Sunday, November 7, 2010

What I did on the weekend

The title of this post is bringing back memories of the yearly What I Did On My Summer Vacation essay we were subjected to in school! This weekend I set aside two days to devote exclusively to encaustic painting. My friend Carol had an Open Studio and there were four artists working side by side to create encaustic work. We shared ideas and inspirations.

This is Carol's studio in Torbay just outside St. John's . It's a very conducive spot to paint because it is perched on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. You can hear the ocean in the background. Luckily the wind was gentle and blowing in the right direction for the fans in the windows. Four hot palettes need lots of ventilation.

It was a beautiful day (16 degrees) and we had lunch on the patio. That's hard to believe for November in Newfoundland. From left to right Carol Bajen-Gahm, Anita Singh and Carolyn Morgan. I am represented by my plate.

As I noted in my last post I'm going through a dry spell and this was a way to kick start my painting focus again. It worked. I was rearing to go and kept up an energetic for the two days. I arrived with everything but the kitchen sink.

The work I created took several different routes and it isn't all finished yet. I find encaustic a great process material that encourages you to experiment and go where the materials lead. If you are stuck in a rut it is the perfect way to break free.

I began with several warm up pieces that were small 6 x 6 inch squares that I will display in a set of four. Fragments of Beauty II continues an ongoing exploration of what I find beautiful in the world. The rose petals and other organic materials in the pieces were given to me by Anita who is the best collector and sharer of materials I know.

Here's an idea of how the first of four pieces was developed:

Stage 1 -- Apply two coats of encaustic medium ( clarified beeswax and damar resin), then gold embossed paper& another coat of medium, fusing between each layer.
Stage 2-- Dip dried rose petals and stem (from a pineapple actually) in encaustic medium and apply quickly to heated wax on surface. Fuse.
Stage 3-- Add torn bits of gold embossed papers around the petals. Apply one coat of medium with a brush. Fuse.
Stage 4 -- Pour wax around the petals to further embed them. Fuse.

Step 5-- Brush several coats of clear encaustic medium to further embed the petals. Fuse.

Step 6-- Use R & F Pigment Stick (Gold) to scribble over the surface and rub off with a cloth. Fuse again.
Step 7- Shine when cooled.

The remaining pieces in this series include:

Still fiddling with a way to organize them.... not happy yet!

More to come...


-Don said...

I absolutely LOVE experimental time in the studio. I'm glad you were able to share this time with your friends. I can just imagine the 'give and take' as you all work on your various pieces.

Thanks for sharing the process. I look forward to seeing where this all takes you. I really like what you've done with all four, but I found myself enthralled by the piece with the twigs. There is an ethereal quality and a depth to it that draw me in and keep me there.

Happy Creating!


Margaret Ryall said...

Thanks Don. One of the aspects of encaustic that fascinates me is the layering that you can achieve. It's akin to looking at somewhat murky water. Growing up near the sea provided many opportunities to observe objects and natural like from this perspective. I too love the twig piece for the reasons you mentioned.

Kathy said...

What a great process! The results are meaningful and beautiful. Your time with Carol looks like fun. BTW - last night I saw a TV episode of "Holmes on Homes" and it was filmed three years ago (I think) in St. John's. A woman's second story balcony had collapsed and she and four friends were seriously injured. The contractor built it incorrectly and Holmes built a new one. Do you know this woman and about the accident?