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, October 18, 2014

Now I get it!

I was lucky enough to assist at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts for Lisa Pressman. The class was a week long and very fun. She is an artist working in cold wax, oil and encaustic from New Jersey. I loved her teaching style and her work. Please check out her website  lisapressman.net, The class was painting with encaustic and my job was to mix medium and lend a hand when necessary. I also had the privilege of working on my own paintings in encaustic, as well as cold wax, and will post the "in process" works in the next post.

For now I am very excited about the cold wax and oil process. After Lisa gave me a personal demo and shared her materials and knowledge with me I feel I have a much better understanding of how it works. Letting the work dry was the only challenge to me as I  love to work fast. Working on many of them at one time helps. Below are some in process works that I did during the week that I can't wait to work on and finish. These are STARTS and need many more layers and fine tuning before they will be paintings! Most are on 12x12 cradled encaustic board from Ampersand and have a nice surface. They come in different size cradle depths.

The scratching and texturing was done with a sharp skewer and the layers are put on with
a print making brayer or squeegee. Revealing all the colors underneath is the most fun!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A New Road, and a new direction

Because I have been reintroduced to oil paint, through encaustic painting, and have been perusing any technique that uses oil paint, I have come upon something new that I must try.

Oil and Cold Wax, unlike encaustic wax is not heated, or melted and does not have to be fused between each layer. Although it does have to dry to the touch between layers. Basically oil paint is mixed with a wax medium with a palate knife to make the paint thicker and more textured.

A wonderful abstract artist that works in cold wax and one that I admire is Rebecca Crowell. Her site and blog oilandwax.ning.com has a wealth of information, and I highly recommend it if you are interested in learning about it.
I started right in and have done a few artworks to share. It is a very forgiving medium as you can paint over a painting a thousand times. Which for me is somewhat of an issue as I never know when a painting is finished. 

This is the very first attempt and I really like the vibrant colors. I didn't get as much texture as I wanted. I either need more layers or I let it dry too long (overnight) so the scratching didn't show up.

12" X 12"

This attempt has much more paint, and it really was fun to scribble on the surface. I pushed a piece of plastic mesh from a grocery bag of oranges into the surface in the upper left and middle right. It makes a very nice diamond texture. On the right side I pushed a gold oil pigment stick into the pattern when it was dry.

6"  X  6"
These 2 paintings have thin coatings of wax and oil, then I let them dry well, and went back into them with oil pigment sticks and turpentine. I am enjoying working with oil and Dorland's wax medium and I plan to keep experimenting and will share work as I go along. Both are painted on 12" X 12" cradled board.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Three Sailboats

Three Sailboats
18 x 18
This painting was done on a wood panel from American Easel. The panel has a 2 1/2" deep cradle.
This is the first time painting on this type of support and  I found the natural wood an excellent surface for the melted beeswax. I highly recommend trying it. I usually prime my panels with encaustic gesso, but with this one, I could eliminate that step and get right into the first layer of the painting. The depth also eliminates the need for a frame and keeps any warping from happening. The sides can be taped and left raw, or painted with acrylic paint.
These panels are also ideal for mixed media work because they will take a lot of scratching and scraping and it is strong enough to glue heavy objects onto it.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Olive Trees

Olive Trees
8" x 8"

This piece was inspired by a recent trip to Italy during harvest time.
There were so many beautiful fields of Olive Trees everywhere. They look, "oh so delicious", ripe and juicy, ready to be eaten. But don't eat one off the tree, they are not delicious at all. They are very bitter. Ha, ha ha,we learned the hard way.
The technique I used on this painting is called incising and each of those thin lines are made with a sharp needle tool, another clay tool, that works well in wax.
To make the line black, an oil stick in pushed into the recesses, let dry and buffed away.  Tube oil paint can also be used, but must be exposed to the air for several hours to thicken, then used.
This painting was donated to Arrowmont School of Art, in Gatlinburg for Auction. It's a beautiful campus here offering a wide variety of classes in all mediums.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Working with a hot palette

Working on an encaustic collage
The image of the bird in this painting is an image transfer on wax. Transfers on wax are so
simple to do. A copy of the image is made on a toner copy machine. The image appears in the reverse, so if there is any text it will have to be reversed before copied. The image is then turned face down and pressed to the surface. A wooden spoon or burnishing tool is now used to press the image into the wax. The back of the image is dampened with water and let rest for 3-4 minutes.  Begin rubbing gently with fingertips in a circular motion until all the paper pulp is removed. The toner ink image is left. See below for the finished painting.

Urban Landscape
22" x 22"

6" x 6"

Carolina Wetlands
18" x 18"

Plumage 8" x  8" 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Achieving a smooth encaustic surface

A Bird In This World
10" x 10"

This piece has the luminous, smooth surface that is typical of encaustic medium. Many layers are built up in the same way as a textured surface, so this painting still has approximately 8-10 separate layers. In order to get a smooth flat look, the surface must be hand scraped after each addition of paint. The paint should be slightly warm to the touch. If it is too warm, or if you scrape too deep, all the color from that layer will be removed. It's a judgement thing and takes a little practice to avoid making ridges.
For years I used single edge razor blades or long handled razor blade scrapers that house painters use.
These become dull quickly and are awkward to keep level.
I have found the perfect thing for the job, and it is used by potters for sculpting clay. It is a loop clay tool and comes in many sizes and, can be purchased where pottery supplies are sold.

I have utilized my hand dyed papers for collage and stenciling to create the crisp, bold images.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

New work, a new beginning and a commitment to share...

The last year has been devoted to encaustic wax. With construction finished on my new studio with it's custom ventilation system, designed by husband, I have been spending hours and hours working with beeswax, oil paint, oil paint sticks and oil pastels.

My  Encaustic show in January at the Emporium Gallery in Knoxville was great and I'd like to share images from the exhibit.

This piece, Shoreline, is the largest one in the show, and the largest I have done to date. It really used a lot of wax and as the size goes up so does the material costs. I can see why most work that is seen in this medium is usually in the 12" x 12" format. The surface is highly textured and embedded with shell fragments, sand from the beach, feathers, and cheesecloth. Other texture is created by letting the wax cool slightly before applying, and adding layer after layer. The finished piece has 8-10 layers of medium.You can almost smell the salty sea air after taking a closer look at this piece.

24" x 28"

detail of surface