Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Year of the Full Moon, the book

I am now offering the Full Moon Series of watercolor paintings in paperback 8.5" x 11" book form.

The Full Moon series is a year long interpretation of the visual effects of the lunar cycle. Each painting represents my dream-like rendition of the seasonal landscape and captures the mystical nature of the moon. I have also included several poems along with a brief description of the Native American inspiration behind each of the paintings.

The cost is $36 plus $7 shipping, available anywhere in the U.S. Once your order is placed it will take approximately 10 days before your book will be received.

You can purchase by clicking on the link - paypal 
and/or preview the book - here  

Additional inquiries, questions, or concerns can be sent directly to my email here.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Earth's Energy and the beginning of a New Series

a :  a large number of animate or inanimate things massed together and usually in motion :  throng <swarms of sightseers> swarm
of locusts> swarm of meteors>

b :  a number of similar geological features or phenomena close together in space or time swarm
of dikes> swarm>

“We think the natural world has a lot to teach us about efficiency,” said Kerbel. “And bees and other swarming animals are among nature’s best examples of teamwork and efficiency. Our technology injects swarm theory into a grid that has historically been simple and manual, and makes it intelligent and automatic.”

* From the Environmental Defense fund website - www.edf.org/energy/innovation/demand-management-innovation

Classes have kept me away from blogging regularly, and now that the fall sessions are coming to an end I have time to share the new direction my work has taken; thinking about the landscape, earth, and the energy sources that nature provides. In a way, the Swarm Series reminds me of my Full Moon Series as both series interpret energy in the natural world. The moons were painted using watercolor, and spatters of color to create energy radiating from the full moon. I was interviewed by a local reporter when I was in the midst of the full moon series and he wrote an article that best described my artistic direction. A favorite quote from the article:

"Painting, Samiljan learned, was less about recreating what it is she saw, but is, in fact, more about transferring energy. Accessibility, then, becomes contingent on each specific viewer's impression. There's something in her paintings she hopes appeals to a wide audience, she says." The entire article is available here - Full Moon Fever

Swarms of color using encaustic medium and pigments, pouring layers of wax to create a greater visual depth of energetic brush strokes, are a similar interpretation with these new encaustic paintings but this time energy is not celestial, it's earthly. I look forward to sharing more new work as the series develops.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Catch up when you can!

Teaching three weekly classes, introducing new techniques each week, and completing demonstration paintings for each class has taken a toll on my studio time. I have also organized works to be included in upcoming holiday shows, can you believe it's that time of year? and have been working toward moving in a new direction and new series; personal goals are now set. I will share results here but for now I am posting a few new favorite demo paintings from weekly classes.

"Exploring the Universe", colors of Autumn
45" x 18" 
encaustic monotype on Kozo

"Falling Leaves"
18" x 12"
encaustic monotype on Kozo

"Swept Away 1"
10" x 8"
encaustic and shellac on board

"Swept Away 2"
10" x 8"
encaustic and shellac on board

And this last piece was created by pouring top layers of wax rather than painting it onto the panel.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Indian Summer

12" x 12" mixed media on cradled panel

12" x 12" mixed media on cradled panel

6" x 6" mixed media on cradled panel

Several weeks ago fall classes resumed and I am teaching encaustic painting in 2 locations (The Evanston Art Center and the North Shore Art League). Making time to create new work remains a priority each week. I have always used demo paintings as a tool to teach techniques. I work at home to complete demos started in class then bring them back to discuss how each piece was completed, this process usually involves some problem solving.

We have also worked with shellac burns and transfer foils...

and worked on building textures in wax.

The next few classes will cover drawing with wax using tjanting tools, mixing inks with wax, embedding objects, and encaustic monotypes.

My personal goal is to develop a new body of larger work that encompasses abstract landscapes defined with textures and colorful layers of wax... there aren't enough hours in the day.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Classes resume

It's hard to believe that September is just around the corner. Where did the summer go? Next week I resume teaching workshops and weekly encaustic classes starting with a one night workshop at the Evanston Art Center on August 26. I am also teaching at the North Shore Art League with a one day workshop on September 26. Details for all classes and workshops are available on the websites.

In between my art festival participation, I was able to complete a variety of new works inspired by every day life, the things I see, the places I go.... from the hustle and bustle of city life, to low key farmers markets. I love it all!

LaSalle Street
40" x 30" mixed media on wood panel

12" x 12" mixed media on wood panel

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Good Earth

August is my month to take a break... but also a time to find new inspiration, create new work, and prepare for teaching upcoming workshops and weekly classes in the fall.

Summer art festivals are only a small part of what I do. What I love about the festivals is the opportunity to be up front and first hand with patrons, engage and educate people interested in what they see, to sell work to people that "fall in love"... and that does happen! I have had three excellent show experiences to date and my last festival is in September, right around the corner in my neighborhood, the Lakeview East Festival of Arts.

Last weekend I was in Michigan in an area that is known for it's vineyards and farming. The piece completed below was inspired by the vineyards in Baroda, MI.

12" x 12" 
mixed media encaustic on cradled panel

Before I left for Michigan I started a large cityscape, it's 40" x 30" and had been taking up most of my energy. The time off, painting something organic, was a much needed break but my goal is to complete this before my last festival exhibition. I will be fusing the wax, etching details, adding color and highlights with oil pastels, and probably lightening up some of the buildings. It helps stepping away and coming back with fresh eyes.

"LaSalle Street"
work in progress

My last bit of news is that a very special painting of mine, "Under the Chuppah" was accepted into the “Real People 2015” Northwest Area Arts Council National Show, opening August 6 - September 27 in Woodstock, IL.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Summer show season continues...

... and I have not had the time to focus on new work, but ideas keep swirling around in my head!

Wells Street Art Festival

After the Wells Street Art Festival I was excited, stimulated, and plan on creating more oversized paintings. One of the paintings sold was the largest piece I brought to the show, 30" x 40" (seen hanging on the top left side of my booth); a special piece that had been included in the Evansville Museum of Art show last fall. Walking around the city of Chicago has me taking photos on a regular basis and I already have several photos I plan on using in new works:

Crossing the Chicago River on LaSalle Street, water taxis

LaSalle Street, looking South toward the Board of Trade

more from LaSalle Street looking South

Crossing the Chicago River looking West, I love the clouds (Marina City on the right)

On Wacker Drive, looking North East toward the Wrigley building and Lake Michigan

My plan is to continue working large, I have already purchased more 30" x 40" encausticbords, and my goal is to have at least one new piece ready for my September show.

I will have time to paint in August, but right now I am preparing for a big 4th of July show at the Chicago Botanic Garden. All artists participating are required to exhibit botanic inspired theme, materials, or usage.

I will be exhibiting both watercolor and encaustic land inspired paintings, and look forward to showing some of my favorite award winning pieces. If you are local and decide to visit, I will be in booth #62.7, hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Love ... and other things

"Under the Chuppah"
14" x 11" mixed media encaustic

Clearly, my creative inspiration comes from events in life that I see and feel. My son was married in April and since then I have been inspired to re-create artistic vignettes from the wedding weekend, somewhat unusual since landscape is my usual passion. This is the second painting (you can see my bridesmaids painting here) inspired by their wedding with focus not just on the bride and groom, but on the incredible floral canopy hung directly above them. The word chuppah is a hebrew word that means covering or protection, and is intended as a roof or covering for the bride and groom at their wedding. The chuppah symbolizes the new home that the couple will create. 

Because my focus now has to shift toward upcoming art festivals, creating new work is temporarily on hold. I have been making minor adjustments to some of my older works, below is one of the larger 30" x 30" cityscapes that will be highlighted in my first show next weekend, the Wells Street Art Festival. I just added more flowers to the right side flower boxes, light greens to the shrubs and trees, and also added color to the street signs. The older version is below the updated version.

"Approaching Michigan Ave."
30" x 30" mixed media encaustic

In my booth I will also be highlighting other large cityscapes, mixed media landscapes, and miniatures. If you are local be sure not to miss this incredible show.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Summer Festivals on the Horizon

My first art festival is less than a month away and this is the time when I stop making new works and focus on presentation (framing and wiring), pricing, and determine what will be going to each show. I have to admit, I have had a productive year with lots of choices; I must narrow down what to bring!

First show, Wells Street Art Festival, will be featuring mixed media encaustic paintings. I submitted cityscape image transfers but my newest work is more organic and loose. I have been using lots of shellac burns and transfer foils, incorporating a variety of techniques (many of my paintings originate as demonstrations from the classes I teach). 

10" x 8" encaustic on panel

This piece allowed me to sculpt with wax, add metallic transfer foils, and draw using the tjanting tool.

The hardest part of preparing for the festival will be narrowing down which work to hang, and reminding myself to focus on a cohesive body of work.

Thursday, May 7, 2015


12" x 12" encaustic mixed media on cradled birch panel

 A few weeks ago I went to Texas and watched my son get married to the love of his life. I also had the chance to meet some of the bridesmaids and groomsmen, close friends of my daughter-in-law and son. I found it difficult to not translate the weekend experience into art, and this is the first painting of what may become a new series. 

I have also been busy completing demonstration paintings from my weekly encaustic classes at the North Shore Art League and wanted to share a demo of an older work that was used as the base for something new.

At the time I created the piece below, I was focused on cave paintings and building multiple layers of wax. I decided to use this as the background and re-worked it by etching a drawing into the wax with a pointed tool, then added a shellac burn along with transfer foils. I had the most fun when I scraped away the top layers of shellac and wax, exposing the many layers that were below the surface. 

I have been using foil transfer papers and gold leaf often, but it's a challenge trying to photograph and capture the glisten of the metallics.

"Masked with Age"
12" x 12" mixed media encaustic on cradled birch panel

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Mixing Media, Shellac and Encaustic

The Spring session has begun at the North Shore Art League and I am teaching encaustic painting twice a week. Both classes are full and I am starting to feel like I am finally finding my niche since moving to the midwest (Chicago)... and it's only taken 2 years!

One of my students had taken a semi-private workshop with me over the winter and was anxious to use a shellac burn in her encaustic painting. Ever since demonstrating the technique, I have been incorporating shellac, reviving older paintings, using this technique.

12" x 12" mixed media on panel

I decided to cover an older work (below) with a light cream toned encaustic paint, knowing the red would bleed through the top layer once fused. I also etched into the wax with a sharp pointed tool the figure of the Buddha, and kept the shellac away from the drawn figure. Once the burn was complete, I added details using transfer foil and oil pastels.

The older piece was part of a series of cave inspired works that were influenced by the Lascaux Cave Paintings. The new work (above) has no connection to the old other than it maintains a primitive feel.

Recently I sold one of my larger cave inspired works that had also been transformed with a similar technique using the shellac burn. 

"Deer and Buffalo Roaming"
24" x 24" mixed media on panel

I plan on reviving more older work using shellac this afternoon as my demo for class. I will be connecting subject and style to Buddha, and to a series of works I have titled "Sacred Spaces".

Sunday, April 5, 2015


The literal Japanese translation of "geisha" is "person of art". Recently I have been revisiting favorite Haiku Masters, Japanese woodcuts, and my love of Asian Art. Years ago I had studied and painted Geishas with watercolor, I used my paintings as transfers into wax in these new miniature works on paper. Each is 2.5" x 3.5" mixed media encaustic. I will be floating and mounting these in a triptych shadowbox frame.

I have been on break from teaching this past week and Friday resume weekly encaustic classes at the North Shore Art League. I am scheduled to teach both Friday and Sunday afternoons. The classes are great for beginners to advanced, we cover a variety of techniques and share in weekly group critiques. For more information visit - NSAL 

Sunday, March 29, 2015


11" x 14" mixed media on panel

Below is the older version of "Wavy", above is the reworked final version. Most notable change: shades of blue, the addition of a shellac burn, and linear textures. I wanted to create a more impressionistic, recognizable seascape.

I decided to share with my weekly encaustic class at NSAL how a painting can be reworked, and reborn. The first original version was part of a seascape series from 2011, my initial intention was to lean toward abstraction rather than impressionism. For the sake of the class demo, I decided to incorporate several techniques we had used to transform this.

We shared ideas on how to recycle works in new ways. I am creating a one of a kind art book using some of my favorite poems combined with original monotypes that were "extras". I have always found inspiration when combining poems with visual art... something I did exclusively in my Landscape to Lotus Series.

As I was putting together the book I decided to cut up some of the monotype images to create various collages. The book is still a work in progress but I do have a photo sample to share -

And I am sharing the poem I have coupled with this image. As the book progresses and is completed, I will share more.

Tide Rises the Tide Falls
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The tide rises, the tide falls,
The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;
Along the sea-sands damp and brown
The traveller hastens toward the town,
  And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Darkness settles on roofs and walls,
But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls;
The little waves, with their soft, white hands,
Efface the footprints in the sands,
  And the tide rises, the tide falls.

The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls
Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls;
The day returns, but nevermore
Returns the traveller to the shore,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Flowering Creativity

10" x 8" mixed media on cradled panel

8" x 10" mixed media on cradled panel

Each week I teach an encaustic painting class at the North Shore Art League. The class size is kept small (mainly because of electrical requirements; griddles and heat guns are essential for each student) and we have been able to cover a wide range of techniques. I feel fortunate that the women in my class are self motivated, wildly creative, and supportive.

Above are two of my recent demonstration paintings from the class. "Orchids" was created from a photo I took at the Botanic Garden Orchid show that just ended. After successfully fusing the photo into wax medium, I added depth, dimension, and details with pigments and oil pastel. This is one of my favorite techniques, allowing me to create a three-dimensional environment that if successful, brings you into another space, a place where you can practically reach out and touch your surroundings.

"Lotus" was created from what started as a simple monotype. I used Kozo (Japanese calligraphy paper) and drew with wax on an anodized aluminum plate, pressed the paper and transferred the drawing with a bamboo baren. I decided to mount the drawing onto a cradled wood panel, then added linear wax details to flowers using a tjanting tool. Once the paper was mounted and secure, I was able to add more pigmented wax, scrape and define details, and highlight with oil pastels without worrying about the fragility of the paper. This particular painting covered a wide range of encaustic techniques, and was the first time I mounted Kozo on wood panel. My monotypes are often framed under glass, treated similarly in presentation to watercolor.

I also love working in a scroll format, working in this shape and size is newer to me. "Undun" is the longest scroll I have done to date; important to me is that the color flows from top to bottom. I am probably going to shorten it to six feet (72" in height) once I attach the scroll hanger, I will hang this with a plain black rod, top and bottom, to weight it down.

78" x 11" encaustic monotype on Kozo

Painting with the encaustic medium is one of the most versatile mediums I have worked with and I continue to be amazed at the different ways artists explore and create with wax.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Summer Thoughts

Today in Chicago the high temperature is predicted to teeter between 0 to 5 degrees F. Wind chills are predicted to be around 30 below F tonight! This frigid weather spell has guided my inspiration into mild summer breezes and wonderfully meditative places from my past.

"Rangeley Lake"
8" x 8" mixed media encaustic on panel

8" x 10" mixed media encaustic on panel

This month is the much awaited release of "Embracing Encaustic, Learning to Paint with Beeswax", the 3rd edition ebook, offering simplified and helpful ways of how to paint with this incredibly seductive medium. I am excited to share that I am one of the 35 artists featured in the book's Inspiration Gallery section.

My painting in the book is another favorite summer escape.

"Sunday on Snow Street"
8" x 8" mixed media encaustic on panel

Partial screen shot from e-book 

All of these encaustic paintings start with a photograph I have taken from places I have visited. The photo is then burnished and fused into layers of wax medium. I add depth, texture, and pigments with encaustic paint, oil pastels, using pottery tools to scrape and sculpt the wax. If my painting is successful, it takes you on a journey into a newly discovered space with dimensionality and tangibility. I hope I was able to warm up your body and soul with a brief journey into summer.