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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.
I’ve taught encaustic workshops for many years 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!
Many artists need time alone in order to focus enough to get their work done. While I consider myself very sociable, even I think twice before I go to an art event because it’s still time away from my studio. It’s fine to have your alone time, but I want to encourage all of you to get out of your studios and go visit with other artists whenever you can! Local art events offer an easy way to visit many studios in a short period of time, so that would be a good place to start.
We just had a big one here in Oregon, called Portland Open Studios, and I was happy to visit with a number of artists I’ve never met before as well as those I try to visit regularly. I often post photos from my studio visits on my Facebook timeline.
At every studio I try to ask other visitors “what was your favorite stop so far?” This year several people mentioned Randall David Tipton. I hadn’t heard of before so on the list he went and boy am I glad of it! Read the rest of this entry »
OK folks, this is it, the show everyone in Portland is talking about! Join me this Saturday for this epic annual show that is also a fundraiser for the Oregon Food Bank. Peoples Art of Portland, Po Boy Art/Jason Brown, and Chris Haberman present…
4000+ Pieces of art
ALL ART IS $40
Cash / Credit and Carry
BIG opening Sat. Dec 14th at 2pm (until 9pm)
Bring canned food for free entry
700 SW Fifth (3rd floor)
Pioneer Square Mall, downtown Portland
open Thurs-Sun 12-6pm
show runs through Jan 12th
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!
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!
I met Jess Greene at the encaustic conference last year when she was just starting to figure out what she wanted next in her life. I’ve been thrilled to watch her fulfill her dream of providing some really interesting projects centered around helping people become more creative.
My online encaustic courses are listed on her SeekYourCourse.com web site and she’s about to launch a nationwide project called the Jumpstart Creativity Tour which will have a stop in my town of Portland, Oregon this summer. Read on for more information about Jess’ exciting projects and how you can get involved.
From Jess: In college, art classes were only for the art majors so despite my interest there never was room for me. And the desire was only a whisper anyway. I was pursuing other things.
A few years after college, when I was a science teacher, I started reading artist blogs. Blogging gave me a window into the lives and work of artists in a way that finished work in a gallery never could. I started feeling a strong desire to paint. Then I finally did. I went to an art retreat and my world shifted. Suddenly there was the possibility of making art in a supportive community of other creatives.
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?
A show of my new work will open next month, also featuring the abstract encaustic paintings of one of my students and friends, Fred Swan. Many thanks to our curator Chris Haberman for coming up with the title of the show which comes from a concept the English poet William Wordsworth called “Spots of Time.” These are small, memorable events that occur mainly outdoors and in touch with nature. According to Wordsworth these spots have lasting quality and are capable of “lifting us up when we are fallen.”
Do you think you could recreate one of your encaustic paintings in a larger size? That was my challenge recently and it was an interesting exercise.
I recently sold several of my encaustic paintings to a local firm for placement and they chose four, including one of my largest ever, to complete a lobby in one of their new buildings. The only problem was that 2 of the pieces were too small. Their logical question was “Can you remake them in a larger size?” My answer to them was YES of course, but I wondered to myself just how closely I could really match the panels.
These particular pieces had texture on the panels and a watercolor under painting as well as many layers of wax and pigment, so they weren’t exactly simple, but I thought the challenge would be fun — kind of a game — and it was. I was very pleased with the results and I’m happy to say that my clients were as well.
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.
What a week! It’s true that events in December tend to clump and overlap, looking for just the right day to stand out from the crowd, but last week was one of the busiest I’ve had in a while. I had art openings on 3 consecutive days, with lots of art and excitement to go around.
Portland Visual Art Exchange
I was thrilled to be invited again this year to the 6th Annual Portland Visual Art Exchange. A big thanks to Becca Bernstein, Sally Finch, TJ Norris and all their volunteers for all of their hard work!
Over 50 artists were invited to exhibit one piece of original work in a week-long, invitational show hosted at the Littman Gallery at Portland State University (PSU). The exhibit culminated in an art trade and public reception where the participating artists went home proud new collectors from some of the most talented artists in Portland.
I was thrilled to receive a wax and felt sculpture by Lisa Kaser, and my work went home with Bill LePore, Chair of the Art Department and Professor of Art at PSU.
Oakridge Park Opening
We celebrated the opening of Oakridge Park last week with 45 new apartments serving Lake Oswego area seniors who earn modest incomes. This is my second project with Northwest Housing Alternatives (NHA) who provide a wide range of affordable housing options and have the foresight to include original art by local artists in many of their projects. I’m honored to work with them through Kent Art Brokers.
The Big 200 Art Show
A big thanks to Chris Haberman and and Jason Brown for inviting me to be in The Big 200 Art Show (formerly The Big 100), hosted by People’s Art of Portland. I’m guessing that name may change again as there were over 250 artists by last count and over 2,500 art work available at the show.
Invited artists are each given 10 small wood panels and let loose to create whatever they like, knowing that all panels will sell for just $40 each in order to allow just about anyone to afford an original piece of art. This is an exciting show because when the art is hung there are no names included with the work which evens the playing field. Art from a very well known artist may be sitting right next to that of someone in their first art show, but all you need to care about is DO YOU LIKE THE WORK? I love this idea. The show was absolutely packed and my husband and I came home with 4 beautiful new paintings, all by artists who are new to us. The show is up through January 10 so check it out if you can!
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!”
* 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.