Sunday, October 30, 2011

The beginnings of two encaustic paintings . . .

I've had a painting block for a while. My knee "went out" after I completed my painting wall (also decided to finish some painting on the studio walls and shelving) and was moving/organizing things in my studio. The next step I had planned was to paint the floor. That thought must have been a little overwhelming. So I just shut down for a while. Painting with hot wax is enticing to me, so I pushed on. I usually don't post my process, as the finished piece is SO different from the beginnings. But I know how much I enjoy it when others show their process. So here goes . . The following are the beginnings of two paintings . . each 16 x 24. The colors are not accurate, as "I" am photographing!

After priming and fusing (butane torch) the wood surface with clear encaustic medium (beeswax & damar resin), I painted two layers of white encaustic paint and fused. (From now on I am creating a background surface . . far from the finished painting). Then I rubbed some brown pigment oil stick into different areas. At the top I rubbed in some black oil stick. After very lightly fusing I let it rest 24 hrs.

This next picture is after I started using layers of encaustic paint mixed with medium (this is like mixing acrylic paint with water or oil with solvent). Some colors were tan, some rust, some brown, fusing between all the layers. I am fusing very lightly, as a heavier fusing would distort the surface. 

The beginnings of my next painting . . .

On this wood surface I did many overlapping layers of beige, tan, and grey paint. This time, as I was fusing, I purposely used the flame of the torch to move the paint around.

In this image (above) I used a heated tack iron to flatten some of the surface and blend some of the colors.

This next step (above) changed the more golden tones to greys and charcoal. As you can see in this next detail shot of the above, the iron left the kind of surface texture that happens when an iron is used. I had decided to rub the surface with graphite oil stick to bring out this surface texture.

This last detail show shows the oil stick that is "caught" in the wax that was created from ironing the surface.

This paintings will most likely be entirely different as I progress. I also thought I'd show you the fans that are running as I paint with the molten wax. The first pic below is a fan that was original to the 1932 building. No air conditioning then, so this sucks air from the inside to the outside. It is on the wall just below the ceiling.

Originally, when I moved in, the wiring had been cut. After getting it rewired, I discovered that the suction wasn't strong enought to pull the fumes (when the surface is fused, it goes above 220 degrees and creates fumes that need to be ventilated) out of the room. I was going to create something to direct it out toward the exhaust fan . . a pretty daunting task with dryer duct over the work area to the ceiling and into the fan. But I tried directing the fumes away from the work table with a floor fan directed toward the exhaust fan . . and it worked!!! Whew!! Much easier!

So when I paint with encaustic I have two fans going at once. The large old one near the ceiling is pretty loud, but when I'm working I don't notice it and have gotten used to it. It works!

So there you have it. Aaahhh . . . the little "extra" steps that involve creating art!!!! That's why they call it "WORK"! . . but . . fun work!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Building a painting wall for large paintings

I had been planning on constructing this painting wall for a few years. My home is the upstairs of a former hardware store (before that a meat market) built in 1932, and the main floor is my studio. It was built for a family business, and so the upstairs is like the home of an  old house rather than a commercial area. There is 24" shelving all round the base of the room, and about 7ft above that is another shelf. I finally figured out how to make myself a painting wall (for large paintings) without taking out the very sturdy and well constructing shelving. Here are some pics . . haven't finished yet. I have to wait for my aunt to come by and hold the lumber and sheetrock while I drill in the screws. I realized I couldn't do it myself. So I must wait until she can come by to help.

I also made a great 4' x 6' table with two hollow core doors and four saw horses. I love it!!!

As I seem to be mostly right brained, I am going to feel very proud that I have constructed this on my own. I don't like working with numbers (I like them in paintings!), so instead of trying to figure it out by calculation (which wasn't working . . have to have a visual), I purchased an 8', 2 x 4, put it up against the shelving, and realized from that what direction I needed to take (won't go into a long explanation!). I will post pics of the completed wall. I have decided to use cradled wood panels instead of canvas for oil painting. It's necessary for oil and cold wax and encaustic, but I'm also drawn to go back to just oil, and this way I can really attack the surface with subtractive techniques. Wow . . that word "attack" is pretty strong! :-)