Mixed Media Artist

I work primarily in acrylics and collage.I use collage and beewax in my assemblage works and am now completing several shrines using found objects. I have been experimenting with encaustic collage and have found the medium very challenging. The paint is a combination of melted beeswax and pigment. A small amount of damar resin is added for hardness. I mix these paints myself and while painting all custom colors are mixed directly on a hot palette.
I will share my progress with this exciting medium with photos of work in progress and finished pieces.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pouring the Wax On

This is another painting trying out more new techniques. I taped the sides of my board with masking tape to form a barrier all around the piece. It stuck up about an inch from the surface, and the first layer of clear encaustic medium was poured on. After cooling it slightlty I embedded painted raffia ribbon mesh in spots. Then poured on another thin layer of clear encaustic medium. At this point there was no color added. I began using colored wax and oil pastels (the red scribbles) to layout the design. The buterfly image is a laser copy I cut out and collaged on with a coat of clear on top. The next layer has the black shapes transfered on the surface and a thin layer of clear painted over. The beautiful white lacy efferct is the shellac application, this time painted very thinly, and lightly hit with the torch. The final layer is applied 24 hours later over the shellac to set it. I tinted clear shellac with white oil paint to get the color. Amber shellac can be used as is out of the can and gives the burnt sienna look as shown im my previous post,"The Day the Winds Came"  I am really pleased with the white lacy look of the shellac and the way it brings the elements together. I will definitely try other colors and methods of application. I like the oil pastel drawing as well and want to do more of that. But I don't know about the pouring, it was a lot of work to keep it level and I don't see where it made much of a difference in the finished product.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Here Comes The Sun

"Here Comes The Sun"
This painting is also 6" x 8" and painted on a masonite board. I wanted to collage natural plant material into the wax. I used tall blades of fresh green grass, and over a short period of time they turned tan in color. I tried painting them with green wax and it gave them such an unnatural look I removed it. I left the bottom  part of the thinnest blade green. I also tried a sheer green organdy fabric with metallic gold threads running through it. They were cut in blade shapes to simulate more grass. I splattered white tissue paper with watercolor paint in various collors of burnt sienna and collaged those on top of the fabric. In the lower left I inked a rubber stamp I carved with black ink and it made an excellent reproduction on the surface. I can see where this will be a very  useful technique. The look of the fabric through the wax came out nicely and I will try more ezperiments with that, but I'm not extremely pleased with the dried plant material so the jury is still out on that one.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Experiments in Encaustic

"Perfect Specimens"
Here is one of my latest encaustic pieces. It is painted on a small 6" X 8" masonite board.. Because masonite is not porous, the surface must first be covered with paper. The paper acts as a primer to absorb the first layer of wax.
I collaged a vintage book page as the first layer. Old books work best, as the paper is dull and very absorptive. Glossy books and magazines do not work. Watercolor paper makes a nice surface if a white background is desired. The figures are drawn in with green wax thinned with encaustic medium to form a glaze-like paint. I used several layers in the areas I wanted to obscure the most. My next layer is a decorative napkin that I have cut the design from and collaged on top of the figures.
The line work is drawn into the wax with a sharp stylus and then filled with a soft black pigment stick. The wonderful insect is a lazer copy from one of my most favorite books, Cabinet of Natural Curiosities, which I transferred to the surface .
I discovered something neat when I went to buff this piece. There was a used swiffer sheet on my work table and I used it to polish the surface and wow, it worked great! Periodically these pieces need to be buffed to remove a white dusty look called bloom that happens to the beeswax over time. The colors and glassy surface the swiffer sheet gave them is truly amazing.

Friday, August 20, 2010


This encaustic collage is 4" x  6" and is painted on matboard. It was part of the National Collage Society  12th annual post card exhibit. The show took place at the Butler institute of American Art, 524 Wick Ave, Youngstown, Ohio. The exhibition also traveled out west to the Western Colorado Center for The Arts, 1803 North 7th Street, Grand Junction.

Having to create in such a small format presents it's own set of challenges. I guess that is why so many of the great masters completed small studies for their masterpieces. I am always too impatient for that and want to get right to it when I work.

In spite of its small size I have used many collage elements, including pattern tissue I have machine stitched with red thread, small red number labels,  my drawings, and stenciled images. A 3d element is a small piece of brass I found along the roadway on a walk. The circular texture on the top left is an embossing technique using dry wall tape. It really works great a stencil.

Monday, August 16, 2010


This encaustic painting is 12 x 12" and is a combination of beeswax and assemblage. I've used a round piece of semi-precious turquoise hanging from the metal curved piece at the top. I think it is a handle of some kind that I found at a junk store. It has a worn look with some rusty places. There are also several pieces of white bone and a shell hanging from it.  The center disc is a piece of salvaged wood and I coated it in wax.
If you look closely there are several things I have embedded on the surface. A small snippet of my handwriting, shreds of dried grass and cheesecloth, and a little brass x make up some of the texture.

The board the painting is on is recessed into the frame to protect the wax edges. It gives it a shadow box effect.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Day the Winds Came

    This encaustic painting has an interesting detail that is accomplished with the use of  clear shellac mixed with white oil paint.  It is then painted on the surface of the wax, let dry for a few minutes and then heated with a  handheld propane torch. The amber colored section at the top right was done the same way, but with amber shellac. This method should always be done with caution as all these materials are flameable.

This is a detail of the shellac method. It gives the surface such a beautiful organic feeling.

Friday, August 13, 2010

It's A Start!

Staring at that blank white page, it can be so intimidating.....so here is the first page, a brightly painted background with a small amount of collage. For me it's always easier to begin with the art, then the words will come.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Can you Judge a Book by it's Cover?

My plain little book needed a new look. I made a fabric cover out of an upholstery scrap. I have boxes of these scraps that I pick up wherever I can find them free for the taking. I am an avid recycler of anything I thing I can use. Which just about covers everything! I have embellished with lots of stitches and bobbin work and will continue to add fluff as I go along. As in buttons, beads and other sew on stuff.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Look at the Sketchbook

Here is my little book, it measures 5" X 8" and has a moleskin cover. We had a choice of red or blue. It is a nice rich red just like a real cherry. I'm showing the back complete with my name and barcode. There was quite a list of themes and the one that appealed to me was Inside/Outside.

Given the chance to expose my inner feelings through words and art seemed a good combination with the beauty of the outdooors in the Smoky Mountains when every day is an inspiration.