Thursday, January 29, 2015

Moving On

It's been a tough month, I'm not going to lie to you. And to top off the Bad News Express, 17 days after my father died, his big brother, Bob, died, too. Yeesh.

Something that really made a difference in my grief management, though, was finding some old- very old- paperwork in my father's belongings. Some of that stuff was dated as early as 1865 and with all of it, I managed to go onto an ancestry search site and trace at least one branch of my family back to 1700! I determined that some of my family (probably a lot of them) fought in the Revolutionary War, and more of them fought on the Union side in the Civil War. One was even in both WWI and WWII. Most of them were farmers, but there was a small branch of blacksmiths, a couple of tavern owners, some innkeepers, and at least one grocer (my grandmother, in the fifties.) I lost family, but I found family, too, and it was healing.

So I'm getting off the couch, shaking off the dust that's been gathering, and spending time in the studio.

I started the week by rusting stuff. All kinds of neat stuff! 

Lemme backtrack a sec. Back in October, I stopped by my local steel fabrication shop (most large and medium-sized cites have them!) and wandered their "rust yard"- the place where old steel goes to die. I found some interesting flanges, fittings, and a flat sheet of rusty metal. All told, I spent about 6 bucks on these items, so I highly recommend you get thee to your steel store!

So on Monday, I broke out the bottle of vinegar and some items to rust: white tissue, white cotton fabric, watercolor paper, and a large piece of Lutradur. I soaked the papers, fabric, and Lutradur, and then sandwiched all of it in various ways with the sheet metal and findings. Then I soaked the whole bundle down again with vinegar and let it sit overnight.

Yeah, it was smelly. But what a great result!! 

It was time to make a little art with it!

The great thing about working with encaustic medium and paints is that they instantly make any surface archival, even something as highly acidic as vinegar-soaked, rusted tissue. Coat it in wax and poof, it will last through the ages, preserved exactly as it is the day the wax hits it!

I have four 12"x12" cradled wooden panels that I've been experimenting with. One of them I stained with phthalo blue paint stick, the other I covered with white encaustic gesso. On each, I used a brush-tipped alcohol marker to do a little Stacked Journaling and then I "primed' them with several coats of clear encaustic medium.

Next I applied pieces of rusted tissue, layered a couple more coats of medium, fiddled with some paint sticks on the surface, and stood back to look. Not masterpieces, but not bad.

Until next time, create with hope!

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