Monday, August 15, 2011

New encaustic and thoughts on editing an image

This encaustic was inspired by the black and tan palette sometimes used in kuba cloth. Everything except the circles, which is encaustic paint, are collage elements (pages from an old book, and strips of black asian paper).

Trying to find a spot outside that didn't produce glare on the surface, I put it on a rubber mat near the back door. I really liked the juxtaposition of the "iron gate-like" design behind it, when I looked at the photograph, so I didn't crop it. The curves and symmetry of iron gates have always fascinated me. Perhaps I'll use a suggestion of these curves in a surface at some point.

. . . and a closer, cropped view

Images don't come fast to me. I have to sit with them a while. I thought of putting something else on the surface to break up the symmetry, but I decided to leave it as is. That brings me to another "dance" I have with editing a surface, not putting too much in. I am usually drawn to paintings that have space combined with interesting things, and I am drawn to symmetry. I know this dance will come to resolution at some point as I work.

I have about 23 surfaces on cradled panel with oil and cold wax that I've been letting sit a while. Occasionally an idea of what to do next pops up. Then comes the feeling of whether it will be successful to me if I leave it as it is. And then comes the thought of whether it will be successful to others. I suppose this is where courage comes in . . to forget about others and go with my gut . . another dance (probably originating from art school!). What is enough and what is too much? When does "a lot" work in an image and when does it not?

So when I'm stuck (as with the oil and cold wax surfaces), I go to the encaustic. It's fast (hardens quickly) yet can be removed with scraping and collage elements are easy to incorporate.

I'm also working on 24 x 24 panels with collage (old papers) and acrylic to hopefully finish for a submission deadline to a gallery show. I'm so used to taking a lot of time with a surface . . . most likely, they will not be finished. It kind of feels like something created in a short time is cheating. Where did THAT irrational thought come from?!?!


  1. Finally, I have more time to look ... and I see great art work here ...! Really nice ... :-)

  2. Hello! 23 surfaces! You've been busy. Where does that "short time is cheating" thought come from? I battle with that too. When I think about it, most of my best work happens really fast, like I can't get it out quick enough!

  3. This looks great and I agree about it working well with the mat it's sitting on.

    I also find the best work is the quickest. When inspiration is given the opportunity to flow freely instead of being over-rationalized, I find you end up with the most authentic results.

  4. Hi Brbulka . . thank you for stopping by and commenting!

    Carole . . Yes . . I've been busy. I do love it when I'm first putting on paint (the foundation) and not thinking but just enjoying. Have to do more of that!

    Hi Kyran . . Thank you for looking and your comment. I agree with you, but I have quite a dance with analyzing v.s spontenaeity.

  5. wonderful collage. the shapes and colors seem to move back and forth in space. i like the contrast of collage elements and just a bit of encaustic.

    the question of too much too little is also a debate when one writes. and that is up to the editing part of the brain. have you ever read a novel that goes on and on and you could just take out your red pencil and cross out pages and make it so much better?

    the say less is more. but sometimes you have to put in the more to find the less. LOL

    good luck with your show submission. 23 panels in process sounds like a lot of work to me, and "feels" fast. Fast and slow are really sort of hard to define. sometimes when things seem slow on looking back later they appear to have happened fast. and vice versa.

  6. I do the dance in the opposite direction, so this was a really interesting post to read. You're right about the courage. It seems I am always twirling around concepts of "enough" and "too much," because at heart I am a "too-much-ist." Have been feeling the "cheating" too, as I prepare for an art fair. Nice to not feel so alone in all this on this lovely morning! Thanks!

  7. Hi Suki! Thank you. After you mentioned the "moving back and forth", I realized it did and was probably why I chose not to put an assymetrical drawing on top (like writing or symbols, etc.). I think I will call it "Vibration" or "Vibratory". Thanks for coming by and commenting.

    Hi Laura. I appreciate your comment! It's also nice for me to know others have similar inner "dances." I am learning that most artists share common dilemnas.

  8. Bonsoir Jann, c'est beau et cette sensation qui vous a habitée dans la contemplation de l'oeuvre en création a été bien restituée; laisser vaguer ses yeux sur la surface pour que le regard pénètre comme une méditation.

  9. Bonjour Thige. . Merci pour votre visite et votre gentil commentaire!

  10. I don't know how I missed this post! The image of your art with the iron work in the background is very striking. It should be on Tumblr :-)
    Love the cropped view as well of course!

  11. Thank you for your support, Robyn! I did it!

  12. JG - great piece of work - being a a person who likes square I do like the detail and like that you left it - sometimes we artist fuss too much and just overwork things. B