Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tuscan landscape

Another 12" x 12" encaustic completed, "Springtime in Tuscany", and this painting had already been played out in my mind as well as on watercolor paper several months ago. I knew exactly how I wanted the geometry of the composition to work. I was most focused on the clouds and sky, which had similar qualities to painting waves and ocean. It's interesting to me how one art process always ties into another.

The next several days will be hectic around here but once I have time to get back into the studio I plan on using a large 18" x 24" panel for my next ocean painting. I am still bouncing back and forth between these two styles of painting with wax, and will continue to do so as long as the inspiration continues with both.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wildflowers in Tuscany

When I was traveling through Tuscany, a few of my favorite photos were taken when we got lost on a country road on our way to Cortona. I only had my phone camera handy and I decided to use the low resolution photo as a transfer, knowing I would enhance details with paint. 

"Wildflowers", 20" x 16" encaustic image transfer

This painting is the 4th encaustic image transfer inspired by my recent visit to Tuscany. I will be starting the 5th as soon as my order from Dick Blick is delivered, I ran out of encaustic medium! 
Photo I plan on using:

My other Tuscan inspired encaustic image transfers can be seen below.

"Wisteria Canopy", 16" x 20"

"Red Geraniums", 12" x 12"

"Shadows in Tuscany", 16" x 20"

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Fresh Eyes

It happened again! I worked on an encaustic painting for most of yesterday, thought the work was complete. Obsessive me strikes again (*note to self - when I continue obsessing over a painting through the night it usually means there is something wrong with it) and this morning I had to make some adjustments to the colors in the waves. I woke up with fresh eyes and knew exactly what needed to be changed.

"Tumbling Tide", 12" x 12" encaustic painting

This is how my painting looked at the end of yesterday -

I have definitely been focused on encaustic paintings and image transfers this summer. It feels like I am doing 2 completely different things using the same medium. I have been trying to decide if one way is better, or should I write, requires more skill, than the other. Should I be developing my free-hand painting skills over encaustic image transfer skills? Do you consider one technique more of an art form than the other? these are just a few of the questions I have been asking myself lately. I know it's not always good to have to define one's art, (but for reasons I am not ready to share at this time), I need to define where I am at with encaustic art and I need to choose one use vs. the other. Which would you pick? why? any input would be truly appreciated!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Finalizing details

Late yesterday I posted my newest work, and I knew I would have to look at the painting with fresh eyes in the morning. Of course I decided to make changes, too much of the photograph was showing and there was not enough textured wax. I also made several small repairs and I am now ready to call this a finished work.

"Sunday on Snow Street", final version

"Sunday on Snow Street" (below), as it appeared at the end of yesterday. Which version do you prefer?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sunday on Snow Street

Being on vacation made me realize how important my art is to me on an almost daily basis. I never had time to take out the pastels I brought with me, and I could not wait to begin several new projects once I arrived home. Immediately I wanted to work on a gift for my brother and his wife. Their painting is only 8" x 8" which made it come together quickly, plus I knew exactly how I wanted to work this.

"Sunday on Snow Street", 8" x 8" encaustic image transfer

I will look at it again in the morning and make sure I don't want to add additional details. Then I will proceed with preparing the 16" x 20" wood panel I still have, it's time for me to do another ocean painting. I don't have any other large panels here and my next order will be 18" x 24" size from the Dick Blick website. I set goals for myself and working larger with wax medium is on the top of the list.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Vacation inspiration

I will be back home later today and already I am looking forward to my next painting(s). One of the photographs I took of my brother's home in Michigan will be used for an encaustic image transfer, a house warming gift that is long over due.

My focus will be on the lines and angles of the fence softened by the surrounding flowers and bushes. I like the uphill view in this composition and that it is not an obvious "head-on" house portrait.

And my ongoing project continues, The Water Life Series. I am ready to use the 18" x 24" wood panel that's been collecting dust in my studio.

Recently I updated my artist statement and because of this, I am now able to easily identify and focus on creating motion, reflecting the energy of the water landscape with the encaustic medium. The logical progression of this series is to work larger. Isn't it great when you go on vacation and come back re-charged and excited to work?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Listening to my instincts

"Tempest", encaustic painting, 12" x 12" 

The ocean has been talking to me lately. And my encaustic paints are begging me to paint seascapes, so the Water Life Series (thank you to Casey Klahn for naming the series) continues. I learned a valuable lesson with this piece.

I had several photographs from my most recent beach outing and wanted to recapture fluid motion, something I believe the encaustic medium lends itself to doing when properly fused. Yesterday I spent way too much time looking at the photographs trying to re-create details and ended up with a stagnant interpretation. I felt like I was forcing the paint because I was caught up in controlling the pigments and for me that is never a good thing. Luckily, I had recently revised my artist statement and during the night I reminded myself why I paint...

My current artist statement:

"Landscape painting allows me to experience the flow of nature. I create fluid, organic shapes by trusting the creative process rather than forcing it and I respond to where the paint naturally flows. I build a greater sense of depth with each layer of new color and the result is a dynamic, three-dimensional artwork.

There is an essential connection between seeing and capturing the composition through a camera lens, then re-interpreting it as visual art. I translate nature using primitive form combined with pure color and then add composition details enhanced with pigment. My use of colorful, impressionistic brushstrokes leads to comprehending a greater reality within each of my paintings.

My newest body of work consists of encaustic painting focused on the ocean and sky. I feel the medium lends itself to the movement of the water. Creating transparent layers with wax captures the depth of the sea. Fusing color variations with heat allows for a permanent, charismatic interpretation of nature’s beauty.  I love painting with wax!"

So after a sleepless night (talk about obsessing) I woke up this morning and decided to make changes, my primary motivation was to create flow and muted color in order to capture the mood of "Tempest". 

This is how my wood panel appeared after adding the first 3 layers of clear medium, and a fourth layer with shades of blue.

Additional pigmented wax (above), combined with more layers of medium and the introduction of yellow tints in the sky.

I wanted to create a storm sky, the reason for the yellow, and the motion of waves crashing in the foreground.

Last night I thought this painting was complete (above) but during my sleepless obsessing, I decided the colors were disturbing, and the waves felt too contrived.

This morning I could hardly wait to mute the colors and create greater depth with wax medium. I added additional layers of pigment with the end result (first image posted) providing a more subtle, organic storm approaching... Tempest. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Swept Away

"Swept Away", 11" x 14" encaustic painting

Below is a photograph I took on July 4th when I was at the beach, I knew it would inspire me with my next encaustic painting.

The lazy days of summer have arrived. No schedules, lots of sun and surf, and I have come to realize I am in the midst of creating a new series of encaustic paintings. I have been observing the tides since last winter but now I am able to notice so many different hues of color.

My goal will be to work on a slightly larger scale, I already have 12" x 12" and 18" x 24" panels. Once I use those I will consider ordering a 22" x 30" panel (the same size I am comfortable using with watercolor) but I need to ease my way into this. I also realize that I am going to need to order much larger quantities of wax medium!

Below are some of my other encaustic paintings that could work in this new series, I am not sure what to call it (have any suggestions?) but for now I am thinking "Sea and Sky".

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Exciting News!

Last fall I had heard that the Ampersand Company was offering free samples of their newest product for encaustic painters, Encausticbord. I decided to visit the website and sure enough I read that if you sent an email request for free samples, they would send several small sample sized boards, free of charge. When is anything ever free, right? Well, within a week's time I received my samples along with a letter from Andrea, the Ampersand customer service rep. She said if I wanted to share with her via email what I used the encausticbord for, there might be a chance Dick Blick would want to use the artwork in one of their promotional catalogs. That was nine months ago.

The image I had sent - "Spring Pathway", 3.5" x 2.5", encaustic image transfer

Two days ago I received an email from Andrea, and to quote her,

"Hi Robin, I have some very good news! This lovely image that you emailed us last year has been selected by Dick Blick to be featured in their Holiday '11 sales flyer".

I have to say that I had completely forgotten about ever submitting a sample to her and the fact that they are using one of my paintings, (they are also compensating me financially), combined with the publicity of my name and website below the image in the catalog, has me thinking I could not have even paid for better publicity than this. After the holiday weekend I will be free during most of July and I am definitely inspired to continue exploring encaustics. Of course, I will be painting on Ampersand's encausticbords.

Friday, July 1, 2011

"Plein Air" painting at the beach

I spent the day at the beach, set up with my beach umbrella, camping stove burner, torch, encaustic paints, and beautiful surroundings. It was overwhelming at first, trying to figure out the correct heat settings on the stove, making sure that the wax was not too hot. Fusing with my torch was also a challenge because I could not see how strong the flame was and I needed to control it in order to not over heat the wax. Did I mention it was a bright sunny blue sky morning followed by clouds mid day that were chased off by more blue sky in the afternoon?

I already can see the things I want to change in my painting (as soon as I can bring it home after the art festival is over). I had to submit my work by 5pm this afternoon and often I need a few days before I can accurately see the corrections that need to be made in order to make a painting successful. In the meantime, it is part of the "Painting the Town" exhibit at the Marblehead Festival of Arts this weekend.

"High Tide at Devereux Beach", 8" x 8", pigmented wax, sand, rocks

Here I am painting at the beach; notice the sky in the first image, and how it's changed minutes later in the second image.

And last night was the award ceremony...

Happy 4th of July, everyone!