Friday, May 25, 2012

New Class June 2

 I'm offering a new class at my studio in a couple of weeks--come join us for waxy collage fun! Mention that you saw the class on my blog and get 10.00 off tuition!

Waxy Memories

Saturday, June 2, 2012 1-5 PM
80. Supplies included! Optional: Bring toner (Kinko's type) copies of vintage photos or favorite paintings.

You'll combine copies of vintage photos or old master paintings, vintage papers, art paper, and beeswax to create mysterious and evocative collages in beeswax. You will come away from this class with two gorgeous collages and all the tools you need to keep creating collages incorporating your memories and your imagination. Register here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

New Work from Studio

A new encaustic and two works in cold wax. Fun in studio--love the sunny days.

Down Below    Cold Wax, Pigment, Oil on Wood

Your Last Visit    Cold Wax, Pigment, Oil on Wood

The Reveal    Encaustic on Wood Panel

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mummy Portraits Experiments

One of my students recommended a book to me about the Fayum mummy portraits. She shares with me a deep fascination with these lovely human portraits, painted in encaustic and cold wax in the first through third centuries AD. These portraits were done by Egyptians of Greek and Roman extraction.Scholars have noted Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and early Christian elements in the paintings.

Kelly paints icons and she pointed out to me how the mummy portraits set the scene for the look of Christian icon painting.

Flavia     Encaustic on Wood --this piece verges on the iconic

The book that has me so entranced is called The Mysterious Fayum Portraits: Faces from Ancient Egypt. The writer, an amazing painter herself, is Euphrosyne Doxiadis.

So here's the story as I understand it. When a person of means died in the Fayum and some other areas of Egypt, his/her body was embalmed and mummified. Over where the head area of the linen-wrapped mummy would be was placed a thin wood panel with a portrait of the deceased. Some of these portraits were painted just for this purpose. Others were cut down to fit from portraits the deceased had done when he/she was alive. So, researchers might find a mummy who died at 85 but whose portrait was done when he was young.( I was glad to learn this last, because most of the portraits were of younger people so that it seemed almost no one lived to old age.) One feature of most of the portraits were the expressive dark eyes.

Apparently people used to keep the mummies around the house. This may seem bizarre to us, but the loved ones of the deceased felt comforted by having them close by, and still seeing their faces. Later the mummies were dumped in graves, I'm guessing, after everyone currently living had forgotten who they were. People do this all the time now with photographs of their ancestors, as we who pick the photos up at garage sales are well aware.

Looking at the faces in Doxiadis' book is an emotional experience for me. The people gaze out across the centuries and I feel like I know them. The could be friends, relatives, and neighbors. The paintings are done in many different styles, but almost all are compelling.

I'm trying to learn how to make my own encaustic portraits that have the same lively quality. I still have a way to go, but it's a fascinating challenge. I've been experimenting with several styles used by the mummy portrait painters and I'm going to try some portraits in cold wax and pigment also.

Gaius    Encaustic on Wood

Cilla for All Time    Encaustic on Wood

Looking Away  Encaustic on Wood