Sunday, May 29, 2011

Spring Finches

It's so darned nice to see the birds back. This time of year it's the cliff and barn swallows, the goldfinches and their cousins the little purple finches and of course the hummingbirds.

The swallows are so joyful in flight, they are mesmerizing to watch. They build their nests all over our buildings on top of our knoll so we also get to see the babies hatch and learn to fly here. They are constantly zipping around catching insects in flight and I feel like they keep the mosquitoe's at bay for at least awhile.

The finches which normally have plenty to feed on since the grasses grow very heavily here, are sometimes, like this year, a little too early so we subsidize with a thistle feeder and they frequent it heavily. We taper this seed feeding off later in the summer as the natural seeds become abundant.

Here's a look at the feeder with birds. Endlessly fascinating to watch. We had to move it from where we initially placed it - overhanging the bank - because the neighbors cats just got a little too close and a little too interested.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Plaster "thang"

So in my studio over the retreat period I got interested in experimenting with plaster on board and how it would take the heat.

Here is one of 3 plaster pieces I did and it's such a nice material to work with. It dries fast and takes a burn really nice as you can see. I'll be doing some more with this material.

I like the whiteness of the surface as well and the plain encaustic medium goes over the surface and adheres. In keeping with the low color this type of preparation works well and adds lots of texture variety to paintings.

I've got 6 places filled for my Picture Attic class in June now and already 2 or 3 places filled for the Encaustic Class I'm teaching for Trails End Art Association. I'm looking forward to meeting the people who will be coming and seeing what the classes yield in terms of the work - it's always very rewarding. I'll take some pictures too and post them here.

After some very dreary weeks of late rain it looks like the temperature is climbing here into the high 50's and even a day or 2 of low 60's. The wind has turned to a more warm weather pattern and people are planting their gardens up. Two nights ago though it was still 37 degrees out. Spring may be around the corner and people here are breathing a big sigh of relief that outdoor activities are too. I got some gladiola bulbs and dahlia bulbs into the ground and look forward to some nice flowers this year.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Here is a new encaustic I did from my retreat last month. It's another one of my Little Gems (8" X 8" on self framed birch panel for $150).

This one is called Red Gold Seal and I used a texture devise, a stamp, a fabric ribbon and wax plus my new Iwatani torch which helps make things much smoother than I have been able to do before.

I found out about this torch at the last years Encaustic Conference in Beverly Massachusettes at Montserrat College - this years Encaustic Conference is going to be held in Cape Cod at Truro Art Center there - if you're interested in this go to this blog and find out all about the great presentations and activities they are having this year :

Doing new work energized me to get my website renewed and updated so back into that well I went. Go to my updated website (website address is the same) and check it out here: I do have all of my recent encaustic work here so you can see the new directions I'm going.

I use a template driven website from Network Solution and it works very well and I can update it myself without knowledge of programing or program language.

You'll notice on my website that I have now joined the Trails End Art Association in Gearhart Oregon. I've missed having a cohesive community of artists to interact with and I have found them here at this great place. They own their own building which houses a gallery for the members and functions much as a Co-op Gallery and another space which functions for general meetings, art classes and just general daily meetings of artists doing great art work together. I feel right at home. Come by and see our member exhibitions which hang all month - the gallery is open Wednesdays thru Sunday 10-3 and starting in June it will be 10-5.

My teaching schedule for this summer is also posted on my website with contact and registration information but just so you know I'll be teaching these 2 Encaustic classes locally:

  • 1 day Beginning Encaustic on Saturday June 4th at Long Beach, WA
  • 1 day Beginning Encaustic on Saturday August 20th at Trails End Art Association in Gearhart, OR

I also had a playdate last Sunday with a friend who came over to work in my studio with me and we had a fun time waxing and experimenting. We'll play again soon Jean :-).

The weather this Spring has been pretty horrendous - we are still getting winter-like, soggy, rains and wind, with daytime temperatures running mostly in the low 50's. The advantage is it has allowed for more inside painting time without the distraction of too much gardening and yard work. So have fun in your own studio!