Monday, February 21, 2011

"Mind Your Own Beeswax" workshop

Saturday's students pose with their work

Saturday saw "Mind Your Own Beeswax" at the studio. Five students plunged into their first (or in one case, second) experiments in encaustic. I want to share with you some photos from the class. Thanks to all the inspired and inspiring attendees! I love what you created and the fun you had doing it.

Hmmm, what color should I use next?

A 3-D encaustic collage in progress

An updated version of an encaustic
collagethis student made in one of my classes
about two years ago

Transferring a photo onto the encaustic piece

A collage made with the same image that was transferred onto another piece

3-D encaustic collages using fabric, buttons, and other elements

Lots of texture in this piece

Lots of incising here, along with collage and 3-D elements

Incising in progress

Dripped wax and crumpled teabags!

Collage, photo transfer, buttons, mosaic and paint

Painterly luminous effects

Several painterly pieces

Our end of class show--great job!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Egg Tempera Experiments

Egg Tempera Lady
(Still a bit more to be done)

I've been immersing myself in egg tempera lately, preparing for a class I'll be teaching at Art Unraveled in Phoenix this August. It's really a challenge for me to work in this medium. I love it, but it requires me to almost entirely change my habits.

I love egg tempera because of its luminosity and how well it takes layers of thin glazes. Unlike oil paint, you just can't blend it. The layers dry quickly, which is nice, but sometimes I forget I can't dab and smudge or paint wet-on wet.

I enjoy experimenting with the linear quality of the medium. If you know me, you'll know I am not usually painstaking and patient. Egg tempera requires this, so the process is a real chance for me to get outside my comfort area.

I'm also in the midst of some experiments with using a looser style with the medium to see what happens. Here's my most successful of these pieces:

Happy Onion

Being less than a pristine housekeeper, I found a couple of onions happily sprouting in the kitchen. So I painted them before they totally rotted. I feel like I got movement here as well as the luminosity of the medium. The highlights on the onion were all done with scratching into the paint layers. Rather than use purple paint, I glazed layers of red and blue over the onion.

Another challenge of egg tempera is that you should not use it over acrylic gesso. That means that ideally one should use traditional rabbit skin glue gesso as the old masters did. I know I have a date with making this kind of gesso some time in the future. (I have bought a couple of panels that were prepared with the True Gesso, and there is nothing like it.)

In the meantime, I have come up with a substitute, but I can't say how archival it will be. I mixed one part marble dust, one part water, and one part PVA glue. It may be cheating, but it feels good to paint on. Don't hate me, real tempera painters!

Egg tempera needs a rigid surface. Fortunately, wood panels are my favorite supports, so I have plenty around.

Fresco-looking Person
I scraped away paint for the highlights in
the hair and for the stars

(I don't know why my scanner makes this white line down the middle. I suppose I'll have to replace it soon. Bah.)

Here's an experiment by Gauguin in egg tempera:

Milkmaid by Paul Gauguin

Royal Pear

In the above piece, you can see how tempera looks if you use it thickly. It reminds me here of casein paint. I plan to add glazes to the background and tablecloth to make the colors richer.

The book that has helped me the most is Egg Tempera by Koo Schadler, one of the finest egg tempera artists around. As you can see she paints in the old master style with a contemporary feel.

With my lack of patience and continual shifting between mediums, I'll never be able to paint like this. But I'm having fun increasing my ability to use this amazing medium in my own way.

Egg Tempera painting by Koo Schadler

Friday, February 4, 2011

Transfer and One Space Left

Transferred Secret
(photo transfers, paper, magazine fragments, text, used tea bags, tissue paper, ink, and acrylic medium on canvas board)

I made this photo transfer collage the other night using packing tape transfers and gel medium transfers along with other collage elements. The center image, of a painting by Duccio, was done with a tape transfer. The right side (to the viewer) of her face is torn from a magazine image and is superimposed on an area where I used an acrylic gel transfer that didn't turn out (gel transfers can be tricky, even to the experienced.) I was able to line up the magazine image over the failed transfer so that it looks like there is a face under the magazine image. I love this about transfer collages--even when a transfer doesn't come out like you want, you can still integrate it into the collage.

I used Ranger re-inkers for the brilliant color, mixing them with acrylic glaze medium. I'll be giving a class in photo transfer collage in March. I'm having a lot of fun with transfer techniques and I look forward to sharing them with you!

I have one opening left for the February 19th workshop, "Mind Your Own Beeswax." Here's some student work from previous classes:

The class will cover the basics of encaustic painting, encaustic collage, and blender pen transfers with encaustic medium.

Transfers with encaustic