Encaustic number 9: Green is Gold. Still working on techniques and getting the feel of the iron and wax. I’m an abstract artist. I like to splatter and throw paint. Haven’t figured out how to do that with wax…yet. I decided I would like to do 100 paintings using encaustic on paper with the iron. This is number 9. Quite a lot to go. My hope is that by the time I get to 100, I will have more control. I’m looking forward to this adventure.
I live in Tennessee. Winter in Tennessee is just gray. That’s all you can say. Our trees are bare and gray. Our rocks are limestone and gray. Our sky is cloudy and gray. But finally it is spring! I’m sitting here having my morning coffee and looking out my window at the rain. The sky is gray, but the trees are full of leaves and the grass is green. This is not just any green. It is the richest, most beautiful green! As the rain covers the leaves it saturates them with its life giving nectar. The color is even more intense. This green has a richness, a sparkle to it. Wherever you are today, take a moment to notice something green. You can’t help but feel life pulsing through you!
Encaustic number 7: Music of the Spheres. Ok this one started out as an attempt to do flowers. I have watched countless hours of YouTube videos on how to do encaustic. If you want to see some nice flowers, check it out at http://youtu.be/bxzStdOI8-8. So I heated up my iron and off I went. My flowers did not look like these. Oh well. So mine became Music of the Spheres.
All my life I have been in awe of space. I love the vastness and colors and mystery of it. Man has always been fascinated by the cosmos. What lies beyond the edge of the Milky Way? Is there life on other planets? How far can one travel? How long will this universe live? As I referred to in an earlier post, Russia launched the first space satellite in 1957. I was 6 years old. I sat for hours imagining what the tiny orb saw as it hovered out there in space. Now we have the images from the Hubble telescope, what glorious abstract images it sends back to us earthbound beings. The imagination goes wild. As I worked on this tiny piece of paper, I could only laugh at my meager attempt to create this finite replica of infinite space. Can you see beyond the edge of the paper. Let your spirit expand and allow yourself to experience your own music of the spheres.
Encaustic #8: In the Pink. We often use colors as references to how we feel. I feel so blue. I’m so mad I see red. It seems there is a black cloud over my head.
“In the pink” is an English idiom used to describe someone who is in the absolute best possible physical condition. People often use this phrase to describe someone who is in peak condition without any significant ailments worth mentioning. This phrase is often used to as a way to contrast someone who is not feeling well or has a variety of maladies. While the origin of “in the pink” as an indicator of health is hard to ascertain, the phrase can be traced back from when it was used to describe anything that was the best example of a particular group.
I think the colors you are surrounded by can influence your mood. Today I’m wearing gray! Oops. But the sun is out, the sky is blue and I’m looking at a beautiful, bright happy pink painting. No matter where you are or the condition (color) of your surroundings you can always find a color to lift your spirits. Look through a magazine or better yet, pick up a crayon and make your own happy color. You’ll feel so much better!
Encaustic number 6: I’m getting more confident! To get the texture you must lift the iron straight up instead of running it smoothly across the paper. I love texture! My paintings usually have a fair amount of texture and that is from using thick acrylic paint or some sculpting medium. With encaustic on this glossy paper, the layer of wax is paper thin so in this case it is more of an illusion of texture. This was my favorite painting of the first group.
The movement of the iron across the paper gives the illusion of waves. After adding the texture, the waves became a rather turbulent sea. In the distance however you can see the bright rays of the golden sun. Sometimes life is like a furious ocean. The waves come at you from every direction. The sky feels dark and life seems out of your control. You suddenly throw up your arms and surrender to the will of the universe. Then, from out of nowhere comes that bright golden light; that universal consciousness that envelopes you in warm loving arms. Next time life throws a big wave at you, try to going with the flow instead of fighting against the current. Step back and breathe. Put your trust in a higher power and watch for that magical, golden sun.
Encaustic number 5: Sputniks. The technique I learned in this exercise was to dip the hot tip of the iron into the block of wax and try to paint with the molten wax. I got little drops of white. I then used the tip of the iron to spread the wax from the center of the drop. Interesting. This little painting is called “Sputniks.”
When I was a child the space race was just beginning. It’s hard to realize that when I was born there were no space ships. At least not spaceships from earth! I clearly remember the Russian Sputnik. What a funny name I thought. Here was this object that man created and launched thousands of miles into space to orbit the earth. In my imagination I could see thousands of these things flying around in the sky. They were all colors! They floated effortlessly through space. The other thing I remember is Sputnik bubble gum. It was a big gum ball. It was bumpy and blue and had a flavor like no other gum!
This is encaustic number 4. I was moving right along. I had been afraid of the iron, the paper and the wax. The tools felt really foreign to me. My left brain was telling my artist hand how to move but somehow the signal didn’t quite make it to the metal “paintbrush.” Wax is not paint and a hot iron is not a traditional paintbrush! Wax on wax off! Thanks Mr. Miyagi! After working on this piece for a bit, I finally got something I could live with. It looked like a western landscape! I had accomplished my goal! I would live to wax another day! I would bask in the “warm, waxy, afterglow.”
Learn to Bamboo
Encaustic number two: the technique was to make the wax image look like bamboo. Remember I’m using an iron as my paintbrush. My hands were still shaking with anticipation. I was out of my comfort zone for sure. It looks a little bamboo, don’t you think? Wax on!!!
I heard Dee Wallace say that if you don’t have a dream you begin to age. What a true statement. Age is a state of mind. Yes the body gets slower, and maybe more wrinkled, but that should not stop us from living life to the fullest. It is never too late to learn something new. Is there something you have always wanted to try? Why not do it? Do it once just to do it. Do again and again because you love it. I have a very precious artist friend who is 86 years old and she is amazing! She pushes me every day. Our latest adventure has been in the world of encaustic or painting with hot wax! The name comes from the Greek word enkostikos, which means ” to burn.” The process has been around for thousands of years and some of the work survives in museums today. It uses a mixture of beeswax and damar resin that is heated and applied to a support. The medium has unlimited possibilities. I’ll be posting some of my efforts in the next few days. I have been very careful to number each piece so I can see the progress of my work. I have been working on 4×6 inch cards, so the actual work is small. I hope you enjoy the soft lines and vivid colors. And remember, you are never too old to start something new!
In the Valley of Teal