Wednesday, March 7, 2012

New Encaustic Painting

"Babel Series, #1" Encaustic & mixed medium
24 x 24

I finished this yesterday. The CD of this painting was submitted to a juried show in Detroit today. The two others I had finished were off to a gallery the day I finished them, so no pictures of them to post here yet.

This is my largest encaustic painting so far . . LOTS of wax when one goes larger. I go through the paint and medium very fast, so this means making more encaustic medium (melting damar resin crystals with beeswax in weighed proportions .. very slow process, as the damar needs higher heat and the wax lower). I would say I went through a pound of encaustic medium (different than just beeswax).

I feel drawn to use some shades of orange and burnt sienna. In my regular life I don't like orange. There is not one piece of clothing or item in my home that is orange. But I just go with what "wants" to be there. It is really useless for me to "struggle" with it. So much more fun to "go with the flow" of what wants to be there. I do love real rust (it's organic and seems almost alive as it changes and weathers). Perhaps that's where it comes from.

I  plan on continuing with my Semiotic series (signs & symbols). I had been planning on a series called "Babel" which reflects all the different manner of written and verbal communication (and perhaps confusion) around the globe. As I never know where a painting will end up when I start, I decided that this one would be the first in my Babel series. The one above has numbers and Chinese, Russian, and English characters, and the vertical is a quote in French. Besides circles I am drawn to script . . any script, and many, many signs and symbols from many cultures. What takes a while is deciding on not only the symbol, but also the technique I will use; whether to use wax or wax with oil, charcoal or graphite rubbings on the wax, or collage embedded in the wax.

Each time I do an encaustic painting, I learn new and subtle techniques (the effects of different temperatures on the surface and fusing with the torch when oil has been rubbed into the surface), so that I don't lose my intuitive intention. There is dance between control and spontaneity with encaustic for me. And the other dances I have are: combining geometric and organic; neutral (B&W) v.s. color; and space in my painting. I think that (space) will come slowly. I have a pinterest board that has "2D art with space." 

I had been going through a rather dry spell with my art, so I'm glad I can post something. I'm learning that "just doing it" starts my art engine running. Then it is humming.


  1. Love how you describe the process as a form of dance . . . like you I never know where a painting will end up color wise I just keep going with it until it feels completely. Beautiful work.

  2. Looking at your work, it amazes me that you are self taught and havn't been using this medium for long.It must get harder to handle the wax, the bigger the artwork. Amazing how you take everything in your stride. Lovely piece!

    1. Jann, Love the title, love the piece and love that you are dancing with your materials! Best of luck with your entry.

  3. Thank you, Kathryn. Dancing is much easier than struggling! :)

    Thank you, Robyn. Initially, 6 mos. of working all day, every day, to learn & hundreds of hours on the computer doing research, books, videos has taught me that if I put my mind to it (and I did with this medium), one can tacke anything! This size was manageable, but going really large like Howard & Shawna . . think I'd need an assistant (working on horizontal, then putting vertical to look gets much harder!)

    Thank you, Blue Sky. I was wondering if others knew that the word Babel comes from the Bible story (confusion with different languages).

  4. JG-this is a very beautiful piece - just love the tines but also the easy you have worked the design and the text into it - thanks for sharing. B

  5. Bonjour Jann, belle de sérénité par l'équilibre trouvé entre le dessin et la couleur, merci aussi pour vos encouragements; à bientôt: thibault

  6. Merci Thibault ... et vous êtes les bienvenus :)