Dawna and I were each challenged by completing a piece to complement the other's style. I am thrilled with what she came up with!
Artists of the International Encaustic Artists (IEA) pair up with artists of New England Wax (NEW) to create collaborative works in encaustic. Each artist in the pairings created one half of a two panel painting or “diptych” and then completed the dialogue as the work was then sent to the partner artist to create the other half.
Two Parallel Exhibition April 2008
Here's what I wrote for my artist statement about creating art for this project:
Participating in the diptych project has been exciting and challenging. I have definitely been nudged out of my comfort zone. I’m not a gambler, but I did enjoy the risk of the unknown in signing up for the project. Who would my East Coast partner be? What kind of work would this person create? What size would it be? What would she think of my work? Would I be able to match her style?
When I found out that Dawna Bemis was my diptych partner I immediately “googled” her. I was delighted with what I saw of her work and glad to have such an able partner. Her emails were warm and encouraging. I liked the size of the original work that she sent me. But, oh, dear, her encaustic piece contained some straight lines and exact circles. I am not an exact sort of person, so this gave me pause. I decided to work on my original to send Dawna before attempting to complete hers. What I sent her was very much in my own style. It included a woman’s face, hand-decorated paper, and various other elements. In our emails Dawna and I admitted to each other that our styles were very different and the completions would be challenging. In the piece Dawna sent me she had written in very small letters, “What If They Find Out?” I decided to use this as the title and a guiding theme for the piece I would make to complete hers. It seemed to fit the feelings I had putting my work “out there” to my encaustic artist peers. The title added a note of humor that reminded me not to take myself too seriously.
I will admit it, I struggled. I put off completing my piece. I wanted to pick up themes of Dawna’s piece but had to stay true to my own style. I used colors very close to hers and incorporated her circles and vertical stripes. As I started working I began to loosen up and have fun with my piece. I decided to add a collaged drawing of a mermaid as Dawna’s piece made me think of being underwater. My mermaid is smiling slyly as she holds her apple and wonders if she will get away with the daring act of being herself. I finished the panel rapidly once I started and wondered why I had waited so long. As of this writing, I have not seen the panel Dawna made in response to the piece I sent her. I can hardly stand it—I am so curious!
I am so appreciative of all the love and hard work put into this project by the organizers and participants. Let’s do it again!
If you've always wanted to paint but haven't started yet, or if you know someone who just needs a little nudge...
No, I’m not talking about a compassionate clairvoyant, but a fun and supportive acrylic workshop for beginners! We’ll cover many ways to use acrylics and we’ll experiment with mixing colors. Bring two canvases or canvas boards in a size you’d like to work in: everything else is supplied. You'll be proud of the two original paintings you take home!
The Art of Your Life Studio