Encaustic Workshop #2!

 I went to my second encaustic workshop today with Bridgette Guerzon Mills. It was awesome to get back into it again! It was actually a great way to jump start using my own supplies. I don't have the best set up right now because I have to use the encaustics in my kitchen. I really didn't take into consideration the fact that I would need access to 3 outlets. Anyways here are some photos from our day at Perfical Sense Studio!
 Today Bridgette showed us how to do some different types of image transfer techniques. In these pictures we are doing some wet transfers by burnishing and then getting the paper wet and peeling it off. The toner from the paper literally transfers to the wax.
 The transfers turned out beautifully! And I loved learning about the dry transfers too using graphite transfer paper or pastels. So perfect! Because now I can practically draw directly on the wax.
 Here's my first wet transfer using a copy of one of my drawings.
 Our encaustic class hard at work. And Bridgette encaustic artist extraordinaire on the right.
 Huge thanks to Bridgette for once again inspiring us creatively! I didn't want to leave  the studio so I went home and continued to work on my projects.

On the Mend

 This is the second project I made where I used both the wet and dry transfer techniques that Bridgette showed us. I knew I really wanted to do something with string in it so I made a drawing earlier in the week and photocopied it to use. Not exactly what I had in mind but not too bad. I think it's a theme I'll have to continue to persue in order to fine tune it.
 This is the first piece that was in the other picture. I can't think of a title for it yet....Queen Anne's Lace just seems way too obvious!
 I took a couple of closeup shots because I really like the way the detail in the corner turned out. However the photo also shows the blobby mess in the middle of the hand. I really couldn't do too much to fix it without ruining the transfer though.
And here is a close up of the dry image transfer I made. Bridgette used the white transfer paper with one of her pieces and it looked like writing on a chalk board. What a great idea! So I had to try it out too.
***Now all I have to do is get that spare room cleared out to make a proper studio space.***


Encaustic supplies!!

Oh happy day! My encaustic supplies have arrived!
I really want to start playing with them right now but I have so much work to finish first. Priorities right? Work before play. *pbthththth* I'm using them as incentive to make myself finish my work faster so I can get to them sooner.
And I just noticed that this is my 50th post too!
(another mini happy dance)

By the flowers that be

So happy I was finally able to put some real flowers in my otchipotchi vase!
I planted these bulbs last year but I can't remember what either one is called.
Even though it still feels like winter outside, spring is trying desperately to make an entrance. The forecast calls for warmer temperatures this week, I hope they stick around for awhile.


Out of season...or so I thought

 I realized that I had not yet posted pictures of the finished handwarmers that I made. At first I was thinking that this is so out of season right now that maybe I should just wait to post this until the fall. But yesterday, in typical Chicago fashion, the fickle nature of spring weather reared it's ugly head and decided to snow! It was very windy and had been raining all day when all of a sudden the view beyond my windows was whited out by horizontally blowing snow. Luckily none of it stuck to the ground. So I figured that maybe the handwarmers aren't as out of season as I had originally thought!
 My daughter May is modeling them for me with her blue nail polish.
 This pair has already been well worn by both May and myself. In fact I like them so much that I am making another pair so we don't have to share this one. I am definitely going to be making more of them in other colors too. They are so easy. I do love this yarn and I'm glad that I have enough left to make another pair.
The only thing that bugs me is the fact that the colored stripes don't match up. These are knit with one color yarn. I didn't change yarn to make the stripes. Maybe the next pair will match up better!


Here's to confidence!

Overheard on the Titanic by Austin Kleon
I was introduced to an artist last week by the name of Austin Kleon. One of my other blogger/artist friends posted an article by him called How to Steal Like An Artist (and 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me).
I discovered that he is not only a poet but also creates newspaper blackout art. I found this idea of creating art/poetry by blacking out newspaper articles incredibly intriguing and thought it would be a fantastic prompt for beginning an artwork. Kind of like starting with the title first and developing the artwork around that. So I had to try it myself and it's not nearly as easy as it seems. Then again I am no poet!
 One of things he talks about in his list of "things" is something called imposter syndrome. I have never heard of this before but as I read about it I suddenly had a name to put to the feelings I have experienced as an artist for so many years. The clinical definition says something like a phenomenon where people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. They feel like a fraud and their work is just a sham. And this usually occurs in well educated people. So I guess I have that part going for me!
I think this blog has actually been a kind of therapy for me in that respect and I know that many artists must suffer from imposter syndrome just based on some of the art blogs I read and other artists that I've spoken to. It is all a matter of confidence I figure. I know that I have definitely gained confidence in my art since I've started my blog. And the whole point was to force myself to do more artwork. My own art production had completely stagnated and I had to jump in with both feet again and just do it. I previously thought that I was just being realistic about my art and my abilities and I thought so much about it I didn't make anything aside from occasional drawings for years. Now making art is practically all I think about.
So, here's to confidence!


Spring and other new beginnings

 Spring is finally here! When we left for our vacation I couldn't even find one little sprout and when I returned home there were little purple crocuses starting to bloom.
I planted many other bulbs too and I'll have to go and find the packages to remember them all. I thought I planted some that were supposed to bloom before all the snow even melted, before the crocus were supposed to bloom. I'll have to go and see if they are still coming up.

 I have no idea what these are yet but I am so happy to see them! And I'm pretty sure the ones below are tulips. My mother gave me a whole bunch of unusual bulbs last year and I am very happy to see they survived and that I planted them the right way!

 I feel like I have been gone from posting here for a very long time and now I have so much to say I don't really know where to begin. I guess the foremost thing on my mind is the fact that I might be losing my teaching job. I have been teaching for so long that even during the waves of layoffs in the past couple of years I have felt relatively safe. But not now. Unfortunately the new teachers are always the first to go but then it's the electives like art, music etc... I probably won't know anything for sure for weeks but it is difficult to teach effectively and to give the kids optimism about their own futures when they are experiencing first hand how volatile the future is for those that are supposed to be established in their careers. I am supposed to be the one that followed the correct path and made the right decisions and set the good example for the students. Now they are pessimistic and completely wrapped up in the instability of this situation. While I think it's unrealistic to keep the students completely sheltered from what is going on I don't feel that they should have to deal with the stress of this type of experience at such a young age either.

In light of these recent events I have been thinking even more about what I can do with my own art. As soon as summer break arrives I plan on getting my own studio space up and creating my own art aggressively! Other school districts around me have already eliminated art entirely and parents are anxious to find their children art classes elsewhere. So if worse comes to worse that is an avenue I could pursue as well. Or if can get really organized I could try to arrange summer classes. But right now that is too much for me to think about with everything else going on.
I will end by leaving you with a photo of the gorgeous beach we spent our vacation at in Punta Cana. It was truly the bluest water I have ever seen in my life! I laid in the sun, read a good book and recharged my batteries. I tried to push out the thoughts that my colleagues were being handed their pink slips as I was on that beach and just soak up the here and now.