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Join me at 23 Sandy Gallery on February 7, 2009 for Working in Wax. This lecture will be a rich visual introduction to the history, tools and techniques of encaustic painting, along with an overview of contemporary artists working in this ancient medium. I’ll share images of several of my paintings as they were being created, showing some of the steps involved in building up the layers of wax and other media.

There will also be a screening of Sister Bee, a lyrical and beautiful documentary about six women beekeepers who encounter startling beauty and spiritual truth in their work with honeybees (Running time 30 minutes). Tickets are $10 and are available in my studio or by mail. Limited to 25 people.

Eventually I have to take a break from painting and teaching and when I do I like to get outside. I cherish every day it’s not raining here (Portland, Oregon) and our summers are amazing! Each evening in September there is a spectacular display of Vaux Swifts that gather to roost in the chimney at Chapman School.  Past years have seen as many as 35,000 swifts, but more recently high estimates have been around 15,000 swifts. This was our first visit to see the swifts in person and it was spectacular!

If you can’t see the video above go to YouTube. They also have many others uploaded by enthusiastic Portlanders. For more information visit the Audobon Society’s Swift Watch web page.

Many of you are certainly already fans of R&F Paints, makers of exceptional encaustic paint. Well, here’s more to love. Every other year they hold an international call for encaustic art and host the resulting show in their New York gallery. The good news is that they have posted images of the show online so we can all enjoy it.

Take a peek at the R & F Paints Biennial: Encaustic Works 2007 online, or look for it in New York until the end of September. The show will also travel to Muncie, Indiana in November 2007.

There is also a wonderful article about it in Chronogram Magazine.

As soon as I finished this piece I knew my work had taken a new path. This might even be the beginning of a new series! Time will tell. It’s usually obvious when I start a new series, but sometimes it creeps up on me. My mind is telling my body what to do but not always WHY I should do it. I’m really glad I thought to photograph this one in different stages because it really illustrates how much the work changes from beginning to end, and how you have to build up the layers of information as you go along in order to create complexity in the final work.

So here’s how my new work, Always in Season, came to be.

Always in Season Progression 1

I was trying a new red, Alizarin Crimson, which my husband appropriately nicknamed I-just-killed-my-roommate red. I had to agree that it was a bit much. That launched me into a quest on how to tone it down, which led to a fantastically layered area. I’m learning to embrace the mistakes as opportunities (though sometimes painful!) to try something new.

Always in Season Progression 2

At this point I was getting concerned about how dark the background was getting. I know some artists start with a layer of black and build up from there, but I’d never tried it before and I was afraid I’d get nothing but mud. A layer of clear medium on top of the black prevented the problem and I was very happy with the results.

Always in Season, 16″ x 16″,  Encaustic and mixed media

Always in Season, 16″ x16″

Encaustic, joint compound, and silver leaf on wood

To view more sketches look here.

OK, so it wasn’t on film at all but I did get up close and personal with a local reporter. Yesterday I met with Josephine Bridges who writes for numerous papers including a local favorite that covers my neighborhood: The Southeast Examiner. Josephine is writing a story on four Portland Open Studios artists who work with unusual materials, and our resident publicity hound, Bonnie Meltzer, put her in touch with me.

Grinch before

Josephine and I had met before, but last time I was doing demos in my dining room so she was very excited to see my new studio and all of my new work. I was nervous because I don’t usually get to talk with reporters — they usually review my work without any interaction from me — but she put me right at ease. We just sat and had a conversation as if she just stopped in for tea and the time flew by. Of course I did my homework beforehand and had a press kit ready. I haven’t made too many of those either but it’s easy to find advice online on what to include.

My press kit included:

  • A copy of my resume
  • My art statement
  • My two latest press releases (about the HGTV show and my solo show at City Hall)
  • A sheet titled “What is Encaustic?” so she can write knowledgeably about my technique without having to do any additional research
  • Two promotional post cards with images on my work on them, one with a sticker announcing upcoming shows.
  • Two business cards (Someone once told me to always include two so they can give one to a friend or have one at the office and one at home)
  • A CD with high resolution images of 5 recent paintings, an image list with titles and sizes, 2 images of me with my work, 2 images from my book (Embracing Encaustic). After looking over the book she was so enthusiastic that I gave her a copy of that too!
  • What I forgot: Copies of previous press clips (duh!) and a class schedule. It turns out that she wants to take a class!

Josephine was pleasantly surprised when I gave her the folder containing my press kit. Hopefully it will make it that much easier for her to use one of my images in the story. I shamelessly pointed out that I haven’t even done a press release on the book yet, so it’s something she might consider for another story. It seems like it could have a good DIY angle.

She did ask one question that I hadn’t had before: “What’s the one thing you want people to know about your work?” This is a great question! I told her that all the technical aspects of encaustic tend to scare some people off and they should know that it’s really not that hard to get started if you just know a few basic techniques.

Look for the article in the October issue of The Southeast Examiner.

For the last three years I’ve participated in Portland Open Studios, a juried tour of 98 artists work spaces which happens in the Portland Metro Area over the second and third weekends in October. My studio will be open on October 13 & 14 from 10 am – 5 pm, and as usual I’ll be doing demonstrations all weekend of different techniques of encaustic painting.

This video was put together by one of our members, Kindra Crick, and posted on YouTube so everyone can get a feel for the different types of art available on the tour this year. As you’ll see here, we have an amazing group of artists!

This is an amazing event, not just because you can visit so many artists working in such diverse media, but because each artist does a live demonstration of their work too. It’s like getting free art classes all over town! You will see artists painting, sculpting, blowing glass, and more, in all kinds of settings from elaborate lake shore studios to modest spaces in houses and garages. You are welcome to ask questions about materials and methods as you watch the artistic mind at work. You will even have a chance to purchase memorable artworks from the artists for a truly personal connection.

Tour Guides are available all over town including Art Media and Powell’s Books as well as from participating artists. Check out the Portland Open Studios web site for more locations and more previews of the artists work. Tour guides are only $15 for two adults for BOTH weekends. Oh, and did I mention that the kids are free? Can’t beat that.

If you’d like to receive a reminder a couple of weeks before the event join my mailing list to receive my monthly newsletter. By joining the list you’ll also receive invitations to my private studios parties.

class 2

Wow, what a fun group I had today in my Encaustic Painting Intensive class! It’s so special when all the participants encourage each other and are sincerely excited by what each other are doing. I’m lucky that my classes often end up with this little bonus, but today was especially nice.

class 1

I didn’t mention it to anyone in the class, but I got very little sleep last night after helping a dear friend through a crisis in the middle of the night. When I awoke this morning my second thought, after my friend, was how will I be coherent in class today? Luckily a cold shower helped to wake me up (why, oh WHY don’t I drink coffee?). I needn’t have worried though, because the enthusiasm of the women in this class was so infectious that by the time everyone left with their beautiful art work I was invigorated. I can teach these classes again and again and we never have quite the same class each time because the students help direct where we go and what we cover. It’s why I love to teach, never a dull moment! Thanks again ladies for a great class. And now, off to bed…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

class 3

Mona and friends

My friend and savvy Mortgage Broker, Mona Das (far right, above), threw one of her famous private parties in her trendy Pearl District condo last night, featuring my encaustic paintings on her walls. My husband Bill and I LOVE Mona because she is the one who helped us refinance our house so we could build out my new studio! Most of the guests had never heard of encaustic painting before so I put on my teaching cap and went to work. People were excited to learn about it and using my book to illustrate the process made it so much easier to explain.

Awakening

The favorite pieces of the night were easily Awakening (foreground, above) and the poorly placed “one above the toilet,” also known as All Things of Nature (below). Gee, I’m glad I decided to put it THERE. But I knew everyone would visit eventually! Oh well, live and learn. Thanks Mona!

All Things of Nature, 12″ x 12″

I recently met Anna Magruder of Keen Creative who is organizing the brand new Rebel Rabbit Craft Fair next weekend (on my birthday!) . She made it sound like so much fun that I wanted to be sure to spread the word.

Rebel Rabbit Craft Fair
July 29 (Sunday), 11am – 4pm
1847 E. Burnside
Portland, Oregon
www.rebelrabbitcraft.com

Rebel Rabbit 1 Rebel Rabbit 2 Rebel Rabbit 3 Rebel Rabbit 4

Here’s what they say about the fair: “We are hopping excited about the Rebel Rabbit Craft Fair. We have a full house of fabulous and talented crafters. View a list of our crafty vendors on our website. Purses from old cowboy boots, wallets from grandma’s wallpaper sample books, accessories made from lawn chair webbing … there’s a lot of creativity going on!

We will be partnering with local nonprofit Ethos Inc. and offering a fundraising raffle. One of Ethos’ goal is to provide free musical instruments to local kids who have lost their school music programs. We share their desire to develop and encourage creativity for people of all ages.”

Everyone is heading for the Park Blocks this Sunday, right? The Museum of Contemporary Craft will be holding a Block Party to celebrate their grand re-opening in their new building. It’s this Sunday, July 22, from noon – 7:30 pm.

The Museum is located at 724 NW Davis. There will be craft booths of all kinds, live music, and food booths on the North Park Blocks in front of the Museum. You can see demonstrations in glass-blowing, metalwork, woodworking, and more. And the Church of Craft, Portland Super Crafty, and DIY Lounge will all be there with fun make-and-take projects. (They’ll all be on Broadway, between NW Couch and NW Davis streets.)

More details and a schedule of events are at http://contemporarycrafts.org/programs_events.php.

Also take a moment to enjoy this great video they posted on YouTube to promote the party! I hope to see you there.

Wow, what a week! We really broke in the new studio with three classes in 8 days. The good news is that nothing actually broke, and not a circuit was blown. Glory be(e)!

Group working

I started the week with the Encaustic Intensive class, meant for those with little or no knowledge of the encaustic painting process. This is a full day crash course for getting started quickly. The next class was Wednesday night with a great group who wanted a live demonstration of the segment I did for HGTV’s That’s Clever craft show. Did I mention that it was over 100 degrees that day? Surprisingly my studio stayed much cooler than anyone expected but we drank a LOT of water. The show I was featured on will air again about every three months, so if you missed it check your local schedules or sign up for my newsletter and I’ll let you know when it will be on next.

This weekend I held my Advanced Encaustic Painting class which ran for 2 days. We covered an amazing array of techniques to help artists who already know the basics to break new ground and get inspired. As you can see from the photos below, I dare say we succeeded!

Karen scraping

Karen scraping away to create a design with one of the techniques we just learned.

Lisa masking a line with tape

Lisa is masking a line with tape. Fill the channel between the tape with wax and fuse with the tape in place to get a nice, crisp line.

Mazarine working with the tjanting batik tool

Mazarine working with a tjanting batik tool she brought back from a recent vacation. She was nice enough to give everyone a turn and we loved it! I’ll be adding this to my tool box immediately.

Karen with torch

In this advanced class everyone gets to try the propane torch, and it was a winner! No one wanted to go back to the heat gun after this.

Group with their work

Happy campers Lisa, Karen and Mazarine with their beautiful work. Thanks ladies for a great class!

Our boy is SO stubborn. Try to tell him he’s sick and there might not be much we can do for him and darn if he won’t prove us wrong. That’s my boy! Now don’t get too excited (but yes, I am) because he’s not “cured” but we have solved the current crisis for a little while.

Grommett Update - Home Again

The fluid therapy flushed the toxins out of his kidneys and brought his numbers back down to what they were in May when they were still high but manageable. For reference, the number that should be at 27 was at 59 in May and shot up to 93 last week. After this round of therapy it’s back to 57. See how that’s still a problem? Yeah. The good news is that he very clearly feels better and is eating on his own again. He even wanted to go for a short walk last night, so we are VERY happy. And I must admit, the boy had steak for dinner last night. We promised it to him before he went in and we came through. After all, he’s a little anemic so he needed the iron, right? Yeah, right, it was a medical decision.

So for now G-boy is doing as well as can be expected. The vet tells us he’s living on borrowed time but we plan to make the most of it. Thanks to everyone who said a little prayer. I know it made a difference.

Milepost 5 is a new development in Portland, Oregon that will offer affordable spaces for artists to work and live. Below is an invitation to the launch event on Wednesday, July 11.

live/work lofts in Portland

I have been on a tour of this development and it’s going to be BIG. Commissioner Adams is doing a great thing for the arts in Portland by supporting this project. I’m teaching class that night so won’t be able to attend but you might be interested to stop by or pass this on to your friends. Have fun!

 

IEA Portland Chapter meeting

Last night I invited all of the Portland encaustic artists I could find to meet at my studio to talk about starting a local chapter of the International Encaustic Artists (IEA). The IEA is a non-profit professional artists’ organization that
seeks to raise the level of excellence in encaustic fine art by providing global information exchange and raising interest about encaustic painting in the art world and with the general public.

Everyone is busy this time of year so I was happy to see that six people attended and several more expressed interest in future meetings. As I had hoped, it was a very casual event where we shared a couple of bottles of wine and talked about our art. I showed images from the IEA Member’s Retreat in California this spring and the recent National Encaustic Conference in Massachusetts, and eventually we got around to talking about what form a local chapter would take. We decided we would most like to participate in organizing group shows, trading studio visits, and networking with each other. Based on that the Portland Chapter of the IEA was born!

 

IEA Portland Chapter Members

Our inaugural members are, from left to right: Kimberly Kent, Natasia Chan, Melinda Fellini, Andrea Benson, Amy Stoner, Judy Wise and Linda Womack.

While at the National Encaustic Conference many of you recognized my husband, Bill, as “the builder” of my studio from photos on my blog, while others know him as the co-author of the book, Embracing Encaustic. He has been extremely supportive of me in my art quest so I’d like to return the favor and give you all some fun at the same time.

Bill is working on his first novel, The Big Spin, but in the meantime has just published a wonderful short story online. Two of his primary passions are writing and flightsimming. Recently he’s finding new and interesting ways to combine the two. His latest endeavor is Joyride, a short story based on a sim flight experience. He provided the words, and his buddy Nick Churchill did the images. Enjoy!

Read Joyride here.

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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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