2019 is coming to an end and I can not believe how quickly the time is passing!
I survived my first participation in the One of a Kind Holiday Show and with much success will look forward to returning next December. The attendance was incredible, I loved that the show was four days long, and because it occurs at the beginning of holiday season the atmosphere is more festive than the summer shows I have done in the past. A big bonus – weather is a non-issue, the show is held indoors, on the 7th floor of the Chicago Merchandise Mart.
I also had time before the show to attend a three day pastel workshop hosted by the Chicago Pastel Painters, taught by Casey Klahn. I have been following Casey on social media for over a decade, and it was a treat to finally meet him and learn about soft pastels. I have just started exploring this medium and plan on combining pastel with encaustic monotypes. The more I use pastels, the more I am inspired.
I am experimenting with the different papers and boards that allow the pastels to be the best they can be. Above, I used a pastel board thinking the encaustic medium would be easy to incorporate but I wasn’t happy with the stiffness in regards to the pastel dust. I decided not to add encaustic as I think the pastel would act like a barrier between the wax and the board.
Below, I added soft pastel to an encaustic monoprint on a Japanese Sekishu paper and I loved the way the pastels combined. I will continue to explore the combination of monotypes using encaustic and pastels.
After the new year, my next exhibition is “The Sum of the Parts” with the FUSEDChicago group at North Central College in Naperville, IL. I am exhibiting the Roadways Series, inspired after visiting Ireland. Each time I created a roadway composition, I thought about the wide open landscape, and the simplicity of color. I was on the west coast, and it felt like every road either led to the ocean or to the various shades of gray rocks in the Burren.
I resume teaching mixed media encaustic painting after the new year. All class information is available here :
Springtime is when I have to start planning my exhibition space for the upcoming summer festival season. It forces me to review art inventory, and re-assess what paintings are “show worthy”, and those that need to be re-worked. Ever since I started incorporating alcohol inks into encaustic medium, I have found a new way to create visual energy on a two dimensional surface.
I have taken a handful of older paintings and made them new again by fusing the inks into the wax base. The two mediums compliment each other and the translucent layering captures motion and depth.
I worked with an encaustic monotype as the base layer for the first time (seen below), then added layers of wax medium combined with alcohol inks. I love the way the inks loosen and free up the composition.
I am also working with cradled panels as a ground (rather than papers), adding the inks first, then combining wax medium with additional layers of ink to create greater depth, movement, and life on a flat surface. I’ll be anxious to share this new combination of encaustic and inks in person rather than on the internet and am looking forward to the summer art season.
This past weekend, I taught an encaustic “sampler” workshop at the Evanston Art Center. We used various mixed media materials that combine effortlessly with wax. In the demo painting below, mulberry paper creates a translucent linear wave pattern, I then added white shellac and oil pastel to highlight the setting sun over the ocean waves. There is something very beautiful in simplicity and I hope to continue exploring the “less is more” concept.
One of my older watercolors below, and most likely the subconscious inspiration for the above encaustic painting.
Another new direction: Pea Pods
I built an armature base, coated the wire with plaster, then shaped the plaster and added encaustic medium to the assemblage.
Wax is poured into the cradled panel in order to secure various parts. Building armature for encaustic is a new addition to the weekly techniques we cover in classes. I resume teaching after the new year at both the Evanston Art Center and the North Shore Art League.
This winter I decided to take an oil painting class with Nina Weiss at the Evanston Art Center. Oil paints are a medium I have avoided for my entire adult creative life! The reason I want to learn now is to be able to incorporate them with the encaustic medium. I also hope to combine oil paint with cold wax medium… either way, I want to learn and improve my overall painting knowledge and skills by taking this class.
It’s always interesting to see how other teachers lead, and it’s unavoidable that I compare their teaching style to mine. I think being a student with a new medium is a clear reminder of how new students might feel in my class the first time they experience working with the encaustic medium.
So far, I’ve only been to two classes. A still life was setup (I dislike still life immensely!) and the goal was to learn about ground color, underpainting, and mixing color. The class is also color theory; if I had chosen to work with gouache or acrylic things would be going much quicker but neither of those mediums combines with encaustic or cold wax.
I have probably spent more time working at home than I have in the two classes but I know for me the best way to learn is by doing it… over and over and over!
First painting from class:
I decided to start a small landscape study at home in order to better prepare for a larger version during class. It is the opposite way of thinking… applying layers of oil paint, as opposed to applying layers of watercolor. My background as a watercolorist goes back 30+ years. Painting with encaustic is also a different mind set from how I am learning with oils. I lean toward being self-taught but the color theory does not always sit well with my brain and I need guidance. I know all of this is a good lesson not just with the creative process but also with discipline, humility, and patience. It’s hard not being the expert!