Again, trying something new. The first two images are how things started and the last two are how things turned out. I have been collecting lids for awhile (years, honestly; feel like I am fessing up to a bad habit) and have a number of these small, interesting shapes. I placed them in wax and some cool things happened. The palette is interesting to me as much of it is heightened in saturation and very commercial.
One of the many great things about working with wax is that if it doesn’t work out, you heat it, scrape it off, and start again. Here are some pieces that survived my current round of explorations.
Before I color my wax or paint with it, I make an encaustic medium. Three ingredients go into it; 8 parts beeswax, 1 part damar resin, and 100 parts work. I changed beeswax vendors and ordered a 28 pound block. What was I thinking? To mix the beeswax and damar resin I have to melt them both. Out came the old school hammer and chisel. And, yes, my shoulder still hurts.
And that was just the beginning: Weigh and melt wax.
Crush up the damar resin and add.
Stir the gooey resin, keep stirring.
After I sold my demanding advertising agency (years ago), I found myself right where I wanted to be: in my studio staring at a blank canvas. In that quiet space came a loud thought: I was going to have to slow down.
Burn some wood!
I spent four years “writing with fire” and slowing down. Burning lines in wood taught me how to fully live in the moment. We hear we should “be in the moment” as a way to enrich our lives. I thought I had always lived in the moment. Where else could I have been? Oh, boy.
To burn an inch-long line takes 30 seconds. And there is no way to rush. When I tried to, the heat wasn’t there to leave a mark in the wood. And the tool is very hot. It’s not something you want to take your mind off of when it’s in your hand.
What’s “in the moment”? Perspective, awareness, ideas!!!, maybe even eternity.
Some works include 300+ hours of pyrography. I never could have imagined that a woodburner would end up being my Mr. Miyagi, my Obi-Wan Ben Kenobi, my Master Po.
As I was organizing my storage room, I came upon my stack of Zanders calendars that I collected when I was in the ad biz. What a visual feast! On the cover of one was the word “Zanders” made of a unique typestyle. I used those seven letters as my inspiration and designed the rest of the alphabet.
I approach encaustic painting with a silkscreen mentality (which means I use stencils) so the next step is to cut them. An appreciation for the colorfield artists added to the desire to complete this alphabet. I can envision that when my words stack up they’ll create a great pattern of vertical stripes which will be something that will interest me. I’ll report back.
Been having a tough time knowing when to call this encaustic piece “done.” I have looked at it for months this year as well as last year and worked a lot on it the past couple of days.
I should deem it done. Doing so would mean letting it go, no longer tinkering with it and thinking about it. I find myself kind of resisting that idea. Calling it done and moving on opens up everything for what’s next.
Art imitates life, eh?
This winter I took a class to learn how to make mono prints. Fortunately, this teacher also taught collagraphy as I quickly learned that painting with ink on an acrylic surface was not for me. I work with stencils in a lot of my art and so I tried them with this medium. Hooked! This is work from my short class. I will explore more soon.
Before inking the plate I tried a blind emboss. (Thank you advertising background.) Love it. I need to build a bit higher. With a class like this I was not able to experiment with a second or third layer of ink. These monotypes are all made with one pass through the press.
My best friend and I have the good fortune to know the Assistant Director at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in Two Rivers, WI. So we took a trip there and spent three amazing days printing.
I discovered that rather than washing up in between colors that I could simply roll the new color on top of the old. After I printed what I had planned, I ran a number of pieces of paper through the press just to see what would happen. Magic!
As far as I can recall, I printed the green, then the blue, and then probably something else. Then I ran my extra sheets through the press starting with the pink one and then the two white sheets. Each pass took more ink off the letters in reverse order of how it had been layered on. It ended up that the inks mixed together on the letter which added to the excitement of the reveal.