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Wax Weekend workshop: Photo Encaustic

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Luminous Landscapes

Every year I hear from more artists who are combining their travel plans with learning new art techniques. A couple of years ago I had people from 4 different countries in one of my classes, and since I only take 6 students at a time that’s pretty impressive!

This year in addition to my five-day Wax Week intensive workshops, I’m also offering a few two- and three-day Wax Weekend sessions that focus on a particular theme including Luminous Landscapes, Photo Encaustic and my brand-new Secret Messages class.

Wax Weekends (2-3 days)
5/19-5/21: Photo Encaustic
6/24-6/25: Luminous Landscapes
7/7-7/9: Secret Messages

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Secret Messages

Wax Week (5 days)
8/2-8/6: Textured Landscapes

One of the most exciting things about working with encaustic are the unusual textures you can add to your paintings, so for this year’s Wax Week class I’m offering something new called Textured Landscapes. It’s a radical extension of my shorter Luminous Landscapes class. This 5-day intensive workshop combines some of my most popular classes with some brand new techniques that will keep you creating new work for years to come.

In this class we’ll focus on creating Textured Landscapes using encaustic with a wide variety of materials including textured gesso, watercolor, pigment sticks, and photo transfers. We’ll use whatever media we need to create your vision, and working in small groups in my studio makes that possible. I hope you’ll join me in Oregon soon!

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Wax Week workshop: Textured Landscapes

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Linda Robertson is a painter and the author of the Embracing Encaustic book series. She offers live encaustic workshops in her Portland, Oregon studio as well as online encaustic classes.

I’ve taught encaustic workshops for many yearsPresto Square Griddle using pancake griddles as the hot palettes, so I’ve become pretty opinionated about the type I like. I have a wonderful R&F Paints heated palette which I love, but since most students won’t be able to get that right away I like to teach with what they’re likely to have at home.

My favorite griddle brands are Rival and Presto because they last for years and offer fairly even heat which is important when painting with wax. I was almost tempted this time by another brand offering a white ceramic surface which would be great for mixing colors, but the reviews were not terrific, specifically mentioning uneven heat. So off I went to get my new griddles. It was a pretty funny trip because you get some strange looks at the store when you buy pancake griddles in bulk!

I was disappointed not to find the type I love but then I realized I had stumbled upon something even better: a square griddle (easier to reach everything if you’re shorter like me or can’t stand while you paint) with a tiny drainage area (which keeps any wax you’re mixing on the palette from falling into the drain) and a warming tray attachment that can be removed and replaced with a wooden dowel to create a handy paintbrush holder.

I’ve just replaced all of my griddles with this style for my upcoming classes, so I’m excited to try them out!

Brush holder

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Linda Robertson is the author of the Embracing Encaustic Book series and she offers live encaustic workshops in her Portland, Oregon studio as well as online encaustic classes.

Colorful Wax ScrollsWhen Fred Swan and I had our show together People’s Art gallery a couple of years ago we looked at those big beautiful windows with the light streaming in and knew something special was going to happen there.

After some discussion about what would best fill that space we were intrigued by the idea of wax scrolls. We worked independently on them, then brought our creations together as an installation in that front window. Having so many panels of paper and wax with that delicate natural light penetrating them filled the space with energy and movement. It was beautiful! People were very excited about the feel and scent of these art works, as well as their visual appeal.

Since that show I’ve made (a lot!) more scrolls and I’ve come up with new ways to add color and patterns to the paper, cut outs to be removed and reattached and a new way to hang them. It’s such a relaxing and meditative process, but it also gives you the instant satisfaction of making a 5 foot long piece of art in a day! If you’d like to try this yourself come see me in my Portland, Oregon studio this Saturday, 9/27. There are just a few spots left in this class and it won’t be offered again until next summer. If you’re not in the area join my mailing list to be notified when my online class for this is ready! I’m making big plans for that right now…

Here's Fred on the ladder installing one of the panels at our show

Here’s Fred on the ladder installing one of the panels at our show

This is the view of our installation from inside the gallery.

This is the view of our installation from inside the gallery.

Perparing paper scrolls

Dorothy working on her scroll in one of my recent classes

New designs

Here’s a set of scrolls I made recently with several new techniques

Lit scrollsWax Scrolls

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.

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BTW, Pauline is the photographer who took these amazing images of my 12 year old lab Sadie for her inspiring Good Old Dog Project.

Sadie   Sadie close up

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!

When you mix colors do you tend to make nothing but mud? There’s a class for that! (and a quick tip below…)

On June 19 from 6 – 9 pm I’m hosting guest instructor and color expert Kimberly Kent in my Portland, Oregon studio to help you expand your painting palette while you develop your color sensibility.

Learn to mix, glaze and see color better. The exercises and techniques in this class will give you new tools for understanding how to mix just the color you need. You’ll work in encaustic paint in this class, but these concepts can be applied to color mixing in any medium. Find out more about my classes or register here.

How to Avoid Making Mud

Here’s a great example of the tips you’ll learn in this class: To avoid making mud, mix two primaries first. Once you get as close as you can to your desired color add the third primary. For example, mix yellow and blue to make green, then a touch of red to get the green you want. Just a few tips like this will have you mixing colors like a pro!

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Linda Womack offers encaustic workshops in her Portland, Oregon studio as well as online encaustic classes at RobertsonWorkshops.com.

Last week I hosted a 5-day Wax Week Mixed Media workshop in my Portland, Oregon studio. I usually travel across the country offering this workshop at schools like Idyllwild Arts in California and Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts in Tennessee, but I needed some time off from all the packing and unpacking so I invited students to come visit me this year.

Students from Washington, California, Colorado and Texas joined in the fun working with encaustic paint, paper, pastels, stamps, pigment sticks, inks, encaustic monotypes, wax scrolls and more! Here are a few photographs from the June session.

If you missed this Wax Week class you have another chance in August when the weather in Portland will be spectacular for a visit. Come join us!

Dawn adds texture and color to her panel

A few of the 5 foot long wax scrolls we created, Karen on left, Laura on right

Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve finally had time to put together some preview videos for our online encaustic classes at RobertsonWorkshops.com. Take a peek:

That’s right, if you can’t get to my classes in Oregon I’ll come to you online! View my class listings and more free videos at RobertsonWorkshops.com.

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 recently received this wonderful note from a regular student in my online classes. Congratulations Jane!

“One of my encaustic collage pieces was just juried into a show at Artworks here in Richmond, so I wanted to let you know and thank you for the great online workshops……I used everything, including The Great Undo!* The skeletal leaf was brought into the house on the back of one of my dogs, so you just never know where you’ll get a collage element!”

Work by Jane Porter, a student in my online encaustic collage class

* The Great Undo is one of the lessons in my Encaustic Collage class which shows you how to quickly and easily remove parts of your encaustic painting that you don’t like. As you might imagine, it’s a VERY popular lesson.

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.


This collage, also by Lara Blair, is a combination of photographs on different weights of paper and some faux gold leaf around the top edges.


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.

A couple of weeks ago I taught my first workshop internationally. I spent a week in Okanagan Falls, Canada teaching two encaustic workshops to 24 very enthusiastic women. We had fun! It was easily the best view I’ve ever had from a studio window, looking out on beautiful Skaha lake.

Normally I have lots of photos to post here from each workshop, but mine didn’t come out so well this time. Luckily my host, Thea Haubrich, from Twin Lakes Encaustic Art saved the day with her own excellent photos of the workshops. Thanks Thea! Thea and I have been long distance friends for years now, but this trip gave me a chance to get to know her and her husband much better and to finally visit their beautiful town.. It was a pleasure to teach in Canada and meet such a nice group of poeple.

Many of you have met my husband, Bill, on these teaching trips and might wonder what he does while I’m so busy. He put up a fun blog post about this trip here so I thought I’d share it. Talk about being in the right place at the right time! He always manages to find something interesting everywhere we go.

Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis know all about my previous visits to the John Campbell Folk School, so I won’t revisit the basics again. Instead I’ll focus on this amazing group of students brought together by my workshop there a few weeks ago. Wow, did we have fun! I’ve got several photos here for you to get an idea of how the workshop unfolded, and what wonderful friendships were forged.

captionDru and Louise had very different styles of working, but had a great time working together. Louise arrived in her big truck with just about everything under the sun so when we were missing something everyone asked, “Does Louise have it?” and she usually did. Thank goodness!

captionAnne and Susan taught wood turning instructor Jim about the basics of encaustic. Jim, along with several other instructors and students from other classes, stopped by to see what all the fuss was about and left with a copy of my book Embracing Encaustic in tow to get started at home.

Here is the whole class on the last day along with some of their favorite work. The photo was taken by our wonderful studio assistant Susi Hall who managed to avoid my camera!

This group was made up of extraordinary experimenters who tried hard to find new approaches to use with their wax. Check out some of their work:

Stacey made this wonderful piece with pins running through balls of wax that were scraped off of other paintings. It's a wonderful reminder that everything doesn't need to be flat!

Lynn brought in a ceramic panel that was bisque fired and added transparent wax to enhance the surface.

Ruth made this wonderful piece look like leather by combining wax, shellac and fabric.

Rodney is vision impaired and contacted me about it before class. I figured out that because I feel the wax as much as I look at it that we should be able to find a way for him to work in the medium. We did! This image uses an image transfer for the figures and the rest was done with a smaller paint brush and his little flashlight to help him see the brush detail as he painted. Nicely done!

Dru made this piece with a hand colored photograph glued to the board then covered with clear medium. I showed her how to use wax crayons and PanPastels on top of the wax for delicate surface details. Dru sold this piece to a student from another class during our show at the end of the week.

Anne worked with cigar boxes as bases for several of her pieces and come up with some interesting designs, a few of which looked like shrines.

We had a critique at the end of class where everyone was able to show off their favorite work in private before it went to the exhibit.

During class I mentioned that my dog, Sadie, needs surgery and I was very worried about her. Someone found a photo of her in my collage materials and everyone worked together on this painting of Sadie, wishing her a speedy recovery. It was such a sweet gesture that they made me cry. Thanks everyone!

The two funniest comments from the week:

1. That looks like a hamhock!

2. That girl ‘aint right.

Both said with a smile, and both well received. Yes, it was an extraordinary group, and it was my pleasure to be a part of it. 🙂

I would never plan to do two full week classes back-to-back in such different parts of the country, but sometimes things just work out that way. I packed up at Idyllwild in California on Friday night, flew out Saturday — arriving after dark — and was set up and teaching again by Sunday in Tennessee.

That doesn’t even make sense on paper much less in the real world but it worked thanks to the amazing team of summer interns at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts who helped me get settled in and set up quickly.

It didn’t hurt that they have more power in that studio then I’ve ever had for a workshop, but we still had to try a few configurations to get it just right. I felt like the indecisive woman changing her mind on where the couch should be, but it’s important to get the tables and equipment set up in a way that fosters community and we did just that.

I had a whopping 15 students in this class. Look at all that power!

Below is a video tour of our classroom, with the gallery just outside our doors for instant inspiration.

I was thrilled to have my work on the anchor wall for the show, and even sold one of these pieces while I was there.

They have an excellent gallery at Arrowmont, run by the talented Gallery Coordinator Karen Green. It’s essentially the hallway between the classrooms but what could have been very ordinary has been transformed into a series of intimate spaces with the use of stones, fountains and quiet seating areas.

My studio neighbor (and new buddy) Susan Fecho discusses her work in the gallery. Click on this photo to see more of her mixed media work.

Susan's assistant Evan was kind enough to share some of their class demos with my students too.

There was a great feeling of collaboration throughout the week. I often invite students and teachers alike from other classes to stop by and see what they can do with the wax in their own projects, and several of them took me up on it including TJ Erdahl (below) the Arrowmont Program Manager who wanted to make a waxed hat for his fascinating ceramic sculpture.

Mary Ann gets the kinks out with a quick hoop break.

As you can see above we did manage to have some fun and that often included “hoop breaks” with our own cruise director Sara Gibson. She brought several hula hoops to share, including one that’s collapsible for travel (!) and got everyone into it (see video below).  She’s fantastic at this!

Another fun break was the Artist-in-Residence open house, where we could see how these talented artists spend their year at Arrowmont. The video below takes you through the work spaces of Andrea Moon, Shawn O’Connor, Wyatt Severs and Jennifer Wells.

Believe it or not, we did do some actual painting during the week. The studios at Arrowmont are open late into the night so there was a lot of time to work too. I was astounded my the sheer number of pieces that were finished, but they were also really high quality.

Several students traded or sold work to one another on the last day of class and everyone went home with some work to be proud of.

My buddy Carolyn aka "spider woman" prepares the real thing for one of her paintings.

We had to snip off his back legs to get him flat enough, then attach them again with wax. Yes, it was icky. And yes, he was long dead!

What a fun group! Special thanks to my studio assistant Lynn Bland, back row third from the left. Thanks for all of your help!

These wonderful folks just about made me cry when they presented me with this beautiful water tumbler, a big bar of chocolate and a beautiful card signed by everyone. Now I’ll always have my water at hand, but that chocolate is LONG gone. Thank you all so much!

I’ll be teaching outside of Oregon so much this summer that I have time to invite a couple of guest artists to teach in my studio. The first I’ll introduce you to is my friend Kimberly Kent, who has been working in encaustic for many years and is an expert with color. If you’ve taken one of my classes you probably heard my joke that Kimberly could mix plaid! OK, I didn’t say it was a good joke, but it’s true.

Kimberly and I also have a connection with my roots in Hawaii, so we often share music, food and drink (!) of the islands. She began painting in 1983 in Kona, studying, teaching and selling her work in a local studio/gallery.  The journey of art making has taken her through many media and more than 12 countries. She paints in oil, mixed media and encaustic and is currently breaking new ground painting encaustic en plein air. More on that below…

Expanding Your Encaustic Color Palette
Next Date TBD. Check the web site for details (below)

Creating a color wheel in encaustic

In this excellent companion to my Making Your Own Paint class, Kimberly will help you expand your encaustic palette while you develop your color sensibility. Learn to mix, glaze and see color better. The exercises and techniques in this class will give you new tools for understanding how to mix just the color you need. Each student will mix a full range of colors from basic colors and leave class with a traditional color wheel and charts to use for future reference. The class will be taught in encaustic, with a set of basic mixing colors. All supplies and tools will be provided.

Encaustic Landscapes en Plein Air
Thursday, May 13, 5 pm – 9 pm, $95

Painting outside en plein air

The term en plein air comes from the French, “in the open air” and that’s just how you’ll paint in this class using a camping stove to heat your paint and a torch for fusing. The technique refers to landscape painting completed on site, in a natural setting. With the right tools and techniques you can paint in encaustic in the field. A plein air painting concentrates details on colors and the play of light and shadow. You’ll begin with large shapes and blocks of color tones while keeping in mind the lights and shadows. Most plein air artists start in this way and quickly lay out the entire painting. At first it may look like an abstract work, but  slowly you’ll add detail to your painting until you have captured the essence of the scene before you. Treat yourself to this new way of seeing your world.

Values & Veiling
Next Date TBD. Check the web site for details (below)

Learn to see colors as values for a richer palette

This class is designed as the next step in expanding your use of color in encaustic. Kimberly will have you start  with some basic exercises to help you see your colors as values, exploring the use of shadows, darkness, contrasts and light. Using simple compositions you will put this knowledge to work. She will borrow techniques from other art forms and adapt them to work with encaustic. Composition, value,  and color theory techniques will help you bring your work to the next level.

Veiling with layers of translucent color can produce amazing results. You will play with veiling and layering to create depth, distance and interest in our paintings. All supplies and tools will be provided.

I hope to see some of you in these new classes! as always, you can see my full schedule of classes within Oregon and around the US and Canada this summer on the Embracing Encaustic web site.

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Online Encaustic Classes



RobertsonWorkshops.com online video classes bring Linda Robertson, an art teacher with international experience, right into your studio. Work at your own pace and watch the videos as many times as you want for a whole year.

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My Books: Embracing Encaustic Series

There are now two books under the Embracing Encaustic title, Learning to Paint with Beeswax and the new title Advanced Techniques for Mixing Media, each focusing on specific encaustic techniques. Between the two books there are a total of 70 artists who share their work, reveal their personal painting methods and explain why they are compelled to make the work they do.Find out more and purchase them online here.

Embracing Encaustic: Learning to Paint with Beeswax
By Linda Robertson

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