was ready. Painting with wax is something I continue to practice which is why I wanted to work on several small works before I started something bigger. These small image transfers were like a warm-up for me and I used photographs I had taken when I was on vacation in Louisiana. I am also working on a larger encaustic painting of a dragonfly but until I finish it I hesitate to post the progress because there is always the very real possibility that I am going to ruin it! I am trying to learn how to use the torch rather than the heat gun, and paint free hand rather than using image transfers.

My lesson for the first watercolor class is always pretty basic. I make sure everyone has supplies and see what skill level each student is at, plus I am excited to start a fall landscape painting as my demo for the class. My other "behind the scenes" work has been ongoing, getting my booth inventory ready for Columbus Day weekend and submitting work for various fall shows.

Portrait show at Lynn Arts opens Saturday

This weekend is the opening reception for the Portrait Show at Lynn Arts, unfortunately I will have to miss it because I will be spending 8 hours taking the MTEL's (Massachusetts tests for Educator Licensure). I don't even know if I will be looking for a teaching job in the public school system but I decided to take the test (and I hate tests) because it's a requirement in order to get a license to teach in public schools in Massachusetts. Wish me Luck!


  1. A busy time for you; I wish you luck. Beautiful encaustics--I love willow trees. I like dangerous tools like blow torches so encaustics appeal to me. Before I keel over I have to try them--I imagine carving into wax and filling it with melted color. (I also imagine inhaling fumes and burning myself.)

  2. You are so funny! The blow torch I have is called an iwatawni - it has 2 different options for controlling the amount of heat and I highly recommend it. Carving into wax.. I find it sensuous and exciting with a touch of scientific formulating. I am slowly learning how heat makes a difference in every aspect of painting with the wax. The fumes are terrible, I know, so I open windows and sometimes use a fan (I should always use a fan). I don't think about burning myself as much as I think about burning down my house and I really need to get a fire extinguisher to keep on hand where I am working.

    My biggest challenge with encaustics has been that I am seeing and learning from artists I met at the conference I went to in June and the way I paint is almost too conservative for what the majority of encaustic painters are doing. I decided somewhere along the line to just do what I love and not worry about being "modern and abstract" enough but my inner critic is constantly challenging me. Glad you like willow tree, thank you.

  3. Nice job on both encaustics. Good to see you back at it. I like what you said to Hallie about just doing what you love and not worrying... Excellent sentiment. One every artist should follow.

    Good luck on the test. As meticulous you are with everything else, I anticipate you are quite prepared and will kick its butt first time out.


  4. Thanks, Don. I am trying not to think about the test I will be taking because it makes me tense, then I get nervous and insecure. Lots of people don't pass first time around... ughhhhhh!

  5. Robin, I really enjoy that your encaustics are more realistic. I think they are gorgeous. Your approach makes your work unique and different.
    I too hate taking tests, but I'm willing to wager you'll do great. It's just a test though- so it's there to be conquered again if you must.
    About a decade ago, I let my drivers license expire. I didn't realize it- and let it go for over 6 months. So I had to retake the written test. Since I had been driving for 20 years, I didn't study. Yep- I failed it. Had to take it again. Boy was I embarrassed. But who cares? I studied, retook it, still driving.
    Hate you will miss your portrait showing. Best of luck Robin! Your energy is contagious.

  6. Hi Robin, a real texture to those encaustics. I've used an iron to make a few designs that became more like experiments in imagination rather than realism. Good luck with the test.

    Thanks for that story Pamo, it made me smile. I've once taken a driving test, about 20 years ago. I failed after some (mysterious and unseen) other driver had to get out of my way. By passing twice you're twice as good as I'll ever be.

  7. Isn't it funny how some people absolutely do not test well while others are not even inhibited by taking them.

    Pam, thank you for letting me know you like the landscape styled encaustics - I think that I will always be drawn toward landscape painting. Mark, the reason I love painting with wax so much is because of all the textures and literal depth you can create within a painting. Glad to hear you have played with wax too (although I never use an iron) and both of your encouraging posts are appreciated.

  8. I really like both of these encaustics. You get such wonderful textures in these paintings.
    Good luck on your test!

  9. Thanks, Nancy. I teach tonight which is a good thing because that is now my focus. I would like to not think about the test anymore and just show up to do it Saturday (tomorrow hopefully I will be too tired to care).