Monday, September 16, 2013

My First Encaustic Painting (with no assistance!)

Well! I couldn't bare to read another thing on working with wax. I had to experience the medium.  My cold wax ( that doesn't need heating) has not arrived from interstate and my 2kg bags of pure beeswax beads sat teasing me on my desk. 
So this was it, I took the plunge and melted about a 1/2 cup of bees wax in my rice cooker at home today.  I was really, really cautious of it getting too hot because I didn't have a fire extinguisher or a fire safety blanket on hand, only a picnic blanket.  I just kept telling myself " as long as it doesn't get too and start smoking I am safe! I opened up the windows for good ventilation and placed the wax in my rice cooker, once it melted I made sure it was switched onto warm.

Fusing each coat is so exciting and then as it dries it becomes clearer. I have a few panels going on so that I can work while Im waiting for the wax on the others to dry. At this stage I haven't added any Damar resin or the numerous other things I've been advised to add. Some of them are still in the post.  At least I will be able to compare these pure bees wax with other methods I use.

I had coated my pine wood  panels with Gesso but I forgot to heat it before the first layer of wax. So there is a possibility it won't be fused so well.  I also have my Tapanyaki hot plate under control keeping my coloured waxes at melting point in a muffin pan. I never did bake muffins anyway! I coloured the bees wax. with some cheap Reeves oil paints that I had never used. Also wax crayons shaved into the bees wax. I used oil pastels for drawing or adding color to the set wax. I even tried a little bit of glimmer spray that had an interesting affect...Oh I'm going to love this!

It's all a bit add hoc, and very 'zen- like', working with what I've got left on my shelves, in my home studio/office, and I guess that has always been the way I seem to work - will try anything once. If it works and I like it I'll be faithful till the end!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Passion and Commitment Overcome Frustration

After getting back from my 'winter in the country' holiday it has been all go. Thankfully all good too.
I am now settled in to my new studio. I love the location and the people I am working alongside and creativity is flowing.

I recently sold a number of paintings at the Artsource 'Open Studio Day' back in Midland and that was such an encouragement to keep going the way I am going - learning and experimenting, and I am starting to believe that my work is valued. Believing this myself has taken some time. It is much harder to take each step if I am full of self-doubt. I need to love my finished work and not just creating it.

I taught a Contour drawing class in Jackson's Paint supplies store a few weeks back and that was interesting and fun, especially as it was my first time teaching contour drawing.

I have been teaching a number of InterPlay groups and though I have been internally anxious working with new groups I've really enjoyed the work and seeing the delighted response of the participants.

On my mind now is setting up cold wax medium for the first time in my studio. 
I have been researching where I can source the ready made cold wax in Australia, at a reasonable price. I have a couple of tins of Gamblin Cold Wax Medium being delivered soon but I am also researching the recipe to make my own from Bees Wax and solvents, hopefully nice smelling citrus solvent rather than turpentine. I've been reading up on ways to safely melt the wax to the right temperature and not overheat it which can be very dangerous, especially if I decide to use encaustic - hot wax, and I'm making sure I have plenty of ventilation.
 I have been to Bunnings hardware and had some planks of plywood cut up ready to use as my substrate. Can you believe it is $1 a cut on top of the wood price. I need to find someone with a circular saw! 
There is so much to think about and all the while keeping costs down to a minimum is a challenge. The coldwax website and forum that I am a member of has been very helpful.

Information on use of tree resin is much more difficult to come by. Fortunately I have recently met an artist named Marissa who has just finished studying and is working in Bees Wax and Resin in her new studio with Artscource in Midland, where my previous studio was. She grinds up the hardened resin in a bowl and adds methylated spirits to dilute to a spreadable mixture. I'm starting to feel more like a chemist than an artist! I'm so used to just picking up of my studio shelf whatever I need and getting it onto the canvas. All this preparation is frustrating, and I am though I'm lacking in confidence,  I haven't given up yet. Passion and commitment lead the way!

Lets talk ideas!

Eleanor Roosevelt famously said that "poor minds discuss people, average minds discuss events, and great minds discuss ideas." 

New studio news coming soon...all good!