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Here’s a video of a recent studio visit with my friend and fellow encaustic enthusiast Elise Wagner. I say enthusiast because Elise not only paints with wax, she manufactures a terrific line of encaustic paints called Wagner Encaustics. I use them when I paint — her yellow ochre is my favorite color — and students in my encaustic workshops love them too!

This video was made by Eva Lake, who offers frequent peeks inside artist studios here in Portland, Oregon. You can see more of Eva’s excellent interviews here.

First Proof Pages for Embracing Encaustic

I received the first press proofs of my revised book yesterday and they looked better than I ever imagined! The resolution is so good that you can see brush strokes in many of the works and the color is brilliant. I was especially interested in seeing the work of my 25 guest artists, as those are all new to this edition of the book.

Here’s a list of the guest artists who will be included in the Embracing Encaustic: Learning to Paint with Beeswax:

Elizabeth BackEmbracing Encaustic Cover
Janet Bartlett Goodman
Andrea Benson
Natasia Chan
Linda Cordner
Mary Farmer
Kevin Frank
Amber Geroge
Eileen Goldenberg
Diana Gonzalez Gandolfi
Bridgette Guerzon Mills
Jeff Juhlin
Kimberly Kent
Scott Reilly
Sue Roberts
Paula Roland
Marybeth Rothman
Tracy Spadafora
Amy Stoner
Alicia Tormey
Elise Wagner
Judith Williams
Judy Wise
Daniella Woolf
Gregory Wright

In addition to sharing their work in the book, each artist also shares some insight into how the work was created, often sharing surprising tips and tricks along the way. I think this is my favorite aspect of the new edition. These artists have been so generous in sharing their knowledge! To view more work by each of these artists visit www.embracingencaustic.com for links to their web sites.

I’m expecting the books to arrive by the end of May. I’ll announce it on this blog when they are available for purchase!

This has been a very full month for me but thankfully I’ve still found time to enjoy some terrific art events my friends are participating in here in Portland. Take a look at what’s happening and try to get out to see these shows if you can.

Lorna Nakell


Lorna Nakell

Beppu Wiarda Gallery
319 NW 9th Ave., Portland, OR

Lorna studied at the Otis/Parson Art Institute in L.A. California and received her B.F.A. from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. Washington. “My paintings are informed primarily by Abstract Expressionism. They occasionally touch on narrative through the use of subtle figurative imagery including houses, hands and lanterns. Imagery is hand-cut from paper or realistically painted then immersed in layers of resin.” Also showing: Susan Harlan, Kathleen Caprario. See Lorna’s work online.

Eliese Wagner’s “Particle Sphere”

Elise Wagner
Butters Gallery, Portland, OR
Through March 26, 2008

“Particle Maps” is Elise’s ongoing study of science in relation to art. Her encaustic paintings evoke a celestial convergence of science and philosophy, an attempt to understand and connect. Also showing: Bernd Haussmann. See Elise’s work online.

Bridget Benton

Bridget Benton
Mad50 Art Space
SE Madison & 50th, Portland

Bridget’s shadowbox “Migration” was installed at the outdoor Mad50 art space just in time for the spring equinox. Designed specifically for this community art space at the corner of SE Madison and 50th, the piece is an exploration of home – what it means and how we find our way there. You can see more of Bridget’s work at CubeSpace (622 SE Grand Ave, Portland, OR) with an opening for the artist on March 28 from 6 – 8 pm.

This weekend I was the teaching assistant for my friend, Elise Wagner, who taught an encaustic class at Oregon College of Art & Craft. We had a great group of all women (surprised?). Why don’t more men take encaustic classes I wonder? In any case we had a wonderful time and everyone traded techniques and learned from one another. I spent a lot of the first day running down electrical problems, but I was still able to finish 3 little pieces. After all, I got an hour back this weekend so why not use it for art?

OCAC - light and dark

I decided to try starting one painting with a black background and one with white. It was an interesting exercise as I had to think backward on the dark piece. If I decide to do it on a regular basis it will take some more practice!

OCAC 2
OCAC pull lace

In the dark piece above I used a technique where you use lace as a stencil. Just put the lace on your smooth wax surface and paint right through it. After painting, scrape off the extra wax, lightly fuse and pull the lace up before it gets too cool. Beautiful!

cloud

This is my third piece, made with the scrap wax shavings on my table toward the end of the day, then enhanced with R&F pigment sticks and soft pastels. The texture at the top of the cloud is from that same lace I had been working with above. There was still wax on it so I used an iron to release it onto my board for a sort of ghost print of the original impression.

OCAC scrape Marty

I couldn’t resist this one. My new friend Mardy discovered the joy of scraping! This turned out to be just the beginning. The finished piece is on the right. Yes, that is the same piece! (Click on the images to see more detail.)

Libby

Libby went in a totally different direction, using pigment sticks on top of her wax to create a softer look.

Erin

Erin took her work in yet another direction layering image transfers one atop another to create a spectacular effect.

OCAC critique

We had a quick critique at the end of the day. Everyone left happy and ready to wax on!

OCAC critique

I’ll leave you with a sneak peek at what you’ll be seeing in the next 2 weeks as I get ready for the holiday shows that all want little work. I’ll be showing in Portland and Carmel through Christmas…

Holiday Lites Teaser

To view the whole sketches category, go here.

This weekend I stopped by the studio of my friend Elise Wagner, painter and encaustic paint maker, to see how she mixes her beautiful handmade paints. As it turns out, I got there too early to see the new fall colors she’ll have available soon at Art Media, but I did get to see the process in action. Take a look:

Set up mixing station

Here is Elise with her adorable dog Cleo in the mixing room.

Wax pastilles melting

This is an overhead shot of the wax pastilles melting in the large black vat from the previous photo. This process takes many hours of patient attention to get the consistency just right.

Melting Damar

While the wax is melting Elise also heats her damar resin along with a little beeswax. Once this is combination is fully melted she’ll add it to the big vat of wax.

Pigment

With this much paint to mix you bet Elise buys her pigments in bulk! I’m glad it’s her job to read up on the chemical properties of pigments and not mine. I just like to use them…

Finished encaustic paint

After the pigments are added the wax is poured into these handy ready to use containers and left to cool. (no more cat food cans!) These racks will fill up as the day goes on. After cooling, the cans are cleaned, labeled and prepared for shipping.

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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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