Saturday, March 12, 2011

Still More Hot Stuff

encaustic, paper, wire and
stamped image on
encausticbord and
3x5 inches
I'm putting a lot of time into my encaustic pieces lately. I recently was accepted into a small local gallery co-op, so there's a tiny piece of wall space in downtown Raleigh with my name on it. Right now I have a couple of black and white photographs up, but they just kind of get lost in the space. I think the encaustics will pop and draw people's attention because they're familiar and painting-like, but obviously different somehow. I have one piece I was going to give away, but I think I'll frame it and put a price on it and see what happens. I have two to three others that are also likely candidates. The panels will all get similar framing treatments; I'm still not 100% certain what to do with the cradled birch pieces yet. In theory, they mimic canvas on stretcher bars, but I am reluctant to just paint or wax over the edges and leave it at that. I recently saw the work of another encaustic artist who took her cradled pieces and mounted them to pieces of slate tile and painted the cradle edges to match. I loved the effect, and am considering something similar, although I haven't really settled on anything specific.

The Last Time I
Went Fishing
encaustic and oil paint
on canvas panel
6x9 inches
 I spent about 3 hours in my studio this afternoon, working on probably five pieces at once. It seems there's a lot of flailing around that has to happen before I start producing things I like. I'm beginning to understand that my "signature" approach blends both wax and oil paint. My favorite piece from this evening, which I started a few nights ago, basically went from nothing to something in a few minutes when I applied some pigmented wax to the top half of the piece then followed that up with some oil paint, which I brushed on. Fusing the oil into the wax is a required step (the oil paint will never dry if you don't), instead of just heating the wax enough for the oil paint to set into it, I overfused it and when it became liquid, I began working it with a brush. As a result, I have several brushes that are crudded up with both oil paint and wax. I'm sure cleaning is going to be an adventure, but I'm so happy with the results that it was definitely worth it.

I think the next step is probably learning more about brush techniques. I've been toying with the idea of taking an oil painting class, even though I have no interest in ever approaching oil painting in the "traditional" way. I've ordered a book on brushwork and found a class that starts soon that is for absolute beginners in oil paint, but I would hate to spend the money on a class and wind up having someone trying to help me paint a cow or a tree in something approaching a realistic fashion.

Walk with Me
encaustic and oil paint on
canvas panel
6x9 inches
(in progress)
 My one concern is that I still haven't come up with a way to combine encaustic with my photography. Perhaps the secret is a sort of hand-coloring approach using wax and oil paint combined and worked with a brush. It sounds likely, but figuring out how to actually make that happen may be a little more problematic than I anticipate. I've also had some thoughts recently about creating pieces that are about skylines, and given my level of drawing ability (as in none), that may be a chance to test this particular approach as well.

The other thing I've been thinking about a lot recently is the idea of the Free Atelier. If you're one of the 2.3 regular readers of this blog, you'll know I not too long ago performed a guided meditation that resulted in a Big Idea. A lot of people seem to think it's also a Good Idea. The next phase of it, though, is figuring out how to do other similar things that can actually fund the Free Atelier; maybe adding several weeks or weekends per month where it's not free and not limited to serious artists, possibly adding classes, art tours, mentoring sessions or help with conceptual development. The gallery co-op has access to a teaching space and I'm already being encouraged to set up some classes there; I have plenty of room in my home and property as well. It's a lot to think about, but definitely worth thinking about. There are still a lot of questions, but it's looking more and more like something I'm going to have to try. If any of you are sitting on lottery winnings and would like to invest in an art and creativity development program, here's your chance to get in on the ground floor.


Ann Tracy said...

this is really an interesting development with the oil paint mixed with the wax... looking forward to how you will develop it.

E. Marie said...

Well, it's more used on top of the wax rather than mixed with it. The next step is fusing it into the wax which gives it the very handy property of drying immediately. I'm only just now starting to be more deliberate about the effects I achieve with the way I fuse; I guess being more deliberate with the way I apply the paint is next. (So far, I seem to feel most comfortable applying it with my hand.)