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This weekend I attended the International Encaustic Artists annual conference called encaustiCon, in San Antonio Texas. It was a wonderful event with lectures, workshops, networking events and a great vendor room. I highly recommend it!
A highlight of the event was their banquet which included presentation of the first annual La Vendéenne awards, where I was thrilled to win a trophy in the Media category.
The La Vendéenne Awards were named in honor of a fourth century AD encaustic painter whose remains, along with her encaustic tools, were found in the La Vendée region of France. The awards are intended to “recognize outstanding contributions to the advancement and practice of encaustic art.”
Awards were presented in several categories, and here are the winners!
The jurors for the award included Gail Stavitsky, Chief Curator of the Montclair Art Museum (NJ), Paula Owen, President & CEO of the Southwest School of Art (TX) and David S. Rubin, Curator of Contemporary Art at The Brown Foundation (TX). The beautiful trophy was crafted by James Meyer, an extremely generous and gifted artist and studio assistant to Jasper Johns. I have to admit, part of me wants to press the trophy into wax. Is that wrong?
As happy as I was to win the award, I was equally thrilled to see my work appear during the keynote speech, in Dr. Stavitsky’s slide show about contemporary encaustic work. You may recognize her name from the groundbreaking exhibition she curated in 1999 called Waxing Poetic, Encaustic Art in America. Waxing Poetic featured more than fifty artists whose content, style and subject matter differed widely but whose medium of choice was the same, wax. That show was the first introduction to encaustic for many gallery owners, reviewers and other artists.
The International Encaustic Artists 2013 encaustiCon, will be held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, at the Eldorado Hotel from Oct. 31st ~ Nov. 3rd, 2013. Will I see you there?
I’ve just returned from yet another amazing trip to the Encaustic Conference, this time at a new location in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Conference Founder and Director Joanne Mattera outdid herself once again in terms of an exciting array of demos, lectures and events over the three days of the conference and the workshops immediately following.
This event attracts artists all over the world and this year there were 35 states in the US represented as well as artists traveling from Canada, England, Mexico, Brazil, Spain New Zealand. The conference was held in Provincetown this year which allowed for some changes to the format and new venues for post conference workshops. I think Joanne found an excellent partner in working with Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill and its Executive Director, Cherie Mittenthal, who was wonderful to work with.
Our first night in P-town was spent at the Lobster Pot with my very happy husband Bill, Mike and Kathryn from Enkaustikos, Kimberly and Judy, my buddies from Portland. This was a great restaurant, not to be missed! They even had a nice steak for me (I’m allergic to seafood). Other restaurants we really enjoyed were The Squealing Pig, Bubalas, and the Portuguese Bakery which had real Malasadas like I get in Hawaii! Our best find was a place called Moby Dick’s in Wellfleet, where Bill said he had the best smoked oysters ever.
We managed to fit is several outings to the surrounding areas and I’m so glad we took the time to do it. Provincetown has so much to offer!
This is the view from the top of the 252 foot tall Pilgrim Monument in the middle of town. The web site refers to the climb as a “heart-healthy walk to the top on 116 steps and 60 ramps,” which by the way is totally worth it.
We booked a dune tour which took us by the famous “dune shacks,” the simple beach cabins of numerous artists and writers during the past century. You can see one here in the upper left area of the photo. Below are cranberry bogs surrounded by sand dunes. It’s gorgeous out there!
Bill and I also treated ourselves to a sunset cruise on our last night, relaxing in the warm breeze. The Pilgrim Monument is way off in the distance.
On Friday night we made our way to the several openings at galleries that were showing encaustic work in conjunction with the conference. We visited the Kobalt Gallery (above), Ernden Fine Art, Bowersock Gallery and my favorite show, Surface Attraction curated by Joanne Mattera and Marla Rice of Rice/Polak Gallery (below).
Later we discovered the wonderful Galeria Cubana, which didn’t have encaustic work but did have some fine paintings we enjoyed very much. Nancy Natale has a nice wrap up of the gallery shows with lots of photos on her blog, so I won’t duplicate her excellent efforts.
The conference itself was excellent again this year, with so many wonderful events going by almost in a blur. I’m including some photos below to give you a flavor of the event, but you really have to attend to understand the importance of this conference to those of us who work in wax. I hope you’ll be able to go sometime.
This year I was on a panel called Mastering Media, a discussion about marketing the art we’re all working so hard to make. I spoke about getting my book, Embracing Encaustic, from and idea into reality and many of the successes and bumps along the way. The audience seemed to really like hearing about all the craziness that went on behind the scenes. My fellow panelists were (from left) Jeff Schaller, Nancy Natale, me, Cherie Mittenthal and moderator Joanne Mattera. Thanks to Corina Alvarezdelugo for allowing me to use her photo here.
Jackie Battenfield, author of the excellent book, The Artist’s Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What you Love, was our keynote speaker. She got the crowd all revved up and organized in thinking about what we should be thinking about next in our careers.
Here’s part of my work in the hotel fair, a new addition to the conference line up. I’ll bring more next time, now that I see how much we all love to shop!
David A. Clark went all out with new work just for the hotel fair and a true installation style. Brilliant! Lisa Pressman has more photos of her room, which includes a piece I bought from Marybeth Rothman. Can you guess which one it is? It will be included in my next post along with my other purchases.
POST CONFERENCE WORKSHOPS
There so much to do before, during and after a class, especially one that you travel to teach. Because of that many teachers will offer to assist a colleague on a pay it forward type of arrangement as I did this year.
I was the assistant for Charly Weissbach’s Mainly Metals class at Castle Hill during the post-conference workshops. Charyl taught her students how to work with most things metallic, from paint to powder, pigment sticks and even metal leaf. Charyl was the assistant for my friend Kimberly’s class last year (see below).
Kimberly Kent had an adventurous class again this year with plein air painting in encaustic. See the little camp stoves and torches they are using? It’s not for the faint of heart, but if you’re up for traveling with your wax it will allow you to paint directly from nature. And who is that little rascal in the cap? Yup, our own Joanne Mattera trying something new.
And that’s a wrap for this post on the 5th International Encaustic Conference. Nancy Natale and Lynette Haggard surprised Joanne with two huge cakes and a card signed by all to thank her for her efforts in making each conference so special. Nancy is pictured here with Cherie and Joanne on the right, wearing special hats for the occasion. Indeed, thank you Joanne!
The wait it over! The Encaustic conference officially has a new location, and it’s a beauty. Conference founder and director Joanne Mattera, in conjunction with the Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill, are (extremely) pleased to announce:
The Fifth International Encaustic Conference will take place June 3-5, 2011 in Provincetown, Massachusetts, with Post-con Workshops June 6-9 at Castle Hill.
Conference highlights: (Look for me on the panel!)
. Keynote speaker Jackie Battenfield, author of The Artist’s Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love
. Saturday Morning Panel: Mastering Media, with Kandy Lozano (video), Cherie Mittenthal (catalog), Nancy Natale (blog), Jeff Schaller (newsletter; promotional projects), Linda Womack (self-publishing); moderator Joanne Mattera (commercial publishing)
. Friday afternoon Monotype Marathon, three presenters in three hours
. To be announced shortly: Nine demos and talks each day
. Sunday morning in-house “hotel fair”
. Beeline, a themed juried Show at the Kobalt Gallery, juried by Kobalt’s owner and director, Francine D’Olimpio. (Independently curated exhibitions at other P-town galleries are anticipated)
. A sculpture show at Castle Hill, curated by Cherie Mittenthal
. Vendors: So far we have confirmed Conrad Wilde Paints, Enkaustikos, The Fine Art Store; Evans Encaustics, R&F Paints. They expect the list to grow.
. Lunch provided on Saturday and Sunday
. Beverages provided during the day
Facilities: The conference rooms and hotel accommodations are part of the same complex. They’re going to limit registration to 250 again this year.
For more information or to register check out the BLOG at: http://encausticconference.blogspot.com/
It was another whirlwind of an encaustic conference so I thought I’d capture it best with a video this year. Here are the 3 days of the conference in about 3 minutes:
My husband, Bill, was sick during a good part of the trip, but we still managed to get out and have a little fun. Here are a few photos of our outside activities.
The Fourth Annual Encaustic Painting Conference has been fantastic so far again this year and I’m having a wonderful time soaking in lots of new information to incorporate into my work and my workshops.
I’ve also been taking short videos to cut together into a montage of what it looks like to attend the conference, but I’ll have to post it when I get back next week.
Until then, here’s an image of my latest work which is currently hanging here at the conference in the Best Foot Forward show along with jaw dropping pieces by many of the other encaustic painters in attendance. What a show! More soon…
After a wonderful day off with my husband Bill, I dove back into the wax world by teaching at the conference with my Stencils and Embossing class. Photos will have to tell the story this time, as I’m all out of words. Suffice to say that we had a wonderful time, laughing and painting. Thanks to all of my wonderful students for your enthusiasm when I know you were already quite tired from the conference. Great work, everyone!
In the Round featured the work of Kim Bernard and Deborah Kapoor, was installed in the Schlosberg Gallery. This two-artist show was curated by Montserrat’s Gallery Director, Leonie Bradbury who invited the artists to share the space. I’m sorry to have missed their gallery talk, but I can never get to everything I want to at the conference!
The Luminous Landscape, a self-curated group show show, was installed at Montserrat’s invitation in the second-floor hallway gallery. The Luminous Landscape collective is an international group that explores the subtleties of light and terrain via encaustic. Pictured above is my friend and fellow Portlander Kimberly Kent with her work on the left.
Wax Libris was a small exhibition that took place in the Paul Scott Library at Montserrat and focused on book forms, altered books and other small works in which text predominates. I missed photographing this one, but Supria Karmakar was nice enough to send along an image of her work from the show. Thanks Supria!
Cora Jane Glasser and Debra Ramsay offered their show, Material Matters, ingeniously presented in their own hotel room like an art fair! I love this idea which was referred to by many as “the rogue show.” I’m thrilled to have been able to purchase 2 small works on paper from Debra for my collection.
Julie Shaw Lutts had an engaging show called Artifacts at the Kensington-Stobart Gallery at the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem. Her paintings, collage and assemblage pieces all have their own unique narratives that give you just enough information to get the story started and the rest is up to the viewer. Treat yourself to a virtual tour through her web site link above.
I noticed last night that despite having a great time, people were starting to get really tired, with all of the (excellent!) demos, lectures and gallery openings taking a toll as we ran from place to place. I left dinner at 9:30 and went right to bed. (That last blog post went up at 3 am when I awoke and couldn’t sleep!) This morning people seem like they got some rest and are ready to go again. Every year I have to be reminded to pace myself.
I did the first demonstration of the day on Stencils and Embossing, showing how to use a variety of materials to emboss patterns directly into your wax surface, and then highlight that texture with wax, oil or pastels. I had full house with a very enthusiastic audience so we had lots of fun, I just always wish there had been more time to share my techniques.
Photography and Encaustic, Danielle Correia
Danielle, who teaches for R&F Paints, encouraged us to break the rules of the traditional photographic print and explore the possibilities of combining photographs and wax in a variety of ways. She demonstrated color and b&w transfers and discussed archival papers, printing processes, and layering of photographic imagery.
I found the dipping process to be very interesting and realized that if I tried it on my own I certainly wold have done it too quickly. When you dip anything in wax it has to be in the wax bath long enough not just to coat the item, but to fuse to it as well. As she SLOWLY pulled the paper through the wax bath, she touched the edge of the hot fry pan, fusing the wax as she went.
Paper and Encaustic, Cynthia Winika
Cynthia, who also teaches for R&F Paints, showed us an amazing number of ways of working with paper and encaustic, include collage, transfer, dipping, pouring, working large, presentation techniques for paper pieces and applications for book arts. One of my favorite projects of hers was the Firecracker book where she paired another artist’s poem with her book pages created by setting off fireworks on sheets of paper then infusing the pages with wax.
Wax at the Art Fairs with Joanne Mattera
(This talk was the next day, but as that was my “day off” I’ll include it here.) Joanne shared with us some of the painting and sculpture she saw at the art fairs in Miami Beach—not necessarily by “encaustic artists,” but by a range of painters and sculptors who have engaged wax as their means of visual expression.
I appreciated Joanne taking the time to show us the thought provoking work of these artists, many of whom I was not familiar with, but also to show us the setting in which work at art fairs is shown. It was an enlightening talk for me since I have never been to an art fair, and made me both want to attned and run away at the same time. It’s the same longing I have to attend the Olympics someday except for the cost and crowds!
Joanne is the founder of this conference and it would never happen without her tireless work on behalf of a medium she loves. Thank you Joanne, for all of your hard work year after year! And if you have not yet discovered her insightful art blog, and especially my new favorite Marketing Mondays articles, you are in for a treat.
Please note: My internet connection is terrible from the hotel so I’ll get up what I can when I can. Links and other notes may need to be added later. Linda
Conservators in Conversation
Conservators repair and stabilize work, ancient or even relatively new, which has not withstood the rigors of time, storage, harsh handling or other stresses. The conservators on the panel have worked with encaustic objects and paintings–including ancient Fayum portraits, waxen murals, wax sculptures, and contemporary paintings. Contemporary artists can better plan for the future by learning how these experts have addressed problems from the past.
. Pamela Hatchfield, Conservator of Objects, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
. Carolyn Tomkiewicz, Conservator, Brooklyn Museum, New York.
. Kate Smith, Conservator, formerly of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
. Mimi Leveque, Conservator, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem
. Panel moderator: Joanne Mattera
My favorite quote this session was from Pamela who shared, “Jasper Johns once said he’d be a far richer man if he were the conservator of his paintings rather than the painter.” She also noted that one of the problems she’s faced in conservation is complicated corrosion issues when metal comes in contact with wax through metal armatures in sculpture or even certain metallic pigments.
Color Mixing, Hylla Evans
Why do mixed colors separate? Why does each color group behave differently in wax than it behaves in other mediums? What is a basic working palette ? This Q&A session was enlightening, discussing the use of split primaries and revealing the characteristics of certain pigment families and how they behave.
Stories Embedded in the Wax: Narrative in Collage, Elena De La Ville
An artist who works in a variety of mediums, including wax, Elena presented the work of 10 contemporary artists who use narrative collage, focusing on the storytelling element in their work. I was not able to attend this event, but Elena was kind enough to include several of my paintings in her talk.
Screen Printing, Jeffrey Hirst
This demo explored developing a hybrid image by using oil paint and oil stick screenprinting combined/ fused with encaustic painting. Screen printed imagery ranged from small fragments to full-scale images, and multiple printings were done on each painting, with the printed element functioning above and below wax surfaces.
Encaustic Collage Painting, Nathan Margalit
This demonstration included ways in which various forms of paper are altered through the use of the wax medium in combination with other media like printmaking, and assorted materials: gouache, chalk, oil pastels, watercolors and color printing inks, and how these prepared materials are applied and integrated into the surface of the work.
The openings for The Opposite of Beauty and Wax and Wane: Creation/Destruction, an experimental exhibition curated by Miles Conrad, were held in the 301 Gallery. They are both excellent shows and were very well attended. The Opposite of Beauty was juried by Nicholas Capasso, Senior Curator at the DeCordova Museum. My friends, Gregory Wright and Elena De La Ville won the top prizes for their insightful work.
Wax and Wane is an experimental exhibition installed in Frame 301, the window space at the 301 Gallery. Conceived by artist and gallerist Miles Conrad, director of the Conrad Wilde Gallery in Tucson, it features an installation of the small dimensional objects made by his “Off the Wall: Encaustic in Three Dimensions” class at the conference in 2007. As conference founder and director Joanne Mattera explained, “You know the wax part of the title. As for the wane, we’ll see; it’s a sunny window.” As you can see, even by opening night some of the objects had dropped from the wall because of the heat, but had not melted. The exhibition is under the direction of the gallery’s assistant, Maggie Cavallo.
I’m here and the Third Annual Encaustic Conference in Beverly, Massachusetts has begun! I promised you all that I would blog on each evening of the conference, but in order to keep that promise AND my sanity it will have to be far more photos than words. Here’s a sampling of the events I attended today.
Strategies for Showing and Teaching in a Difficult Economy, Cherie Mittenthal
Cherie is the Director of the Castle Hill Center for the Arts in Truro, Mass., she talked about how non-profits continue their mission to work with artists and the community even when times are tough. It was an intimate chat where photography didn’t seem very appropriate, so you’ll have to trust me, she was there! What struck me was when she asked how many people in the room were at the conference for the first time and at least half the group turned out to be. It seems in the tougher economy everyone is looking for new ways to generate income, but one clear message from the discussion was that you have to EARN your credibility as a teacher before you can expect someone to pay for your expertise. This often comes in the form of teaching free classes or doing demos at art stores until it is second nature. I’d like to add that teaching is extremely hard work and takes much more time in preparation than actually teaching the class, so it would be a costly mistake to think of it as an easy way to generate more money.
What’s the Big Idea? Meaning in Our Own Art, Sue Katz
in talking about art, our own art–what does it mean? What ideas, process to concept, generate the start of a work? How do our thoughts change along the way? How do materials help or hinder our intentions? How/when do we choose a title? These questions were asked but not quite answered in the short time we had to meet, but attendees gave it a good try. There was some agreement that the best place to look for meaning in your art is in your personal history. Someone else suggested keeping a book of art that affects you and to try to figure out why it speaks to you. I think the most important point was that you don’t need to know what you are painting about in order to paint. Just get in there and do it even if you have to figure it out later.
Keynote Talk : “In Defense of Ambiguity: The Poetics of Encaustic”
Barbara O’Brien was here as a panelist at the 2007 Conference, and made a deep impression on the attendees who overwhelmingly requested her back. Her talk discussed how the major art movements and theories of the second half of the 20th century created an unsympathetic arena for a critical reading of encaustic works of art, and how she overcame her own prejudices about reviewing encaustic works. She declared that she is a true convert in love!
And of course, the vendor room where I spent money like a drunken, waxy sailor!
Andrea from Wax Works in Canada
Mike from Enkaustikos showing their new paint that comes in tins, Hot Cakes.
Luscious paint choices from Evans Encaustics
Darin From R&F Paints. Check out their new web site!
Miles from Conrad Wilde Gallery in Tucson, AZ
If you are/were at the conference, please add your impressions by making comments! More tomorrow…
Hang on folks, I’m almost done blogging about the conference. Can you believe all of this was really packed into one week? Me neither. As they say on TV: “Don’t miss the last 5 minutes!” of this blog post. There’s a surprise at the end. (Aw, now you went and ruined it…)
So this time we made it into Boston on a day that made sense (meaning NOT Monday when everything is closed). It was a beautiful day and we took the ferry from Salem to Boston. It’s the easiest way to get there even though we had a car, and it was much more fun than fighting traffic and looking for parking.
We started out on Newbury Street in the gallery district because there were several shows we wanted to see. Kim Bernard has a show at the excellent Arden Gallery and it was as exciting as I’d hoped. Her sculptures are the perfect compliment to her encaustic paintings and as usual the show was beautifully presented.
Fawn with work by Melody Postma and a beautiful painting by June Stratton
Over at Lanoue Fine Art we enjoyed the current show, but asked for a special showing of Lissa Rankin’s new encaustic paintings. Fawn was completely charming and full of insightful information about all of the work.
Next we headed over to the Copley Society to see the solo show by Donna Hamil Talman who also had work showing at the conference. We had a heck of a time finding it but saw lots of other fun galleries on the way. Donna pairs digital photography with encaustic and collage techniques in much the same way I do, but with drastically different results. I find her work quite mysterious.
The exterior of the museum with interior mural by John Singer Sargent
With our feet failing we hopped on the “T” and were quickly deposited in front of the Museum of Fine Arts. This is a beautiful building filled with a stunning array of art and we could easily have filed our day with this one stop.
After roaming the halls for an hour or so it occurred to me that there was a good chance we might find some ancient encaustic work so we set out on a scavenger hunt. We were getting tired and were just about to give up when I saw the unmistakable image of a funerary portrait reflected in the glass case in front of me. I turned again and again looking for it — I’ve never seen one in person before — but it was like a fun house mirror. Finally I spotted it and ran to the case. You’d think I had struck pure gold by my reaction, and I was glad Bill and I were alone in the room. I can’t fully describe the sense of history I felt in looking at these delicate pieces. These artists struggled then just as i do today to express themselves through their work and that shared experience in powerful. It was such an honor to finally see this work in person.
Portrait mummy of a man
Egyptian, Greco-Roman Period, A.D. 150–175
Findspot: Hawara, Egypt
Height x width: 167 x 35 cm (65 3/4 x 13 3/4 in.)
Encaustic (colored wax) on wood over linen and human remains
Body of man with diagonally crossed wrappings forming a rhomboidal pattern. Panel portrait, rounded at the top, with portrait in encaustic depicting a young man with his face turned slightly to the left. He had dark, curly hair, thick brows, and a full, curly beard, and wears a white chiton and mantle.
Portrait mummy of a youth
Egyptian, Greco-Roman Period, about A.D. 50
Findspot: Hawara, Egypt
Height: 113 cm (44 1/2 in.)
Encaustic (colored wax) on wood; linen; and human remains
Mummy of a child with diagonal cross bandaging; decorated with gilded buttons. The encaustic panel portrait shows an adolescent with dark curly hair, large eyes, and pudgy cheeks. His lips may have been gilded to ensure the power of speech in the afterlife.
I’ll save you some time if you go: these are in the Egyptian Funerary Arts Gallery. This was really one of the highlights of our wonderful, waxy vacation!
OK, I just stopped crying i was laughing so hard. My husband Bill joined me for the fun of the National Encaustic Conference and posted his take on the lobster dinner that I wrote about in my last post. Check it out on his blog, Words For Writers, and you’ll see why he’s the writer in the family. Here’s a taste to get you started:
“Last week about this time, I set out in a rented car packed full of strangers in search of a seafood shack that someone had heard about. “It’s where the locals eat,” was the whispered rumor. Ooh. If there’s anything I like better than wearing a bib and cracking open an exoskeleton, it’s doing it local style. This particular locality was Essex, Massachusetts. My car was full of conference-dazed painters looking for booze and a good time after the close of their shindig.” Read the rest here…
I’ll admit it, I was a little hesitant about applying for the Kay WalkingStick Critical Feedback Workshop. I hoped if I could get in I would get valuable information from her that I would not likely have a chance at again. I was right. Kay accepted only 10 people from the pool of applicants and I was honored to be one of them.
On Monday we gathered in the assigned room, all feeling a little nervous with our art and souls laid out for her to review. She had asked each of us to bring a CD of our work, but also at least one actual piece, explaining that you just can’t have a substitute for seeing, smelling and feeling the work.
Each of us went in turn talking a bit about our work and answering Kay’s questions about our intent, our process or our symbolism. I won’t discuss any specifics of what was said in the class because it was all so personal, but I can share some of the questions Kay asked of us so you can ask them of yourselves:
1. Do you spend at least a couple of hours in the studio every day? (about half of the people in the room were able to say yes, but Kay said that was better than she thought it would be.)
2. What is your goal for your art career? (Have your work shown in a museum, pay your bills and feed your family or somewhere in between — it’s all valid)
3. What are you looking for when you go to look at art? Does your work fulfill that need?
4. Who is your favorite artist and what do you expect their art to do for you?
5. What subject do you want to investigate?
6. How to do conceptualize your work? How do you begin (through color, image, idea)?
7. How are your pieces related to one another, if at all?
8. What symbolism are you trying to convey?
9. Who is your audience? What do you want your audience to see?
Later in the day Kay met with each of us individually and I was thrilled (and relieved!) to hear that she heartily encouraged my plans for a new series (based on the work above) and helped me focus the path I’ve laid out for the next several months. When asked if I should try to work some of my ideas out on paper versus complete paintings she said, “Don’t just work the ideas out any way you can, work them out EVERY way you can.” Excellent advice. I feel like I now have new tools for evaluating my own art and how to become more focused in my work.
Days 2 & 3 of the conference were no less hectic than the first but just as much fun! I am a vendor here and also presenting two demonstrations, so I’m always late for something. I don’t know what I was thinking. My husband Bill helped me out on the first day but after that I’m on my own. That was out deal, he needs a vacation too! BTW, he’s taking full advantage of his time alone and went exploring yesterday only to find himself in Maine around lunchtime. Must be time for lobster rolls!
These two days were filled with hands on demos, slide lectures, panel discussions, show openings and more stuff to buy! (Pictured here are Piper and Hylla Evans of Evans Encaustic.)
When we registered we were able to choose 3 events a day to attend in small groups, then there were larger gatherings where everyone was in the same room. Here are some highlights:
As you might imagine Mary’s demo was all about incorporating text into your work. She went over a variety of collage methods and how to scribe directly into the wax both freehand and using stencils. I was already familiar with these techniques but it’s always nice to see how another artists does the same things I do because I often learn some thing new. Mary uses oil paint directly through a stencil onto the wax, adding Liquin to her oil paints so they will dry faster. She also likes printing to Mulberrry paper using her inkjet printer and says if you sut it to size for your machine you won’t need to attach it to a backing paper to run it through the rollers. I’ll have to try that one soon.
I’ve seen encaustic monotypes demonstrated before, but never by the master, Paula Roland. She has been responsible some really exciting work in this area. I’ve known Paula for a while but we are often teaching at the same time at these events so it was a pleasure to finally see her teaching this in person. Paula works on a “hot box” set to 160 degrees and paints directly onto the surface of the palette, then presses down art paper to make the print. Sometimes she prints multiple times on the same piece of paper, layering her wax into it. They are quite beautiful! I’ve tried this and it’s much harder than it looks.
My Masks and Stencils Demo
Aside from attending demos and begin a vendor, I was also a teacher at this conference, offering my Working with Stencils and Masks demo twice during the conference. Both sessions sold out within weeks of registration so there were a lot of people who couldn’t get in. Hopefully I’ll be doing a similar demo again next year!
We have seen some wonderful art shows already this conference, but we were treated to two more on Sunday night. We were treated to a show of original work by the author of The Art of Encaustic Painting and Conference Director, Joanne Mattera. In my opinion her breathtaking Silk Road series can only be truly appreciated in person. I did my best with these photographs, but if you ever get a chance to see the real thing don’t miss it.
The Diptych Project
I was also able to see the second half of The Diptych Project: A Collaboration in Wax, which matched 36 artists into pairs to work collaboratively on 2 encaustic paintings. The objective was for each pair of artists to make two diptychs (a diptych is work made up of two panels). I had previously seen only the work that showed in Oregon, but this was the rest of the show. There were many fine pieces to see, but if you missed either show you are still in luck. Nancy Natale has complied a book in either softcover or hardcover.
Wow, what a day! The number of images I have from this day alone is a testament to all how many events were happening one after another. Welcome to the Second National Encaustic Conference (virtual edition)!
Bill and I went on duty as vendors as soon as registration opened at 11:00 am. We were at one of several tables in the room where vendors were selling paint, panels, books and services. Many companies are offering terrific show specials so I found time to do a little shopping. The energy in the room was amazing and by the end of the day we had already sold 2/3 of the books we brought for the whole conference!
Julie Shaw Lutts – 3D Assemblage
Julie Shaw Lutts offered the first demo of the conference, so conference founder Joanne Mattera took a few minutes at the beginning of her talk to thank everyone and make a few announcements, but then it was time to play.
Julie showed us how she makes her thought provoking assemblages with images and found objects. She often glues inkjet prints to flat wood bases then uses a jigsaw to cut them into the desired shape, then uses epoxy or wood glue to attach them to her boxes. One thing I found interesting is that she has three hot plates going at once, one each for heating paint, warming tools, and for warming the boxes and objects before waxing them.
Julie prints images onto mulberry paper instead of the tissue paper I use because it gives her the same effect of the paper disappearing into the wax leaving just the image visible, but she can feed the paper right through her inkjet printer without attaching it to another backing before hand. Gotta try it!
Eileen Goldenberg – The Tea House Project
I have been familiar with Eileen Goldenberg’s Tea House Project since she described to to me over a very cheap bottle of wine at last year’s IEA Retreat, but I was really looking forward to getting more information on how the project progressed and better yet, how Eileen secured grant money to make many of the paintings. First she told us a little about grant writing in general then offered a few specifics on how she obtained her funding. It was a grant from the San Fransisco Arts Commission based on her proposal to create work inspired by a book by Ellis Avery called The Tea House Fire. Her proposal included teaching under served populations about the history of encaustic painting and several other outreach activities.
Eileen then showed slides of distinctive points in the progression of this series, which ultimately ended with 255 variations on her theme. Seeing her progression through all the stages of these paintings made me very aware of the fact that I don’t investigate my images very deeply, often trying one thing then flitting on to another. Recently I’ve been feeling the need to take one general thought or theme and try many variations before moving on, allowing my brain and body to fully investigate what it might naturally evolve into. I guarantee you I will NOT make it to 255!
On the Edge – Show Opening
Next we headed over to the Montserrat 301 gallery for the opening of “On The Edge” curated by Laura Moriarty who oversees the R&F Gallery in New York. Honestly, the show was so packed that we could barely see the art, as you’ll see from my photos. I hope to go back later in the week to give this fine work my full attention. Joanne Mattera gave out several awards, and prizes included copies of my book Embracing Encaustic.
Norman LaLiberte – Show Opening
I know, it’s hard to believe there’s more, but we’re not even close to done (and my feet were screaming by now).
Last year I had work in the Hot Stuff show at the conference and it was purchased the night of the opening by Norman LaLiberte. I hate to admit it, but at the time I had no idea what an honor it was to have my work in his collection. Since then Norman and I have corresponded a few times and he was generous enough to share his work with me through several posters and museum catalogs he sent me, along with wonderful hand typed letters. Tonight I got to see it all in person at his solo show in one of the galleries on the Montsertat school grounds. It is a beautiful show and I was pleased to be able to congratulate Norman in person. He’s quite a character and drew loads of adoring fans.
Kay WalkingStick – Keynote Address
Last but nowhere near least, was the excellent keynote address by Kay WalkingStick. Kay has had over 30 solo shows, nine of them in museums. The first was in 1969; the most recent was in 2007 at the June Kelly Gallery in New York City. She has been an active part of the renaissance of Native American fine art in the US.
Tonight she shared with us a retrospective of her work from the 1970′s forward, talking in detail about her interest in symbology and her Native American roots. She emphasized that the medium needs to serve the message and not the other way around, which is why she work with wax, oil, acrylic or gouache depending on what’s appropriate to the piece. She was also adamant that everything in your paintings should be there for a reason.
I’ll be taking a full day workshop with her on Monday so I’ll have a lot more to share then. Let me just say that after her talk it’s clear to me that I’m very lucky to have been accepted into her workshop where I expect her to challenge me in just the way I need right now. I’m very excited to talk with her one-on-one about my work. Oh yeah, and a bit nervous!
We’re Still Dancing/Taos Variation, 2006, oil/panel, 32″ x 64″
Road Trip – My Show Opening in Oregon
Why can’t I ever seem to be in Oregon during one of my own openings lately? Tonight is the opening for a show in Newberg featuring several members of the Oregon Chapter of the International Encaustic Artists. I’ll have to get down there to see it when I return!
Encaustic Group Show: Road Trip
Newberg Gallery, Newberg, OR
June 6 – 29, 2008