May 17, 2011

I just had to try these new 6"x8" panels out--interesting format to work with. 

Color Experiments with Encaustic - Beginning another grid made of 6x6" panels

Working with color in encaustic is unlike anything I've done before.  There is a definite learning curve.  It isn't watery like watercolor, but flows like watercolors when you heat the surface.  Most of the colors are opaque unless greatly diluted with encaustic medium, again, the opposite of what I've done in watercolor for so many years, when I used the opaques so sparingly.  Like acrylics, there isn't a lot of time to work, not because the encaustics will "dry," but because they'll cool.  Heat becomes your best friend; I prefer using a torch to a heat gun because it doesn't blow the surface wax around.  There is a vibrancy and surface lustre which continues to draw me in.  It is a constant add, subtract, layer, scrape, gouge, fill in process which I enjoy for its malleability and unpredictability.  This is the beginning of another potential grid of color.  I want each piece to stand on its own, but also want the grid to work together.  My hope is for the panels to speak to one another, as individuals.  We'll see what happens in the next few months!  Above are two panels in warm colors layered over cool.

I naturally gravitate toward cool colors; using warm colors feels a bit out of my comfort zone.  I love Morgan Freeman's narration of "Through the Wormhole."  In one of the episodes, which describe cutting edge discoveries and pursuits in understanding the universe, he references the "particle zoo."  This would be a collection of particles you get when you blast a neutron apart (or is it a proton?  I can't remember, but like the idea of lots of particles!)  This piece reminds me of a particle zoo.  A distant goal is to work really large; perhaps 32x40" panels or so, in encaustic.  Getting the DVD series of "Through the Wormhole" would be a great inspiration for a new series!

Panels 5-7 of the 9 panel grid
 I worked on these panels about a week ago and finally got around to taking photographs of them.  Each panel expresses ambiguity, while the composition attempts to push the lights, midtones and darks into different permutations.  It is challenging and fun to work with what I hope is a sensitive line, and values which create movement and energy.  For me, the feeling is rather dark, turbulent, ominous; perhaps a bad dream or a dark day.

May 4, 2011

Beginning the Grid

I started this series of drawings about a week ago.  They were a lot of fun and it is freeing returning to abstraction and focusing on sheer emotion.  I get a feeling of turbulence, a tossing and turning, and am happy with my continual state of ambiguity.  Byron thought it could be the sea, or sky, or microscopic.  I like that it is not literal.  These drawings were done with an aquarelle pencil, which needed to be continually sharpened, and played with line in various sections of each grid.  I then used permanent black ink in large areas.  The ink I used was kind of disappointing; not black black, kind of blotchy black.  I need to remember that.  But now that I've started, perhaps I'll stay with it.  We'll see.  The next step was to glue each drawing onto a 10"x10" cradled baltic birch panel, and then layer encaustic medium and then graphite powder.  A little wintergreen oil rescued some of the lights that got too dark.  Lesson learned.

May 3, 2011

Six Encaustic Paintings in the Works Today -  One Finished

Remembrance, 24x18"

I'm continuing to explore working with color in encaustic, and as always, trying to find the kind of mark making that feels like me, and feels "right."  Working in color in this medium is still new; the shoes aren't broken in yet, but I'm enjoying the process of learning and don't have too many blisters yet.  Continuing to think about how to equate or express emotion with color, line, texture, shape is a good challenge as it is a wide open and neverending pursuit.  As in music, I'm trying to discover the major and minor keys, the harmony and discordance.  But good or bad (results), it's really all good, as I'm learning, learning, learning.  This piece, as with most of my color encaustics done in 2011, have been painted over failed grad work--failed photos, failed encaustics, so it feels really good to be under this piece, but as in the others in which I've worked this way, I let a little bit of the photo peek through.  It continues to be a challenge to photograph finished works or works in progress due to the shiny wax surface, so I'm including some closeups, which I find inspirational for future paintings.