Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rebecca Crowell's oil & cold wax workshop, Davenport, Iowa

I had been wanting to take a workshop from Rebecca Crowell as soon as I had discovered her work on the web. Then I saw that she had created a website,, which I joined even though I was working in encaustic and had no work to post. I had discovered how much I love wax and oil through teaching myself encaustic (although the only similarity between encaustic and cold wax is oil paint, and that wax is used in both, different mixtures, different techniques, cold v.s. hot, but that's another story), and this was another way for me to combine oil paint with a medium other than liquin, to get more depth, texture, and layers. Below are four of Rebecca's paintings . .

The ones I have posted here range from higher-keyed neutral to more saturated color, cool blue to warm rust, all with subtle layering, marks, scratches, and rich, and those wonderful subtle nuances that draw me in to these paintings. 

I live in southeast Michigan, and Davenport, Iowa (when I looked at a map) was just past the west border of Illinois, and so not that far from  me (as I'm used to driving to Rhode Island to visit my son and his family). The workshop was held in a wonderfully renovated old building, The Bucktown Center for the Arts (ac . . it was hot and humid), an elevator, outside ramp, brick walls, with many large windows. Pictures below  . . 

. . the front

. . and the back.

Our group, left to right: Jacki, Laura, me, Helen, Carolyn, Rebecca, Dianne, Jennifer

Such a nice group of women! . . that wonderful, midwest friendliness I so love. Jacki (far right) & Helen (4th from left) were wonderful hosts. They also have studios in the Center. Some workshop pics of Rebecca teaching and us working. 

While we worked . . Rebecca also worked!

 . . . watching Rebecca demonstrating

Dianne from Chicago

L to R . . Rebecca, Dianne, Laura, Jacki

Carolyn from Massachusetts

Jacki, Jennifer, Dianne, Rebecca

Dianne and Helen

As you can see from these pictures, the building and set-up were great!! The room was very large (wood floors, brick walls, tall ceilings) with lots and lots of very large windows . . and . . it was air-conditioned (that was when the midwest and east were experienceing very hot, unseasonalble weather). We each had a large table to spread out our panels and materials.

And Rebecca . . she was everything I had heard about her . . kind (she brought tools for us to purchase [silicon bowl scraper, brayers], samples of Gamblin coldwax & paint to use), engaging, warm, willing to answer any question . . any time; an experienced professional artist with a wealth of information (powerpoint presentation on visual thinking, her residency in Spain; her generous sharing of all her techniques), and, for those who wished to participate, a session on marketing work. The very large room we were in made it easy to accomodate all this. And, at the end of the last day, as we all went from table to table, I was impressed by her respect for the individuality of each artist's personal, unique vision, palettes, tastes, techniques, ideas.

I love talking process, concept, technique, philosophy, etc. with other artists. I wish it had gone on for a week!!

And below . . something I haven't done on this blog . . is sharing some unfinished work, that I started in class. I know I'll go back to encaustic AND combine the two, but for now, I have eight panels I started in the workshop and have been working on since I came home and three larger panels. So it may be a while before I post finished pics of these. 

Detail of panel below

I have a strong feeling that this one will end up completely different than this pic, but I like the fact that it has some intense cad orange "peeking" out from below the surface (I almost never use saturated color, so a change for me, although I love burnt sienna and rust.).

The only regret I have about this workshop is that it didn't last longer!! I look forward to taking Rebecca's advanced oil and wax workshop. Also check out Rebecca's blogspot, Contemporary Abstractions. . . scrolling through the posts, I've found posts that address issues I struggle with . . like patience! . . a reminder to me to cultivate patience.