Thursday, February 27, 2014

Old Cloth Tape

Old cloth tape being used as added linear elements.  In the photo above, the tape has been waxed in with medium and fused.  In the lower photo, you can see that I've cut out a stripe, removing one layer of the collaged ledger paper.  The tape will again be adhered and fused.  You can also see in this shot where I previously added some copper leaf.  Likewise, you can see in the top photo added Japanese washi, delicate semi-transparent papers. As this piece continues, some of the elements I've added may be covered up - that's just part of my process. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Holes in the Map


A large area had been collaged with beautiful old atlas pages and I wanted to introduce a pattern within that shape, because I'm interested in creating a feeling of complexity.  This series of photographs shows my process of cutting circles using that little wax can as a template and lifting out the map section, revealing the grid underneath.  Once all were cut, I cleaned out the excess wax with small sculpting tools. I turned to my old 'real' blueprints and using the same template and cut inserts for all the circles.  These were adhered with an application of encaustic medium, then fused with the heat gun.  Notice in that top photo that the wax is already developing a fine luster.  

Sunday, February 23, 2014


This work combines both my work-ways, as it is encaustic with five brooches.  Today I"m getting this work and two others on their way to New Bern, NC where they will be on view at the Craven Arts Council 
during March. Solution for Zee

Thursday, February 20, 2014


In other news, I sent off these pieces (necklace, bracelet, and brooch) of jewelry to the show Chroma in Manteo, NC yesterday. The show will be in the College of the Albemarle Gallery from March 5 to April 3.  I enjoy working in two totally different ways, paint and metal.   With the metal, I use found metal, often lithographed tin from vintage cans and such, and this work becomes whimsical in nature.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Encaustic Triptych Progress

More collage is applied.  Too architectural plans are printed on less desirable paper now, and so the wax does not permeate these plans as I'd hoped.  I have some old blueprints that I may turn to.  Fusing with a heat gun is necessary as new elements are added.  This ensures that the wax, paint and paper become solidified together.  More later. 

Monday, February 17, 2014


I add paint to some of the sections, white and brown, and begin adding collage elements.  I choose from a hoard of old papers and books (yes, I collect) - I look for papers that are soft surfaced, usually easiest found in older papers.  I am attracted to marks, the linear marks found on maps, handwritten ledgers and schematic drawings such as blueprints.  Collage papers are applied with the clear encaustic medium, which acts as an adherent because it is able to permeate the paper and become fused to the waxy surface.  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Design Begins

Placing the panels on the floor helps me look at the piece in its entirety, plus gives me easy access to draw the beginning shapes in.  For the drawing, I use oil sticks which resemble a large piece of chalk full of oil paint.  As I work I'm considering continuity from one panel to the next, and repeating geometric elements of different sizes.  That garbage can top gives me a perfect small circle, and an outdoor table top made making the large circles easy.  For me, a successful triptych means that each panel works as a single composition, and the three pieces together form an interesting composition as well. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Paint, Fuse, Scrape

Here I painted over the previous texture a dark neutral blue.  After fusing, I'm able to scrape the boards, removing the excess blue and revealing a nice, irregular grid.  This will serve as my base, I'll start building larger elements to the composition next.  I will use geometric shapes and found papers - some of those papers will be the architectural plans for the home in Linville.  

Encaustic paint consists of the usual pigments found in all paint, dissolved in beeswax with a significant quantity of damar resin.  Melted paint can be brushed or poured - I use brushes in almost all cases.  The damar resin is an important ingredient, as it lends a hardening element which cures over time.  Encaustic paintings are very stable in most environments because of this - I have had encaustic works on my own mantel this winter with gas logs burning below with no problems.  

The Fayum mummy portraits, discovered in the 1960's in Egypt are true examples of the lasting qualities of encaustic paintings.  This group of portraits dates to Coptic Egypt, 100-300 A. D. 


Thursday, February 13, 2014


A grid is a wonderful compositional device, and I use it here.  Using semi-opaque light neutral encaustic, I painted over a nice piece of landscape screening.  When I pulled the screen off, there was the texture. Encaustic is so malleable!  I can add paint, and take away - you'll see.  

An Unexpected Development

What's the unexpected development?  Writing a blog!  I'm not a writer, but I do see a benefit to putting down the process of my work in the studio. I am primarily a painter and encaustic is my usual choice of media, frequently with additional media mixed in.  I also make work with metal; I'll share some of that here also.  My art making practice is  intuitive - I start with a general idea, however I allow the work itself to speak to me, leading me down new paths.  This blog is a great example of a new path I felt I needed to follow.  Let's see where it goes.

 I'm working on a commissioned triptych and taking process shots as the piece develops.  The work is encaustic mixed media and the three panels each measure 30 x 48 inches. This work will hang on a beautiful, tall stone fireplace in a home near Grandfather Mountain.  The hardest part of most projects is getting started sometimes - once I begin the piece seems to roll forward - guiding me. First job; paint the edges with oil paint, and lay down several layers of fused encaustic to form a bed.