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.

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