Monday, December 10, 2007

Latest Encaustic

Here is my latest completed encaustic painting:

It is called Canyon Calls and is 12x12". It is part of a diptych collaboration project I am participating in. I now send this and a blank wood panel of the same size to an artist I've been partnered with from an East Coast encaustic wax group. She will paint on the blank panel influenced by what I've already done. And she has already done her 12x12" encaustic and sent me her painting and a blank panel and I still need to paint that one influenced by her painting (she did a loosely sketched black and white figurative drawing so painting a matching piece to that will be challenging for me... but given I'm so into color and minimalist landscapes, mine will probably be challenging for her as well). It will be interesting to see how it all turns out.

The two groups have gotten together and already organized 4 or 5 exhibits for all the diptychs in different galleries and other locations around the U.S. throughout 2008. It should be interesting!

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Concrete Spheres

I took an interesting class on making sculptures using a type of concrete called acrylic concrete, which when made over an armature comes out pretty darn light-weight, for concrete. It is typically used on the outside of buildings (because it's a little more malleable than regular concrete, as a building settles and may crack, this type of concrete can handle a little movement without cracking) and in under-developed countries.

The class focused on making a sphere, which is the hardest shape to do, but any armature can be used - square or an animal shape or whatever.

The acrylic concrete is made into a liquidy slip-like material (for those who do clay, this terminology is familiar) and cut up strips of fiberglass meshing is used to give the concrete something to adhere to and build a strong structure.

Our armature was actually an inflated rubber ball, which can be of any size. When covered with two layers of fiberglass mesh - a fist-size hole is left at the bottom where the pin hole is on the rubber ball and after the concrete sets, the ball is deflated and removed through the hole. Then we used more fiberglass mesh to cover up the hole (which was hard because there was no longer an armature underneath to support it). When that was set, an more liquidy slip was used with a brush to smooth the surface and then it was all allowed to dry. It usually only takes hours but it rained that weekend so ours took longer.

Most students were going to then use their spheres to mosaic on top of them, which did look very cool, but I wanted to try encaustics on mine. Realizing this type of concrete had acrylic in it (wax does not adhere to plastics and acrylic is a form of plastics), I first had to gesso my sphere with non-acrylic based gesso.

I then added maybe over 20 layers of wax, using clear first, then oranges and yellows with a little blue (which turned out to look green under the yellow layers) and kept fusing lightly between layers with my heat gun. It began to look like the sun to me. I decided to call the piece "Solar Energy" and it will stand on a nice glass bowl support underneath.

It was an interesting and different project. I love exploring completely new mediums like that. I can see where it could get interesting with embedding things into the wax and exploring shapes other than the sphere.

Below, you will see an example of what the globes look like when they are first drying (and you can even see the blue ball inside one of them because their exposed area on the sphere is showing), a photo of how my sphere looked when the concrete was dry, and a photo of how mine looked with the encaustic layers on it.

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