Sunday, March 16, 2008

Canyon Calls 4 Encaustic Painting

I worked all day yesterday on my recent wax painting in my Canyon Calls series, punctuated by interruptions of trying to upgrade the software I use to host an online community for professional hot glass blowers (quite a unique bunch, they are!).

The upgrade, which I had avoided doing for years, went really smoothly (a testament to careful preparation) but I became so engrossed in the process of doing this latest wax painting that I pretty much forgot to take the in-progress photos I was going to do to show customers the process of making an encaustic painting. I did take one at the beginning and one after I started my "underpainting", but after that I forgot and suddenly it was both the end of the day and the end of the painting. Ooops! I'll have to do a more complete documentation of the process on my next one.

In Canyon Calls 3, I explored a little with reflections at the bottom of a canyon with towering walls. In Canyon Calls 4, I shifted to an image across a canyon valley - Monument Valley to be exact. I'm still working on my skills in working in a kind of representational style in hot beeswax (wax often does just what it wants to do and sometimes I'm not completely in charge [smile]), but I've been finding a sort of minimalist landscape style to be where I want to explore right now.

I'm still working towards my goal of 9 of these so I can display them in a grid 3 across and 3 down, so I'll begin #5 today (which is kind of number 4 because the first one I did was accepted into a nationwide exhibit tour throughout 2008 and is not available for me to show this year).

In the below photos, the first one shows my surface before I begin to add color. Encaustic artists have all different approaches to this - some have very thin initial layers and some thick (like mine). I have 10 clear layers fused together on that piece. I like how the thickness - for this series, makes the final painting really juicy looking.

Some artists paint on the sides, but I've not found a good way of doing that yet (putting the wax there is no problem for me - but heating it with a heat gun and not affecting the top layer or have the sides look "even", well, I'm not good at that yet, so I just choose to tape all the sides with painters tape and remove that at the end for clean wooden sides).

In the second photo, I have my initial layers of color. As mentioned in previous posts, I extensively use a razor blade to scrape, scrape, scrape.

And in the third photo, we jump to the end when I have added about 20 more layers with much scraping back to get the affect.

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Canyon Calls 3 Encaustic Painting

I'm continuing my work on my Canyon Calls series of encaustic paintings. Even though these are all 12x12", I'm surprised the amount of labor and attention each one requires. I'm getting handy using a razor blade to carefully scrape back the layers and layers of wax to reveal all kinds of interesting colors and patterns. Hard on the fingers and wrists but rewarding! I'm enjoying it quite a bit. Some of these now have over 50 layers of pigmented beeswax on them. I still like the first one I did in this series the best so far, but I also like the feelings I get when I display them all together.

Something about these images of canyons and wide open spaces also seem to reflect something about our interior canyons of the heart and mind for me.

I've started a fourth one (and am documenting the stages of developing it for a storyboard to show people how at least I construct my encaustics. Every artist has their own process, but I think collectors love to get a little insight into what it takes to make one of these) but my hand got too tired about 1/3rd the way into it (because I had been painting and scraping for over 5 hours yesterday), so the rest is for another day.

You can see more of my encaustic paintings here

or just all my paintings for sale here.

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