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For the past several weeks I’ve been distracted by our political turmoil, spending much more time outside my studio making my voice heard. Democracy can be messy and exhausting and I definitely need a break. More specifically I need an ART break. Maybe you do too?
I’ve heard from many artists who say they are having trouble focusing or simply not feeling very creative right now. That’s understandable, and please know that you are not alone, but finding a way back into making art can help. You can see why this is one of my favorite quotes:
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
~ Pablo Picasso
A few days ago I realized there’s a quick way I can help — by making my classes more accessible. So I’ve reduced the prices on all of my online encaustic classes! Each purchase gives you a full year of immediate access to the class videos, with the ability to watch them as many times as you’d like and work at your own pace.
So go on, dig in. Now you can try something new for less while “washing away the dust.” And don’t forget to breathe.
Last week I had the pleasure of working with a wonderful people and pet photographer, Pauline Zonneveld, who booked time with me for a private consulting session to bring her vision of pairing encaustic and photography to life. She did her homework and brought a variety of images she liked cut out from magazines. This gave us a good basis to start with and from there I helped Pauline decide on a process and we talked about how to start developing her own distinctive style.
I took Pauline through a couple of different ways to get a look similar to what she liked. She decided that image transfers would be the best route for her based on the equipment she already has, so we got to work.
Here’s what she came up with. This photo was taken right after Pauline did a great little dance saying “Yes, that’s exactly what I wanted!” Well done Pauline!
My August sessions are already booked but if you’d like to work with me in September or later check my website for ideas of what you might want to cover and how to register. This is ideal for artists who can’t make it to my regular workshops or those visiting the area who need to work within a specific schedule.
BTW, Pauline is the photographer who took these amazing images of my 12 year old lab Sadie for her inspiring Good Old Dog Project.
Great news! I’ve decided to reissue my book, Embracing Encaustic: Learning to Paint with Beeswax, as an electronic book (eBook) for the third edition. This will allow me to create a more comprehensive and less expensive book that will be available for immediate download by artists all over the world. It will be available through Amazon.com and readable on Kindle readers, iPads and other devices with Kindle software. Publishing as an eBook will also allow me to greatly expand our Gallery section to include many more inspiring works by artists from several countries.
Choosing the artists for the new edition of Embracing Encaustic was challenging job, but in the end I selected 70+ pieces from over 150 artists who submitted work. Because of the file size limitations for downloading an eBook many fine works could not be included in this edition.
Some tough decisions had to be made, for example, where images simply wouldn’t reproduce well because of the palette or size of the work or where two artists work were too similar to include both. If your name is not included on the list of artists below, please don’t be discouraged as it was impossible to include all the deserving artists.
Congratulations to these fine artists whose work will be published in the new edition of Embracing Encaustic! Read the rest of this entry »
I’m proud to have an article in the current issue of Encaustic Arts Magazine called “Creating and Embracing New Opportunities” which tells the story of how my book, Embracing Encaustic, led to many more new opportunities including my online encaustic classes at RobertsonWorkshops.com.
Here’s an excerpt: “As the huge truck pulled up in front of my house I got a chill up my spine. I knew the books would arrive sometime that week but no one seemed to want to give me a firm delivery date. I watched as the driver struggled to maneuver the bulky pallet through my garden gate and I worried that it wouldn’t fit. As he drove away, leaving me with box after box of my new encaustic book I thought, not for the first time, “What have I done?”
It all started about 5 years ago when one of my students mentioned that she couldn’t find an encaustic book with step-by-step instructions for beginners. That got me thinking that it wouldn’t be too hard to put one together, especially with the new print-on-demand services that had recently become available for self-publishing books online. Using this service they would be printed as they were purchased, so I would never need to print a large number of books. By that evening I had decided which service to use, downloaded the software and purchased the Internet domain name Embracing Encaustic.”
Read the whole article online. It’s a very inspiring magazine, so please share it with your friends!
Update: I’ve been notified that I’m a finalist for a La Vendéene award from the IEA (International Encaustic Artists)! The awards are intended to “recognize outstanding contributions to the advancement and practice of encaustic art.” Awards will be presented in early September at their encaustiCon event in San Antonio, TX. Wish me luck!
The La Vendéene Awards are created in honor of a fourth century AD anonymous female encaustic artist whose remains were found, along with the tools of her art, in the La Vendée region of France. The awards are intended to recognize outstanding contributions to the advancement and practice of encaustic art. Nominees do not have to be International Encaustic Artists members. IEA will present awards to no more than one nominee in each category: Artistry, Innovation, Education, Media, Lifetime Achievement.
I love a good art blog and Nancy Natale has got one. Nancy is a visual artist who works in several types of media including encaustic. We only see each other once a year or so at the International Encaustic Conference in Provincetown, but we keep up with each other through email, blogs and FaceBook. Last year she even bought one of my paintings at the conference.
Recently Nancy put out a call for an online exhibit called Art & Music, looking for art influenced by music and I’m happy to have my work included in the show. While choosing which piece to submit I started looking at my art in a new light which I think is a good indication of a strong curatorial theme. The show turned into a fascinating look at several artists work I hadn’t seen before, as well as a new view of my own work.
Here’s how Nancy introduced the show: “Listening to music while making art is a common practice in the studio. All that silence of solitude needs breaking up with melody and rhythm. It keeps us company, gets us singing and dancing, influences our moods and creeps into our art.”
I hope you’ll view the show and then take a look at your work in a new light. Does music influence your art?
After living in a new house for a while, did you ever decide that you wanted to rearrange the rooms to make better use of them? Something like that has happened on RobertsonWorkshops.com. After some valuable feedback from students, we’ve decided to change our classes to better fit how you want to learn.
Starting now, you can begin any class immediately–no waiting for a class to begin! If you can buy it, you can watch it right now. What’s more, you have access to all the videos, class notes and community chat for six full months from your day of registration. Your instructor will answer questions online during the first seven days of every month, and you’ll be able to discuss your projects with other students in your class during the entire length of the class.
All classes are under $50 and gift certificates are available for the perfect holiday present.
I taught my Encaustic & Photography class last weekend in my Oregon studio and had the pleasure of working with 3 amazing photographers who made beautiful work. None of them had much (if any) experience with encaustic but here is a small portion of what they were able to create in just two days:
This photograph by Lara Blair was already a beauty, but when she cut out the horse and made her own sky with the encaustic paint the movement was highlighted dramatically. As a great example of the sculptural properties of the wax, the mane of the horse is raised slightly, giving the painting more dimension.
The work above is by Sandra Nykerk who traveled all the way from Gardiner Montana for this class. This image of a rock within a rock was printed on tissue paper then highlighted with pastels. It’s a shame how hard it is to photograph encaustic, and I didn’t do this piece justice. It’s so luminous!
This work is by Maro Vandorou. She rarely works with color so the image above is an exception and the one below is more similar to the rest of her work. In the photo of the roses, we poured the wax over the surface of the photograph instead of painting on layers of wax. That gives the image a dreamy feel and a perfectly smooth surface that is very enticing.
Maro’s self portrait was made on tissue paper and adhered to a board with wax, letting much of the clear medium show through.
If you’d like to join me for an Encaustic & Photography class, check the schedule online anytime at http://www.embracingencaustic.com/workshops/. If you can’t get to Oregon to see me I’ll come to your studio via my online classes. Check them out at http://www.womackworkshops.com.
I’m thrilled to make my big announcement — my new video workshops are now available online at RobertsonWorkshops.com!
Our online video classes bring an art teacher with international experience right into your studio. Work at your own pace, get personalized instruction, and interact with a community of like-minded artists. Best of all, every class is just $49 US with six months of access to videos and the class community.
I’ve been teaching in-person in my studio and around the country for years, but availability has always been limited to a handful of students per class. At the same time, so many of you have expressed interest in my workshops over the years with the regret that you live too far away to join me. To solve both of these problems my husband Bill and I decided to offer video classes, delivered online.
Here’s How it Works
- All videos are available immediately so you can work at your own pace.
- Your purchase gives you six months of access to the videos starting the moment you purchase the class.
- The class includes an online forum where you can chat with the instructor and other students, share photos of your work in progress and post finished work.
- The instructor will answer forum questions several times daily for the first 7 days of each month.
- You’ll also benefit from discussions with all of the other students throughout the duration of the class.
For those of you who haven’t tried encaustic painting before the new web site even includes a free video on how to set up your own encaustic studio.
Can you help me spread the word?
Please forward this link to a friend or two who you think might be interested. I’ve announced this on FaceBook and Twitter recently too, so if you see those posts please “like” them or retweet. Many thanks…
In the last couple of months things have finally slowed down a little for me in the office, allowing me more time in the studio. It’s always an interesting balance between arranging the shows and actually creating work for them! In the new year I plan to teach fewer workshops so this trend can continue, so if you see a class you like take it while you can. One of the biggest benefits of this is time to consider what I’m painting and why, as well as time to experiment and play. And I think I’m on to something.
I’ve always had a strong connection to words and text in my work. It started maturing as full stories about my childhood in a loosely written text as you see below in my earlier digital work with “Knew You Could”. Yes, that’s me in my majorette uniform, determination etched on my face. My sister tells me I often show the same face today which probably got me where I am!
As my work changed, so did the text. Eventually my work had just a word here or there, or even just part of a word included in the work. There was a short time where there was no text at all, but it was always in my mind.
After a while I came to see that is was just the shapes of the individual letters I was interested in, and recently those have been sprinkled throughout my work (tiny gold letter on right side of the one below). For me the letters are a reminder that everything we say has an impact on those around us and that influence sticks around in one form or another. Once spoken, you can’t take words back. I visualize those words as breaking apart and falling to earth or floating on the wind where they become part of our history for better or worse.
In the painting above the letters are from stencils or handwritten script in the background (upper third, right and left), taking a back seat to the other imagery that became prominent in my work throughout the past year.
As the year comes to a close I’m finding the text is becoming more important to me again, but this time it’s an abstraction of the letter forms I’m interested in. It seems the look of the text is coming full circle visually, but the representation is the complete opposite. Instead of helping me preserve stories from my past these forms represent the stories that have been lost over time. Stories told too rarely become muddled and impossible to understand, lost to time.
I’m not sure exactly where this is all headed yet, but I’m excited to continue the journey. I encourage you to take a look at your own work and see if you have any patterns emerging that you might want to explore. Give yourself the gift of time and perspective to see what your muse is trying to tell you and you many have some wonderful surprises in store for the new year!
I’m almost unpacked and organized from the encaustic conference and need to now turn my full attention back to my biggest project of the year, the show I’m curating in Oregon called Luminous Layers: Exploring Contemporary Encaustic.
There was a nice article in the Oregonian this morning by Jan Goetze to kick things off as well as a TV commercial that will be airing on KATU this week. We start installing the show on Monday so I’ll try to post some photos of the process as we go.
There will be exhibit tours and artist demonstrations each of the three days, as well as a panel discussion on Friday, June 25, at 7:30 pm. “Why Wax? How Encaustic Informs Our Art” will feature artists Jeff Schaller, Cari Hernandez, and Kanaan Kanaan with moderator Andrea Benson. (Lakewood Center for the Arts, $5) You can see the festival program online to help you plan your weekend. I hope to see you there!
Today I received the shipment I’ve been waiting for, just over 2,000 more copies of my book, Embracing Encaustic: Learning to Paint with Beeswax. I was anxious to get them because I was down to a mere 60 books from the previous two printings, but NOT anxious to get them all down the stairs to my basement for storage. Ugh. Sometimes I wish I had printed a brochure like a normal person.
Thanks to all of you who have supported my by buying this book, and all who have written me such nice notes thanking me for writing it. Please keep spreading the word at least 2,000 more times! 🙂
The Second National Encaustic Painting Conference will take place at Montserrat College of Art, June 6-8, 2008. Montserrat is in Beverly, Massachusetts, a coastal town north of Boston.
Last year there were 140 of us from around the country (and beyond!) who attended panels, demonstrations, talks, an art opening (Hot Stuff, juried by Zola Solamente of Arden Gallery in Boston), informal gallery discussions, and plenty of networking. My blog posts provide a good overview of the event. This year they expect the conference numbers to double, so if you are interested in attending you should make your decision as soon as possible.
I’m also pleased to announce that Joanne Mattera (author of The Art of Encaustic Painting) has asked me to participate in the conference by doing 2 demonstrations and a book signing for Embracing Encaustic: Learning to paint with beeswax.
My demonstration will be on Painting with Masks and Stencils to Develop the Image where I will reveal some of my favorite stenciling and masking techniques for protecting one part of the canvas while working on another. I use ordinary household materials to make marks and textures with my wax to form lines, shapes and imagery. For example, in the work shown here the shape of the bird was cut out of cheesecloth which was then used to mask the layers below as the white wax was applied, giving the piece much more depth than if I simply painted a bird. Using masks offers a simple way to develop striking forms using nothing but wax. I’ll also have a binder with images from many other artists that will also include notes on how they use masks and stencils in interesting ways. It’s my low-tech answer to not being able to do a slide show AND a demo in the same hour. My demo will be offered twice, in both the Saturday and Sunday conference roster. I hope to see you there!
A friend just told me that my book, Embracing Encasutic: Learning to paint with beeswax, is listed as a best seller on the publisher’s web site. That’s so fun! When I put the book together I thought it would be a nice way to keep my students, who were just getting started with encaustic painting, from making all the mistakes I did. I thought I’d sell a few locally and send a few to galleries, but this has really taken off!
Thanks to everyone who has supported me in this project and for all of your enthusiasm for this book.
Today is the day! My new book, Embracing Encaustic: Learning to paint with beeswax. has been published. It is a 40 page instructional book that is brief but to the point, distilling knowledge from many sources into an easy to follow instruction manual. This is the book I wish I’d had when I was getting started! The idea for the book came around when a friend told me about Blurb.com, an on demand digital publisher. I realized that I has a good part of the book written in the form of class handouts, so I figured all I would have to do was illustrate them to make a handy beginner’s manual. Of course that was a lot more work than I expected (it always is with my big ideas!), but I’m really proud of how it all came out.