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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

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What a party! Last weekend there was a huge grand opening party at the eagerly awaited Mark Woolley Gallery where one of my paintings has already sold. Long time Portland art broker and gallerist Mark Woolley opened this new space as part of The Settlement galleries in Pioneer Place. For those of you were able to visit my “Spots of Time” show at People’s Art, Mark’s new gallery is on the same floor. Make sure you also have time to visit Place, another gallery on the same floor with a fantastic show this month (photos below).

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Songs Never Cease, 36 x 48, installed at Opus VII Gallery

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?

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

Earthly Hopes, 12 x 28, encaustic on panel by Linda Womack

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.”

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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.

Shadows Reveal, 36 x 48, Encaustic on panel, (c) Linda Womack, 2011

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.

What Cannot Be Torn Away, 12 x 28 (top) and What Can Never Be Torn Away, 14 x 36, both encaustic on panel, (c) Linda Womack, 2011

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.

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CALL FOR ENCAUSTIC ART: Juried by Wendy Aikin and Daniella Woolf, WAX hopes to introduce the public to the diversity of methods and techniques currently employed by contemporary encaustic artists. Two and three-dimensional work will be considered. Show is at the Pajaro Valley Arts Council in Watsonville, CA. Deadline 2/3/12.

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’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.

Join our mailing list to be notified when new classes are added (click link and look in right column).

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…

This encaustic conference event attracts artists all over the world and this year there were 35 states in the US represented as well as artists traveling from Canada, England, Mexico, Brazil, Spain New Zealand. The conference was held in Provincetown this year which allowed for some changes to the format and new venues for post conference workshops.  I think Joanne found an excellent partner in working with Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill and its Executive Director, Cherie Mittenthal, who was wonderful to work with.

PROVINCETOWN


Our first night in P-town was spent at the Lobster Pot with Mike and Kathryn from Enkaustikos, Kimberly and Judy, my buddies from Portland. This was a great restaurant, not to be missed! They even had a nice steak for me (I’m allergic to seafood). Other restaurants we really enjoyed were The Squealing Pig, Bubalas, and the Portuguese Bakery which had real Malasadas like I get in Hawaii!

We managed to fit is several outings to the surrounding areas and I’m so glad we took the time to do it. Provincetown has so much to offer!

  

This is the view from the top of the 252 foot tall Pilgrim Monument in the middle of town. The web site  refers to the climb as a “heart-healthy walk to the top on 116 steps and 60 ramps,” which by the way is totally worth it.


We booked a dune tour which took us by the famous “dune shacks,” the simple beach cabins of numerous artists and writers during the past century. You can see one here in the upper left area of the photo. Below are cranberry bogs surrounded by sand dunes. It’s gorgeous out there!

I also enjoyed a sunset cruise on the last night, relaxing in the warm breeze. The Pilgrim Monument is way off in the distance.

GALLERIES


On Friday night we made our way to the several openings at galleries that were showing encaustic work in conjunction with the conference.


Later we discovered the wonderful Galeria Cubana, which didn’t have encaustic work but did have some fine paintings we enjoyed very much.

CONFERENCE

The conference itself was good again this year, with so many wonderful events going by almost in a blur. I’m including some photos below to give you a flavor of the event.


This year I was on a panel called Mastering Media, a discussion about marketing the art we’re all working so hard to make. I spoke about getting my book, Embracing Encaustic, from and idea into reality and many of the successes and bumps along the way. The audience seemed to really like hearing about all the craziness that went on behind the scenes. My fellow panelists were (from left) Jeff Schaller, Nancy Natale, me,  Cherie Mittenthal and moderator Joanne Mattera. Thanks to Corina Alvarezdelugo for allowing me to use her photo here.


This was our little posse for the weekend with Kimberly Kent, Judy Wise and Jess Greene.

Lisa Pressman gave a wonderful lecture with a behind the scenes look at several encaustic studios.

Greg Wright had the crowd cheering for his demonstration of working with shellac, inks and powders to make patterned effects. “Do you want to go a few minutes more?” he asked…

Jackie Battenfield, author of the excellent book, The Artist’s Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What you Love, was our keynote speaker. She got the crowd all revved up and organized in thinking about what we should be thinking about next in our careers.

Here’s part of my work in the hotel fair, a new addition to the conference line up. I’ll bring more next time, now that I see how much we all love to shop!


David A. Clark went all out with new work just for the hotel fair and a true installation style. Brilliant!

POST CONFERENCE WORKSHOPS

There so much to do before, during and after a class, especially one that you travel to teach. Because of that many teachers will offer to assist a colleague on a pay it forward type of arrangement as I did this year.


I was the assistant for Charyl Weissbach’s Mainly Metals class at Castle Hill during the post-conference workshops. Charyl taught her students how to work with most things metallic, from paint to powder, pigment sticks and even metal leaf. Charyl was the assistant for my friend Kimberly’s class last year (see below).

  

Kimberly Kent had an adventurous class again this year with plein air painting in encaustic. See the little camp stoves and torches they are using? It’s not for the faint of heart, but if you’re up for traveling with your wax it will allow you to paint directly from nature.


And that’s a wrap for this post on the 5th International Encaustic Conference. Nancy Natale and Lynette Haggard surprised Joanne with two huge cakes and a card signed by all to thank her for her efforts in making each conference so special. Nancy is pictured here with Cherie and Joanne on the right, wearing special hats for the occasion.

Upon A Singing Wind, 24" x 24", Encaustic, oil, fabric, foil

Usually the show comes first, and then the catalog. This time the process happened in reverse beginning with Daniella Woolf’s book called Encaustic with a Textile Sensibility which featured 4 of my paintings. This “gallery between pages” showcases the work of more than 20 artists from the US and Canada who paint in encaustic with techniques often used in printed textiles or woven cloth. That book is the basis for this unique exhibit.

Kimball Art Center
Park City, Utah
June 4 – July 31, 2011

My work, Upon A Singing Wind, was started while a friend was in hospice and finished shortly after he died. My work often reflects on the residue of our lives and what impressions are left after we are gone. In this case the frayed fabric pieces were the perfect material to  represent how my friend was slowly untethering from this world. After he passed I added the last bit of fabric to signify his departure from a life well lived. Though we will miss him,  the image is meant to be seen as more joy than sorrow, with all the chaos of this world far below his newly released spirit.

I’m honored to have my work in such amazing company, alongside several artists I’ve admired for years. If you’re in the area I hope you’ll be sure to see the show.

Work from a new series. Flowing Forth, 8" x 8", (c) Linda Womack

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!

Knew You Could, Digital Collage, 20" x 16", (c) Linda Womack

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.

Surrounding Courage, Encaustic and Mixed Media, 13" x 13", (c) Linda Womack

Songs Never Cease, Encaustic and Mixed Media, 48" x 36", (c) Linda Womack

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.

The large painting at the bottom is called Mixed Messages, 25" x 25", (c) Linda Womack

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!

A few of the new paintings you'll see in my studio this year

Here are a few of the new paintings you'll see in my studio this year. I'll also be painting all weekend, so stop by for a demonstration.

How can it be October already? It’s tough to believe that fall is here already, but the Portland Open Studios signs that are popping up all over town are a sure sign of it. My studio will be open on October 9, 10, 16 and 17 from 10 am – 5 pm each day. Come visit me at 5417 SE Stark St, at the corner of 55th and Stark.

Of course it’s free to visit my studio, but to see the other 99 artists on the tour you’ll need to purchase a tour guide that includes pictures of all the artists’ work and has a convenient map of all studio locations. This guide, sold for $15, serves as a ticket for two people and kids are free!

I’ll be repeating my extremely popular silent auction of my older work, sketches and experiments, so there will be some great deals for all levels of collectors. View the full auction list here.

I’ve also uploaded a preview of my mini paintings, always popular at this show. During Portland Open Studios these will be $10 less than listed on the web site, so $50 framed and $40 unframed. They make great presents!

If you would like a Tour Guide, you can buy them at Muse Art & Design, ArtMedia, 23 Sandy, Powell’s Books, New Seasons Markets and many more retailers around town. This year you can even buy tour guides online or download the guide as an app for your iPhone! You can get a preview of the artists in the tour at www.portlandopenstudios.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!

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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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