Encaustic Workshop with Jenny Learner

Autumn's End
encaustic mixed media
Last week my school hosted a 3 day long encaustic workshop led by Jenny Learner! Each day a different group of students from each of the three high schools in the district got to participate. It was really a wonderful experience with so much creative energy flowing. It was very inspiring to see and really made me want to get back into the studio more. The image above is what I made at the workshop. I learned so many new things from Jenny.
There she is teaching students how to monoprint with wax. She really is so creative and uninhibited with her artwork. She is also very kind and was so patient with the students. It was a lot of work teaching about 85 people all about encaustic for 3 days straight! You can check out her website here. She teaches workshops all the time too so if you are interested you should consider signing up for one.
 Here's a picture of a group working hard on their projects in my classroom. It will definitely take some time to scrape up all the wax drippings. But in a way I love to leave stuff like that around the room because it always will remind me of the wonderful time spent at the workshop.
 Lots of different mark making tools.
And below are some examples of student work. I was so impressed with their projects after only one intensive day of encaustic instruction.

Well that's it for now! I know I haven't been posting much but I haven't forgotten about you! I hope to be back before the holidays.


New Work

So this piece was a while in the making. I began this piece the day after my last post back in August. I will spare you another lengthy apology for abandoning you yet again for so long! This time of year always seems to be busy as we scurry to fit in things that we know we won't be able to do in the winter months. Not to mention school and all the after school activities, and dances, and homework, and I could go on and on.
But there is nothing like a deadline to light the fire! With the last 4th Friday of the year coming up soon I really wanted to be able to submit at least one new piece that wasn't part of my featured artist exhibit from August. 
I have been trying to make my textures more subtle and veiled. To try and work with the colors and the wax rather than trying to fill every last square inch with tactile features. The transfer on the top right kind of represents a moment of weakness, or self indulgence. I have seen these types of patterns everywhere recently and I must guiltily admit that I love them! So I succumbed to their popularity and cliche and used them in my artwork too! This is also a larger piece for me as well which I really enjoy. I know I shouldn't think this way but I feel like it's more legitimate when it's bigger. I will still work on small pieces but I feel more satisfaction completing work on a larger scale than on a smaller piece. I'm really not sure why that is though.


I can't believe it's over

 Last night was amazing! It was quite a rush for me to see how many friends and family showed up to support me and see my artwork. I owe you all so much and I am truly grateful to have such a wonderful network of people in my life.
 I know these pictures are terrible but they are the only ones I took! They really do not do any justice to the  gallery or the display. I did end up selling the three pieces in the first photo to a coworker/friend. I was shocked that she bought three pieces!
 This is a better photo of the upstairs area where my exhibit was. After seeing this display I have decided that I am definitely going to try to make larger pieces. I had 17 encaustics on display, all very tiny looking on the large walls. But it did draw people in for a closer look.
The place was packed too. The final count was over 600 people!
It really was a wonderful and memorable evening. Thank you to everyone who helped me out with all the things I needed in order to get ready for the show. 
I love you all!


This is it!

I am very excited for tomorrow! I cannot believe that it's here already. The day I have been looking forward to/ fretting about all summer.I really can't wait to see the display. I had to work during the set up for the show so I won't be seeing it until the opening tomorrow night.  I will post pictures from the show as soon as I can for you to see. 
Happy Friday!
(a day early)


More new work

It'll Heal
encaustic mixed media

encaustic mixed media
I actually finished these a couple of weeks ago but I have been busy with back to school stuff. The students come back on Monday already. Yikes! 
As you can see in these two pieces I experimented a little more with the punchinella. That is what I used to make the dotty texture. And I made some burnt paper pieces that I really liked so I incorporated them as well. I am also attempting to be a little more subtle with the use of texture.
I spent most of the day today finishing up all the framing of my artwork for the show. I need to submit all of it next Saturday so I'm in the home stretch finalizing the little details. 
Sorry for the short post but I just wanted to keep you up to date. 
I'll be back soon!


New encaustic work

Billets S'il Vous Plait
encaustic mixed media

encaustic mixed media
Just a quick post to update you on some of my recent work. I have one more that is just about done ...and another one that is just started. I am quickly running out of summer free time to work on my artwork. School  starts very early this year with a back to work date for me of August 9th.
The piece above titled Billets Si'l Vous Plait (tickets please) has an entire background of tickets from our trip to Europe. Tickets for the buses in Florence, a piece of a ticket to the Louvre, a napkin with a drawing of the Ponte Vecchio, a train ticket from Paris to Milan...and I honestly don't remember what the others were for. Maybe taxi receipts? I also used punchinella for the first time in order to get the raised dots. It's actually sequin waste I used as a stencil for the wax.
The second work titled Whirlwind is the one you saw in the previous post. It has a map of Paris fused into the background on the left side and a receipt from Florence. This work was made just after my return and I really just wanted it to represent travel and the excitement surrounding our trip. I thought that the drawing fit perfectly for this theme to show yearning, the "leap" it took to follow through with the plans, and the surreal euphoria I felt at times during the trip.
Well, I'm off to pack for a weekend away with the kiddos!


Summer things

 I feel like summer is just flying by! 
It has been very hot and incredibly dry too. It has only rained twice for about 10 minutes in the past 6 weeks as you can tell by my straw-like grass. Because of vacations and the weather we just set up our patio furniture last weekend. Two sweaty days of staining and oiling...but it looks beautiful and now we can stare at it from our air conditioned house.
 I can tell you that my russian sage loves this weather and they are constantly covered in hundreds of honey bees from the hives in the farmers yard behind our house.  Can you find the bee in the photo? You can literally hear the bushes humming.
 I also just had to show you the cute daisies my mom bought me for my birthday. I'm so afraid to plant them in this weather though, so I think they will stay safely potted until the rain returns.
 Here's a snapshot of my creative mess making! I've been getting in a lot of studio time but I'm feeling the time crunch before my show in August. 
You can see my latest piece here inspired by my trip to Europe. I finally used the drawing of my daughter May too.
 I wanted to show you the interesting pinecones I picked up in Italy. I think they are from the umbrella cypress trees that grow everywhere in Italy. So unusual aren't they? At least they are to me!
And this is the pile of ephemera I saved from our trip. Maps of London and Paris, tickets to the Louvre, and Uffizi, metro tickets, and lots and lots of receipts. Unfortunately the carbon in the receipts make them turn black as soon as the heat gun is on them. I tried just painting the wax right over them but then the ink totally vanishes, so I might have to find a different use for them instead of using them in my encaustics.
Enjoy your day!



View of the Thames, the London Eye, and Big Ben from our hotel room.

Big Ben

Under the Arc De Triumph in Paris

The Eiffel Tower of course!

Replica of Michelangelo's David in it's original spot in the  Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

A perfect evening in Florence with a view of the Ponte Vecchio reflected in the Arno River

The Colosseum in Rome

A gorgeous view of Rome from inside the Colosseum
Whew! What a whirlwind adventure! Two weeks in Europe visiting all of the places we have wanted to go since we were both kids. My husband is an artist too so we spent most of our trip seeing the most famous artwork and architecture in London, Paris, Florence and Rome. I'm still in awe that I actually was able to visit these places in person. Artwork that I've studied for years and have only seen in books and pictures are burned in my own memory now. The Mona Lisa, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the Pantheon, the statue of David, the Birth of Venus by Botticelli, the Trajan Column, the Trevi Fountain....the list could go on for many pages!
Everything was so beautiful that practically every photo turned out like a post card. There were a few places that cameras were not allowed like in the Sistine Chapel and in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence so I am going over it in my mind repeatedly so I don't forget a single moment. Actually I am desperately trying not to forget   anything at all.
Best of all this trip has refueled my creativity. I have so much material to use and ideas that are waiting to be visualized. This was truly the trip of a lifetime and you will definitely be seeing it's influence in my new artwork. 


New work and random things

Encaustic mixed media
 Hooray I finally have my own lap top back! So here are a few photos of things that have been going on around here recently.
 I finished another new piece of work  few days ago. I was trying to work more with fields of color rather than little areas of tiny details. It seems like a generic piece to me but it is soothing to look at. In my other works I tried to pull the viewer in with little details to explore but with this one I wanted the opposite. Instead of drawing the viewer in, I tried to make the work exude a feeling of calm with simple organization of space and colors that reflected nature.
 This little fledgling robin surprised me the other day when it flapped against the screen in my kitchen struggling to find a foothold. So cute!
 I went to the botanic gardens again too and had my own Georgia O'Keefe moment with this photo.
 Does anyone know what this flower is? I see them around more and more recently and it's my favorite color for a flower too.
 This field of poppies was in full bloom and absolutely stunning. My pictures do not do it justice.

When I post next time it will be with lots of photos from my trip to Europe! I am busy packing and getting really excited about finally seeing all of the famous artwork that I have only studied in books.
So cheerio, au revoir, and ciao!


New work

Move In, Move Out, Move On
Encaustic Mixed Media

I have been very absent from blog land for the past week or so. I had to turn in my laptop at the end of the school year so the only time I can use a computer at home is when I can steal my husband's for a minute or after my kids go to bed so I can use theirs! As a result the only thing I have been doing is checking email. I do miss visiting my favorite blogs.
Anyways, I finished this piece last night and it is my largest encaustic to date. I used a piece of masonite board for this one so it is an odd size at 10"x14". Overall I am pleased with the way it turned out. I was especially careful with the color palette as I think with the larger size I was worried about overwhelming the space with too much color and detail.
I must admit I am also having a hard time trying to figure out how to frame them. Encaustics must use floater frames and since the frames only come in certain sizes I wasn't sure how I was going to frame this one and another odd sized one I finished a couple of months ago titled "Overflow." Luckily my dad came to the rescue and he made me a whole bunch of frames! Now I don't have to worry about getting frames for everything I want to put in my exhibit in August. Thanks Dad! 


Sneak Peek

This is what I have been working on the past week or so. I made this drawing a couple of weeks ago and I loved the intelligent, curious expression on the crow's face. It is supposed to be an unfinished looking sketch. Still a work in progress but close to being done. Hopefully I'll have a productive weekend but probably not as much as I'd like considering it's Mother's Day! No worries though...school is out in a week and a half! Yay!
Have a great weekend!



There's nothing like a deadline to spur productivity. 
I found out that I am going to be featured artist in August not June so I am relieved to have more time to put together my work. But this show has definitely been the spark I needed to get my act together! I have so many new ideas swirling around in my head and it's such a good feeling. 
I told my daughter May that I needed her so I could take photos to use for new work. So last week we had some nice weather one day and we went out in the yard where I took lots of photos of her to use as references for my drawings. I definitely put her to work! I made her jump for about 5 minutes straight to get the photo I used for this drawing. Unfortunately that was the last sunny day we had so these pictures of my drawings are really dark and out of focus. 
I also have a new encaustic that is close to being done that I will post photos of soon too. 
 We are in the last couple of weeks of school and I am looking forward to summer break and more time to work in the studio!


Wow again!

Has it really been so long since my last post? Sorry about that! 
I entered the 4th Fridays Show again at the Starline Gallery and this time I won Best Of Show! 
It was a completely surreal feeling. Someone bought my piece too and I had others asking to buy it even after it sold. Uber flattering! I still am having a hard time trying to process it all.
The red envelope contained a letter of congratulations along with an invitation to be a featured artist for the June show. I will be on vacation in Europe then so I hope to be able to take advantage another month instead. I feel very nervous about showing a body of work though. I don't really feel like I have enough to fill a space and have it look like a cohesive grouping. I do have an idea that I am starting to kick around but this will definitely force me to get into my studio more. In fact I'm very anxious to get back into my studio right now! Between this show and the end of school coming soon I hope to be producing lots of new things to show you. I'm just going to take a deep breath first...


New Work

In The Pink

I finally finished it! This particular piece ended up changing for me every time I looked at it. My original intent was to use the girl metaphorically, but it started to become very literal which is something I absolutely had no intention of doing. Either way it's cliche, which is why I was stuck in it for so long. I hate cliche. But I think I was doomed from the start by using the drawing of the girl in the first place. I thought she looked more peaceful as though she was just sinking or falling rather than drowning. Almost floating. Like things aren't as bad as they seem at first and this too shall pass. As a result I tried to emphasize the girl's look of health. Hence the name In The Pink.


A picture speaks a thousand words

...and the bluebird house is still empty. I hope the bluebirds come back.