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″