Sunday, July 29, 2012

Afterthoughts: Encaustic workshop at Castle Hill

I am still processing all of the things I discovered last week in Laura Moriarty's workshop and have now been inspired with new ways to create landscape elements using encaustic techniques. One of my goals is to break down a landscape composition into abstracted form.

Untitled, 8" x 8"encaustic on panel

layered, contoured, inlayed, and scraped. I still plan on burnishing some of the excavated areas in order to have a smoother, cleaner surface.
Leaving the stain of the pigment on the edges of the cradled panel (seen below) was more appealing to me than leaving the drips of wax over the edges.

We painted layers of flat and textured wax on a flat panel, then rolled and sliced in half. Laura invented this technique which she incorporates in many of her sculptural paintings.

these were created to be added into poured sculptural pieces.

After pouring layers of wax into a mold we could sculpt and burnish areas to expose various artifacts.

I prefer the green side up (above) as the top of the sculpture however it looks completely different if you flip over to the other side.

We had open studio time in the afternoon and I also experimented with rice paper, powdered charcoal, and the wax that was left on the griddle. These are just a few of the monotypes I created, each is 18" x 12". I may incorporate these into wax sculptures but I need more time to decide.

Then to top off an incredible art week, the last day of the workshop I received an email from the Copley Society informing me that my painting "Tempest" was the juror's choice 2nd place award in the upcoming Marine Art show

My head is still spinning!

"Tempest", 12" x 12" encaustic on panel

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Excavating Encaustic, workshop with Laura Moriarty

It's been enlightening for me to see new ways of using this incredibly addictive medium with much more to still cover in this week long workshop and I just wanted to share a few of these new encaustic techniques.

Excavating with layers, our first project:

We built up many layers of color in order to then "excavate" by using a variety of carving and printmaking tools. We cut and scraped and carved to expose different levels of layered wax. I also added lines of inlay in yellow and gray to make the pattern more interesting.

What is so different for me is not having a representational idea but rather to only focus on the qualities of the wax and the experience of simply exploring it.

Early stages of excavating -

There are only 4 of us in the workshop, seen below after the first day.

Tomorrow we will be using the "artifacts" that we created out of wax and I plan on posting once I learn and understand this next technique.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Yesterday I offered a small, 3-person watercolor workshop in my home. Two of the three students had participated in past workshops and we focused primarily on contouring with color, specifically sky. I used a photo from last week's storm for a demo and had time to finish painting this morning.

"Storm Over Boston", 18" x 24" watercolor

student works -

We enjoyed a short lunch break in the sun on the back deck and the day flew by. I am not usually in my home when I am teaching and it was a pleasure having the computer to access visual examples plus I had my own finished works for specific technique references.

The next watercolor workshop I am scheduled to teach will be in the fall at Montserrat College of Art. The class schedule is available on their website.

My big event of the summer starts tomorrow morning when I am driving to Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill. Laura Moriarty, artist and gallery director at R&F paints, is teaching a 5-day encaustic workshop and I am looking forward to learning more about the medium. Being a student in her class will also allow me to be a better teacher for my own workshops. I hope to share my progress and workshop updates throughout the week.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Art Business

I decided to use my most recent encaustic painting in the advertisement I placed in the Paradise City Fall show magazine and guide. I was concerned that the painting is small although decided that makes these works even more appealing. My booth will feature all landscape paintings, both watercolor and encaustic mediums, large and small. Hopefully the small works will be very salable because of the lower price point. I have sold an assortment of pieces this summer in both the Copley Society small works show as well as at the Gallery Della-Piana show.

The week following the Paradise City show looks like I will be having a solo show in a new, local art gallery and studio. I will also be offering an encaustic workshop in their studio space however details are still being tweaked. I should have more to share in the next few days.

Saturday I am hosting a watercolor workshop here at home and I think I will start with a sky demo, inspired by the mind-blowing storms I have witnessed all afternoon and continuing to happen at this very moment.

Storm rolling in this afternoon over the ocean...

there was a lull in the stormy weather, and I was able to take a long walk before the next batch of storms arrived.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer Inspiration

It felt good to get lost in the process this week. Making linear marks etched into wax felt more like sculpting at times and maybe it was.

"Goldenrod Meadow", 6" x 6" 

"Black Eyed Susans", 5" x 7"

I also made time to frame the new 6" x 6" landscapes by recycling floater frames I already had.

And I made duplicate, smaller versions of the Lupine Sunset and Purple Loosestrife.

Also framed the Pond in Vermont and Koi Pond.

All in all, it was a creative, busy, productive encaustic art week as I am working on having plenty of new things for the last Paradise City show I am participating in this October. Next, I will be gearing up and planning for the watercolor workshop I am teaching July 21 in my home studio.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Koi Pond

I have been looking forward to painting an encaustic version of the Koi pond I saw when I was in Chicago 2 weeks ago. It was challenging getting the small lily details to scale; seems my brushes have been over-waxed and I will need to replace them soon. I also have to wear those drug store magnifying glasses in order to see clearly when I work this small. I am going to ask my eye doctor about prescription bifocals stronger than the ones I already have. Getting older definitely is not for wimps.

The other small work I managed to complete was inspired by the pond behind the Henry Farm Inn, Chester, Vermont. Chester is where I first met Jeanne Carbonetti, a watercolor artist who introduced me to the world of painting without rules!

Years ago I painted a watercolor version of the pond and sold it the first time it was in a show.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Purple Loosestrife

"Purple loosestrife is a very hardy perennial which can rapidly degrade wetlands, diminishing their value for wildlife habitat".

I was intrigued with the angle and composition of the purple flowers surrounding this local pond and thought it would make for an interesting landscape painting. I decided to do some research to learn more about the flowers and quickly realized it is like an invasive weed, the flower is called Purple Loosestrife.

I took this photo several years ago and used it for a demo painting during one of the workshops I was teaching. I was not pleased with the outcome of the painting and put it away, hidden in my paper file.

Over the weekend I pulled out a variety of photographs to use for small encaustic paintings and I decided to re-use this same photo hoping I would be happier with the outcome. I also decided to re-work the watercolor I had done, using black ink to exaggerate the design of the composition that I found so interesting when I first photographed the pond.

"Ware Pond", 18" x 24" watercolor and ink

Below is my encaustic version of the same pond. Now I actually like my re-worked watercolor better than the new encaustic version. Maybe in a few years I will feel like reworking the encaustic (but I doubt it!)

"Purple Loosestrife", 6" x 6" encaustic on panel

Sunday, July 8, 2012


I started several small encaustic paintings this morning, inspired by wildflowers this time of year, but had to stop mid afternoon in order to attend a reception for the local art association. I did manage to finish one piece before I went out.

"Lupine Sunset", 6" x 6" encaustic

I will have more new work to post this week. Recent motivation has come from taking a short break, enjoying the outdoors, and feeling refreshed. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012


It's been educational to say the least, re-aquainting myself with the city and studio space, teaching and exhibiting opportunities, learning about apartment availability and costs, all in preparation for my move back to Chicago next year. At this point there is little else to do until March 2013 when I can actually sign a lease. The Amdur Art festivals seem to be the closest show opportunity comparable to the Paradise City Fine Art festival, something I have been doing for the past 6 years. And visiting the Evanston Art Center was just the tip of the ice berg in terms of teaching opportunities.

There will be so much to do, rebuilding a life in a new part of the country. Staying focused on one step at a time without freaking out has been my immediate priority! 

Yesterday I walked through Lincoln Park and despite high humidity and heat it felt great to be back home. I took pictures along the way, the organic farmers market held every Saturday morning was a highlight.

 Yoga class (above) being held next to the farmers market.



Past the farmers market heading north is the zoo and then my favorite, The Conservatory.

Yes, I do love the lily and koi pond


I know what I will be painting when I arrive home this week. I am looking forward to getting lost in the creative process, my happiest place to be.