Sunday, November 30, 2014

Reconnecting with Heart and Soul

"Holding Me"
26" x 19"
encaustic on Rives heavyweight

"Rifts From Within"
19" x 26"
encaustic on Rives lightweight

"Smell the Roses"
19" x 26"
encaustic on Rives heavyweight

Encaustic painting has consumed most of my creative energy for the past 5 years. My focus has been on developing a technique using image transfers fused into wax medium, enhanced with pigments and oil pastels, and learning how to master this technique. I found immediate success with the process, and have been developing a body of work with current inspiration coming from new and varied places; the city of Chicago, surrounding public and private gardens, and the lake. Shortly after I arrived in Chicago, I found an amazing gallery to represent my work, Chicago Art Source, and continue to exhibit in national juried shows, competitions, and art fairs. The gallery manager asked for larger cityscape pieces and I have spent a good portion of the year creating them. 

This past July I learned about a new process, encaustic monotypes. Immediately, I felt a connection to working on paper, using encaustic paint and layering, very similar to how I work when I am building a painting with watercolor washes. Back when watercolor was the only medium I focused on, I learned from Jeanne Carbonetti to let the paint flow, and to respond to it rather than trying to force or control it. Her teaching methods were introduced to me when I read her book, The Tao of Watercolor, and later when I went to meet her in a private 3 day workshop at her home studio in Chester, VT. My artistic path also led to reading Art as a Way of Knowing by Pat Allen, and Trust the Process by Shaun McNiff. All of these books helped to understand that for me, there are two kinds of art; the art I sell, and the art that is created to explore inner feelings, meditations, and deeper understanding. Sometimes the work can do both, but not always. 

Creating encaustic monotypes brings me back to the root of my own creative processes, to not just think with that inner critic looking over my shoulder asking "what is the most salable art to make". The purist form of creativity is the art that allows you to find your soul and comes from the heart.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Mini Works

I continue to work off of photos I took when I was recently at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. I plan on going back each season but for now autumn remains my focus and inspiration. All of these are 2.5" x 3.5", mixed media encaustic on 300 lb. Arches paper.

"House on Water"


"Pathway to the Japanese Garden"

"Autumn Tree"

Sunday, November 16, 2014

This and that ...

New encaustic paintings, demos from the class I teach using image transfer techniques -

"Autumn Sky"
2.5" x 3.5"

2.5" x 3.5"

Also, I decided to add a shellac burn to tint each of these older paintings (and made several other minor adjustments).

I removed the antelope in the foreground.

And I added color with oil pastels (below), combined with the shellac burn, to break up the massive greenery.

But the most important project I completed was organizing the details for my upcoming solo show. 22 pieces are framed and ready to hang. This week 2 other group holiday shows open, and the season is almost upon us. Where does the time go...

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Demonstration Painting

I always incorporate demonstration time when I am teaching encaustic painting. I think the best way to learn new techniques is by seeing them happen.

"Chicago Botanic Garden"
8" x 10" 
encaustic on board

I used slightly tinted wax medium to build up base layers, added the warm tones of yellow-orange into the medium, which allowed the transferred image to retain the glowing colors of burnt orange. I used a pointed tool to create tree textures and added oil pastel to highlight these markings. I know the trees are going to become bare and monochromatic soon, and was anxious to capture this autumn landscape one more time.