Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Well, I am, anyway.

Yes, hello, I know I haven't posted to my blog since mid-August, but I have a good reason, really.

I've changed mediums almost entirely, and there's a learning curve to it that I really just want to explore without worrying overmuch about having to talk about it.

See, one of the things I loved so dearly about becoming an artist, the key element that kept me awake until 3 am experimenting, and had me bounding out of bed just a few hours later to sequester myself in my studio for hours on end, was the simple process of learning. As I explored mediums and substrates, taught myself new techniques, plumbed the depths of my creativity, always overwhelmed by that, "Ohmigod, holy cow!" moment of discovery, I felt as if I was soaring through the sky on a perfect, cloudless day. It was exhilarating, just the act of learning. But quite frankly, I've lost that... maybe there's a lot more out there for me to learn about mixed-media, but if there is, I'm not finding it (and trust me, I've looked!)

So after more than a decade in this field, and growing bored with my chosen medium, acrylic painting, I knew it was time to shake things up, and not just in a small way. Taking another mixed-media or painting workshop, while appealing, might inspire me for a short time once I got back into my own studio, but it wasn't likely to teach me a whole lot of new techniques, nor would it keep me going month after month while I grow increasingly frustrated, feeling as if I'm just doing the same thing over and over again.

So I turned my eye towards a couple of mediums I've played with briefly over the years, but shied away from getting too involved in: encaustics and oils.

Encaustic painting is a centuries-old technique of painting with melted, pigmented wax. Encaustic wax and oil paints blend beautifully together, so after a lot of discussions with my husband, and a lot of research and thinking of my own, I made a large investment in encaustic paints, tools, and materials, as well as in oil paints and pigment sticks. And I started playing.

I started small, using paper...

... and cardboard...

I also used small substrates I'd picked up in a local art thrift store (yes, such a thing really exists and it's magnificent)... wooden panels...

... and small, cradled canvases...

Finally, I moved on to something larger, an 18"x24" cradled birch panel to which I'd attached a piece of watercolor paper.

The work is engrossing, and the joy of learning and exploring brings back to me, once again and in a huge rush, how much fun it is to make art.

I won't be talking a lot about it, here. I will post photos now and then, but don't look for any tutorials on this subject for a very long time- if ever: the medium is still so new to me that I'd be a fool to try and teach you all something that I barely understand myself. Stopping at every step to take professional step-by-step photos is also out of the question. I work too spontaneously for that, and stymieing that process would go against exactly what I'm trying to achieve.

Know this: my color palette is alive and kicking in wax and oils; my abiding love of texture and depth has found nirvana; and my passion for working in layers is so deeply satisfied that I find it difficult to stop.

This is big, for me. I'm very excited.

Have a wonderful holiday season and until I see you again, create by the seat of your pants!
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