Saturday, July 24, 2010

Change -pain and hope

Change is often traumatic, even when you can feel it coming on as I have for almost a year now, and you have an idea what it's about and why "now". The repercussions of change are painful and exhilarating at the same time or alternating from despair to hope in the space of a day and then back again in what feels like an endless loop. But at some point it all comes to a head where you have to make a jump, and usually it feels like it's off a cliff.

Today, here, my picture is Ancient Forests - it's an 8" X 8" encaustic with shellac burn on birch luan -$125 and it's the one I brought with me to Montserrat Conference in Boston for the "Best Foot Forward" exhibit. It's fitting that this is my new beginning because it also signals the end to some of my past painting life directions.

This past week I destroyed all of my work on paper from my watercolor days and more recent acrylic work, and all the inventory I had built up for doing fairs and markets. I sold my tent and am getting rid of my tent table covers as well as most of those related art supplies. I kept some framed work and feel I will reuse canvases. I have been in deep mourning and depression about doing this but now after it's done I feel free and see joy may be around the corner.

I will be focusing on a new body of work for gallery presentation in encaustic in a relatively neutral palette with a primitive sensibility. I'm developing a theme and will use that to guide the direction of this new work. I've chosen this as my primary medium for right now - it's very physical work, there are many elements to experiment with, wax has a venerable history and I'm drawn to everything about it. I will be using venetian plaster as my ground (thank you Kandy) on wood cradles. To that end I've set up my studio in my garage where I have good ventilation, a big rough space, large tables with heating matts, overhead lights and new propane and butane tools.

As I move forward and especially as I begin to miss the intense color I am used to painting, I'm going to begin relearning to paint figurative patterned work in oil paint and again I will be developing a theme which will guide my process and development of new work. And yes I have a partially formed idea of what it will be. It's how I knew that change was coming. I kept having these ideas of work that was so different than my abstract color work from my past.

I've contracted with myself to work intensely in these directions and bring some new pieces into the world and I am feeling new energy about it. Hope you will like my new directions. Oh, and yes now I wear a respirator all the time when I paint.

Do any of you readers want to share your change stories?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Montserrat and Beyond

Well what a fantastic experience - going to the Montserrat Encaustic Conference in Beverly Massachusetts.

Here is a small shot of the exhibition of everyone who attended the conference. We were each allowed to bring one of our encaustic paintings and hang it on the board called "Best Foot Forward" . Since there were nearly 250 attending this turned out to be quite the gallery. It was on the second floor of the School building where all of the demo's and talks were being held and where all the vendor's were selling their wares. So we got to go by it frequently and see the new additions.

I met up with 2 painters from Omaha Nebraska named Tricia and Betsy and all together we took in the 4 day event which was packed full of lectures and panel discussions as well as great restaurants and the conference demo's and lectures. In addition there were 4 other gallery shows in the area sporting encaustic works - one of them called "Wax Libris" met us first thing on the morning of the first day as we picked up our registration packets in the Montserrat Library since it was a show of waxed book arts - absolutely charming and amazing. I'll be showing you pictures of this next.

And other than the show itself and the good company I kept, I was charmed and overwhelmed by the beautiful surrounding landscapes, the port and nearby Salem where we made an excursion to. More about that later. It was a cool 65-70 degrees too so just right for my northwest coast sensibilities.

And it helped me choose the direction I want to focus on more clearly as encaustic. So you'll be seeing more wax paintings as I go forward.