Wednesday, September 21, 2011

If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee. -Abraham Lincoln

Some people have "tea-time" and some have "coffee-time". So, I posed the question to my friends: what do you call it, if you don't want to call it "break-time" and yet you do not want to be exclusionary of either group?

One of the suggestions was "Recess". I loved it right away, and decided that it would be the title for my series of encaustic multi-media pieces I am currently working on.

Not being a coffee drinker, I had to have a friend send me some filters. Those travelled from out west in Calgary, to Toronto. Then the old wood had to be found and the frame created. This series was planned for a good couple of months before I could start the painting process

Here are the first two in the series.

Recess, 22 x 22 inches, encaustic multi-media.

With the background created entirely from mottled wax colours, you really have the  feeling of coffee or tea with a touch of milk added. I learned also not to get the coffee filter too wet with the wax, as it went completely transparent, and had to be "rescued" so that it could be seen. the sprinkles of "sugar" seem to come out of the painting, and they create a pile inside the frame, but out of the painting.

Recess Two, 22 x 22 inches, encaustic multi-media.

For this one, I wanted a very "kitchen type" look. I used the lining you can buy for shelves as my background, and painted over that with the beeswax to diffuse the pattern just a bit. Here, I only wet the center of the coffee filter, so it kept it's lovely stained look. At the top, I cut away a semi-circle, and made it look like sugar is falling down through the hole, cascading along the teabags and spoon, to create a small pile at the bottom.

This is turning out to be quite a fun series to work on. I have another two planned, and just need to create the frames in order to continue. I have been using the old "strapping" wood from inside our walls. We live in a house that is 106 years old, and when we pulled down a wall, this was the wood inside the walls. It's a perfect thickness to make the frame, and I love the old and weathered look to it. I sure hope I can find more like it to use in the rest of the series!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark. -Agnes de Mille

Over the summer, I decided to take a course on encaustic painting. It has turned into a medium that I just love. I think it particularly lends itself to textures, and more loose renditions - though you can still control it enough if you'd like to get more tight and figurative with it.

Starting off then, here are some examples of what I have been doing with the encaustic. I think when I lay them all out like this, I can really see a progression in my ability to control the medium, even though I may not always want to completely control it.

Approx. 8.5 x 11.5

My very first encaustic painting. For me at this point, it was purely experimental, and making marks to get the feel of how the hot wax does, or doesn't spread as you apply it to the board. The same can be said of the second piece.

Approx. 8.5 x 11.5

Approx. 8.5 x 11.5

By the time I got to the second class, I wanted to see how much I could control it if I wanted to get more figurative. The above blossoms were the result.

Next, I decided to see if it would work well as a medium for ACEO sized pieces. I started with one session, in which I did 4 of them. 



ACEO "Purple Pop"


Class was still going on, and we were next asked to do some collage work with the encaustic.

Approx. 8.5 x 11.5 "Falling for You"

Since I seem to just love shiny things, the gold and copper leaf were fantastic to incorporate for both the collage piece above as well as the smaller one below.

5 x 7 This was the first one that I had done on Ampersands Encausticbord

Approx. 8.5 x 11.5

Approx. 8.5 x 11.5 "Day at the Beach"

For this one, "Day at the Beach" we were asked to bring in objects that could be stuck to the painting. I opted to make some fimo fish, dolphins and other sea creatures and objects. 

I then went back to playing with ACEO sizes, and this time did them on Encausticbord. By then, I had also received a shipment of R&F encaustic paints. Within the shipment, was all the metallic colours I had been longing to try out.

ACEO "Royal Stems"

ACEO "Golden Red Rose"

ACEO "Flowering Meadow"

Knowing that we were going to be asked to do a Bas Relief piece in class, I started preparing a cradled Encausticbord with layers of different colours. My idea had been that if I layered the darker flesh tones beneath the medium and then lighter flesh tones, that I could carve away my figure, and have the deepest carving areas be the shadow areas. It was a fun idea, but the reality is that the shadow areas are not always in the deepest carving areas - sometimes they are just on one side or another as the light "hits" the subject. I still need to paint in some definition to the face because of just this reason. As it stands, since the face is not in as much shadow, it lacks definition with just the carving.

6 x 6

I was then invited to take part once again in this years exhibition "Almost Edible". The next three are all on cradled board, and done for that exhibition.

9 x 12 "Summer delight"

9 x 12 "Bubbly Goodness"

9 x 12 "Morning Delight"

I love it when, as Bob Ross used to say, you have a "happy little accident". While I was making the scrapings for the "Summer Delight" piece above, some of the scrapings began to resemble flowers. At this point, I then intentionally did a whole bunch of them, and they turned into this next piece, "Tropicana". I love the 3D nature of this one.

8 x 10 "Tropicana"

Of course, the encaustics are not the only pieces I have been working on. While I have been working on those, I have also been working on new jewellery designs, and some pastels and some Scratchbords. I also opened a stall in an Arts Market here in Toronto - another leap in the dark for me. With luck, I'll see the light soon enough.