Saturday, July 25, 2015

Working, Waiting, Wishing

It's only July and I can tell you with full authority that it's been a long year. That's partially the reason for my absence from my much-beloved blogging, but there are other, more artistic reasons for my silence, as well.

(Note: if you're only interested in the artsy eye candy, I totally get you... feel free to scroll down!)

In early May, we hosted a large party for our daughter, one that we had been planning for many, many months. Fun, food, family and friendship, all in one happy package.

Losing my dad on January 1 was the end of a long journey of caring for him and worrying about his future. We concluded our responsibility to him in May: we took him back to his home state of Pennsylvania and buried him in a small, remote, family cemetery.

We returned home and I took up my yearly watch for spring, which came very late in Texas. I revitalize in spring and summer. I need the sunshine and fresh air and bright colors of summer to pull me through the gray, wet winters, and like a watched pot that refuses to boil, spring waited me out. Finally, several weeks ago, bypassing spring altogether, the weather went directly into hot, sultry summer and I rejoiced by spending time in the pool and having fun with my hubby on the weekends.

And then a couple of weeks ago, I sprung a leak. So to speak. I've developed a large umbilical hernia which needs surgery to repair. It's not a big, scary kind of surgery, the complications are almost non-existent even with someone my age (51) and weight (none of yer damned business!) but it's still abdominal surgery and I'll have a long recovery afterwards.

All of that leads me to the fun stuff... the art! As I've discussed before, back at the beginning of the year, I received my Christmas present to myself: a whole new medium to try out and a new way of looking at art through encaustic (melted, pigmented wax) and oil paint.

This is a deep learning curve for me (as evidenced by the three bad burns I've already given myself since January!) and that is my main reason for not posting much on my blog anymore: I really just want time to learn and play and make without having to spend too much time talking about it. At some point when I start to feel comfortable with the medium, I will talk more about it, show process photos, and maybe even offer a basic tutorial or two, but in the meantime, I'm just working and enjoying the process.

A few weeks back (maybe the beginnings of my hernia problems? Hmm...) I finally put aside all the acrylic paints and tools and gave encaustics and oils my full attention. The studio conversion took a couple of days but was a badly needed step to committing to this new medium.

Before... crowded and not very functional...

After... wide open, well organized spaces!

The work itself has been fun, refreshing, and inspiring. I've been testing out all kinds of techniques and using new tools to achieve pattern, texture, and movement. Here are some of the pieces I've completed.

A few works on small canvas panels that experiment with tissue collage, India inks, and oil pastels, as well as encaustic paint. 

A black and white series, again on the small canvas substrates.

Bringing my beloved color palette back with alcohol ink and jumbo-sized Stacked Journaling...

And finally, some larger work on cradled birch panels incorporating oil sticks and pages from my grandmother's accounting journals (she was a grocer back in the 50's)...

In preparation for my surgery and recovery, I've ordered quite a lot of supplies to tide me over... more cradled panels, a pack of "patina" paints I hope to incorporate, an encaustic "crackle" medium, and some new carving tools for making stencils. I'm really looking forward to having time to spend playing and learning, and I appreciate everyone's patience (and your continued interest in this mostly quiet blog!) as I explore this new passion.

Happy painting!


Bev said...

Lovin' this entire post!

Penny said...

Hope all goes well, a hiccup with possibilities I hope.

Julia @ Vintage with Laces said...

Hi Judi, Your encausic paintings are wonderful! I especially love the last of the b+w ones and the last one of thist post. I just recenctly started playing with encaustic wax and I don't have a lot supplies yet. I had a lot of fun with this new medium and want to create more encaustic art.
Wishing you all the best for the surgery! Get well soon afterwards!

Julie said...

Beautiful samples Judi, I've not tried encaustic art but these are inspiring. Wishing you well with surgery & a speedy recovery.

susanbuchanan2 said...

best wishes for good health! your art is terrific...bold, strong just like the artist!

Shoshi said...

It sounds as if you've had quite a year, Judy. I hope you have made a full recovery from your surgery. I've had major bowel surgery this year for cancer and am now undergoing chemotherapy. Every hope for a happy outcome and getting my life back - doing what art I can now my mojo has returned!! So I am not surprised that you weren't able to do any for a while. Very sorry to hear about your father - I know how long you cared for him and how this was incorporated into your art and stacked journaling. I love your new encaustic art - a new departure which you are accomplishing with your usual applombe! Keep up the good work!

Wishing you a great year ahead.


Chris said...

Best of luck with your surgery. I am happy to see that you are already planning new art projects during your recovery. Taking your mind off of your health issues, and into the creative area of your brain will surely help you recover faster.

Loving your encaustic work. I have been afraid to try it, as it looks very complex. Your work is lovely. I especially love that you worked the stacked journaling in.

All the best.