Monday, October 31, 2011

Student Work from Saturday's Class

Bright colors, texture, and incising in a work that reminds me of the Abstract Expressionists

 Students had fun with their first encaustic pieces in Saturday's class. I wish the pictures were less blurry, but I am happy to be able to share them with you!

Many layers of color in this Universe

A colorful and loose riot of flowers

Especially for Halloween

Incising, bold strokes, and contrasting color--it makes me think of a hill on a rainy day

Incising and shellacking create a mysterious Victorian piece


A snowy landscape done in a loose, whimsical style

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Encaustic Class Samples

Underground (Demo of painting,collage, & shellac burning)

I did these demo samples in yesterday's "Mind Your Own Beeswax" class. It doesn't show up here too much, but I used my absolute favorite encaustic paint, R and F's Celadon for the upper part of the collage/painting. I make most of my own paints with encaustic medium and powdered pigment or oil paint. This color, though, is one I can't do without buying.

Surfacing ( Demo of collage, teabags, painting, and tea)

The Shape of Things to Come (Demo of incising, scraping, painting, and teabag)

Portland, 1938 (Demo of painting, incising, collage, and shellac burning)

I found an old book page with an ode to Portland. I included this in the demo sample which was made mostly to show students various techniques. Now that I look at it, I seem to see an undertone of part of Portland's past. A self-congratulatory city then, as now, but with fewer reasons. Portland until the sixties was mostly all-white, racist, sexist, etc. I like Portlandia better...

Next post: Student work from Saturday's class.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


A simple Wabi-Sabi piece for today

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Was It Murder??

"Cafe Solitude" by Serena

Is it possible that Van Gogh, our model for the starving, unappreciated artist was actually murdered, rather than died by his own hand? That's a theory outlined in a new book on Van Gogh. Find out more about it here.
I'm interested in reading this controversial book and the question of murder or suicide makes me think about the stories we take for granted. What would it mean for us as artists if Van Gogh didn't kill himself, but was rather going about his work of painting and trying to recover from a nervous breakdown? What if he didn't intend to give up in despair?

Vincent Van Gogh with Cut Ear

In 2009 two German art historians who had studied Van Gogh and Gauguin's friendship extensively, declared their belief that it was Gauguin who perpetrated the famous ear slicing of Van Gogh during a fight, and both artists agreed to hush up Gauguin's involvement. You can read more about this story here. If this is true, then it calls into question Van Gogh's self-destructiveness.

Did Gauguin Do It?

We'll never know for sure about any of this. But I think of how entrenched the story of the desperate genius starving in a garret has affected our view of artists. Artists are often encouraged by others to remember that Van Gogh only sold one picture in his lifetime, the idea being that most of us are doing far better than that. Or maybe that we'll be famous after we're dead.
What if Van Gogh had just kept plodding along and eventually made a modest living as a painter? Would the world still have recognized his genius? Would he have made a better role model for those of us plodding along steadily? What do you think?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pictures from "Who's Your Mummy" at Art and Soul

One of the striking Mummy Portraits

In this workshop, students learned about the Greco-Egyptian mummy portraits of ancient times and created their own encaustic paintings. Large expressive eyes were a feature of the ancient portraits and these lively faces created by students reflected this. Nice work!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mixup Stencilry at Art is...You and The Egg and I at Art and Soul

Mix-Up Stencilry

 I so regret that I don't have more pictures of this class. It was fast paced and the students kept up, doing great pieces. I had ordered a can of black spray paint for the stenciling and had a bad moment when it didn't look like it was going to work. One of the clever students figured out how the "artist-quality" fancy sprayer worked, and then we were off.  I'm not sure what happened with the rest of the pictures. I hope you can get a feel for the class from the two I have. (If you were in this class, I'd love to post a picture of your piece, if you send me one.)

Mixup Stencilty
 The piece above uses stencils designed by Judy Wise and created by Mary Beth Shaw, aka Stencil Girl.

 Art and Soul Retreat Portland followed in my retreat lineup. The students in "The Egg and I" created these wonderful paintings. Egg tempera works differently from other paints and has its own distinctive glow. We made our own paint with eggs, water, and pigment. Most of the students had painted quite a bit before, but they found the properties of egg tempera to be unusual and well-suited to their work. One student painted her first portrait ever in this class. To do your first portrait in egg tempera is no mean feat!

This painting has subtle collage elements in the background

I got in the way here in the photo, but this is an amazing piece for a first portrait!

This painting is in its first stage, but I can tell it's going to be great.

Aren't these all super?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Layered Memories Class at Art is You

A Layered Memory 

 This was another class that Judy Wise developed that I taught for her at Art is...You in Petaluma. Students brought images that they wanted to use and developed them into collages, using provided collage papers, paint, encaustic medium, and embellishments. A highlight of the class was shellac burning, which created stunning effects. The pieces included family photos and symbols of happily remembered times. We were all thrilled with the group's creations.