awesome april (day 29) – encaustic

awesome april (day 29) – encaustic

We're Gonna Have a Good Time
We’re Gonna Have a Good Time

I have been layering found images into my paintings for the last several years, but sometimes I wanted the paint to have more surface texture.  There are many additives you can put into acrylic paint, but most of them either take a lot of layers to build up a thick surface, or they are opaque.  I wanted the texture, but still with transparency.  Enter encaustics!

I have admired encaustic work for some time – it has a very deep, luminous quality — but wasn’t quite sure how the process worked.  So, I took a couple of classes over at The Encaustic Center in Richardson and immediately knew this was a medium that I could continue to experiment with.

Portrait of a Boy, Egyptian, Roman Period 2nd Century

What is encaustic?  It is painting with heated beeswax!  It’s an old method that has been around at least 2500 years, and was used by the Greeks and Egyptians for painting everything from boats to portraits.  Find out more about the history of encaustic painting HERE.

Jasper Johns encaustic map painting, 1961

Probably one of the most notable artists from the past 50 years that employed encaustic painting in his work is Jasper Johns, famous for his paintings of maps and the American flag.

encaustic paints in my studio
encaustic paints in my studio

I make my encaustic medium (beeswax + damar resin) in a large electric skillet.  I then use oil paints to add the color (pigment) to the clear medium.  I have a separate griddle for this, with 16 oz. ink tins lined up with the colors I want to use.    This is the same setup used at the Encaustic Center, and in most books and articles I’ve read on encaustic painting.  Some artists buy their encaustic paint already made (R & F has some really good paints), but they are very expensive.

encaustic painting by Misty Oliver-Foster
And the Rain Washed it Away

What I love about encaustic is it’s a very fast, spontaneous medium.  It dries quickly (think of how fast candle wax hardens), and can be used for both additive and subtractive techniques.    You can also layer paper into your work easily — including drawings, photographs, collage, ephemera, etc.  Imagine how exciting this was for me, as I love to glue all kinds of things into my paintings!   To have a true “encaustic” painting, you have to fuse each layer together, slightly re-melting each layer to make sure it adheres to the one below it.  I use a heat gun most of the time, but have just started enjoying using a torch as well.  (However, when I add paper, I try to keep the torch far away).

In my newest series, I drew with charcoal or pastel onto tissue paper, then layered those drawings into my paintings using clear encaustic medium (clear paint, with no pigment added).  The tissue paper became so transparent, that you can hardly detect the edges in the painting.  It allowed me to “float” my drawings on top of previous layers of collage and paint.  And the drips are now in 3D!

Courage
Courage

I just added a few more encaustic pieces to my web site, which you can find HERE.

 

125 Juried Show, Plano
125 Juried Show, Plano

And I’m happy to announce that two of my larger encaustic paintings were accepted into the 125 Juried Art Show, which opened yesterday. The show is at The ARTS Gallery at Collin College, 2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano, TX 75074.  The show runs April 28 – May 17, with a reception on Thursday, May 8 from 5:30 – 7:30pm.

 

 

 

awesome april (day 27) – abstract circles

awesome april (day 27) – abstract circles

visual journal
altered book turned visual journal

 

While some of my art journal entries use images of people and things, many of them are simple, stream-of-conscious designs . I tend to use a lot of circles.

This is from my first visual journal (an altered book).  The background is made by tearing out phone book pages and layering them over the existing book.  I then glued on patches of pink tissue paper.  I used transparent green glazes to add a contrasting color, then opaque white to balance the black charcoal.

Although this isn’t an image of a real “thing”, to me it reminds me of a totem, a pair of eyes, or even an abstracted female figure.

Like this? You can see more of my  art journals HERE — updated frequently.

awesome april (day 26) – enjoy the process

awesome april (day 26) – enjoy the process

a reminder as I go into my studio each day
a reminder as I go into my studio each day

 

Sometimes in life I get very focused on the goal, the outcome and the purpose.  I forget that the point of all of this is the journey — our little experiences that make up life.

The same is true for my life in the studio.  Sometimes I spend too much time thinking about the finished product, rather than clearing my mind and thinking only of the materials before me.  When I do get to that point of clarity, my work is better, more creative and a purer reflection of my intent.

I made this prompt for myself a while back.  It hangs on my screened porch at the entry of my studio, reminding me that the true point of my art is the process itself.

Enjoy the process!

awesome april (day 22) – i plunged ahead

awesome april (day 22) – i plunged ahead

I Plunged Ahead...
I Plunged Ahead…

 

 

I plunged ahead

She turned back and carefully

jabbed her finger.

I found my Criticism that Accompanies

My place of joy.

I breathed in.  And I

breathed out.

Soon I heard

“Your vocabulary seems sadly deficient.”

“Okay,” I said.

I don’t make much noise wherever I am.

My voice was all in my head.

 04.22.14

 

 

awesome april (day 21) – ATCs

awesome april (day 21) – ATCs

Today I’m sharing some of my most recent Artist Trading Cards.  I still have some of the Joie de Vivre images left over from some wallpaper sample books (see my post on Domestics for more).  They’re just the right size for my mini works of art.   Pair the “joy of life” images with interesting text, and you have a recipe for fun.   Click on any image to open a slide show of this series.

 

All ATCs are 3.5 x 2.5.”  See my ATCs page for more of my trading cards.

awesome april (day 20) – spring

awesome april (day 20) – spring

I’ve never really considered myself a gardener.  My mom had a nice vegetable garden and pretty plants around the house, but I didn’t ever want to help out with that growing up (teenagers).  On my own, I can’t seem to keep house plants alive.  I tried a vegetable garden a couple of years ago, and was very unsuccessful.  Last year I limited my vegetable gardening to three tomato plants, which yielded two tomatoes total all summer.  Although that was a 100% increase from the prior year  – if I kept it up, I might have enough for a couple of nice salads in a few years —  I think I’ll just stick to the farmer’s market.

Back Yard 2013
The garden (right) last September.

I have a lovely location between my house and my studio that was calling for vegetation, so I decided to try a perennial garden last year.  I tried to plant a lot of things that were hardy for this weird north Texas weather, using my friends at Shades of Green as an expert resource.  The area is shady at high noon, but gets good morning sun, and the north end gets afternoon sun as well.

the garden in october – mostly hardy perennials
turks caps last fall
turks caps last fall

 

After a particularly cold, harsh winter, the garden is growing back!

clematis
clematis

 

oakleaf hydrangea
little buds on my oak leaf hydrangea
elizabeth lawrence phlox
elizabeth lawrence phlox

 

I’ve also added a few new friends.

delphinium
delphinium
tickseed
tickseed
salvia may night and caroline jessamine vine
salvia may night and carolina jessamine vine

Fall used to be my favorite season, with the cool breezes coming after a harsh Texas summer.  But now, I think Spring has taken the top spot.  I love going through the garden each day, seeing what is sprouting or blooming.  It’s usually the first thing I do in the morning.  I also use the garden as a place to reflect, notice the details and colors of nature, listen to the birds, and give my mind a rest if I’ve been working on a difficult project.

I also think it makes a nice entrance to my studio.

welcome to fresh paint studio!
welcome to fresh paint studio!