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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. 🙂

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Beautiful work created by several sutdents in my class at JCC

Beautiful work created by several students in my class including Suzanne, Zoey, Pat, Carol and Nan. Great work everyone!

I’m back from teaching a week long encaustic painting workshop at the John C. Campbell Folk School in beautiful Brasstown, North Carolina. Frontier Airlines managed to break most of my hot palettes on the way over so it was a very rocky start, but it ended with lots of new friends and 8 happy students. One of them even told me I changed her life, which is well worth the price of a few pancake griddles.

I’ve got some photos to share and even a short video tour of our amazing studio, then it’s back to reconstructing my own studio for classes in Portland. Enjoy!

Stephen masks out areas of his paiting with tape while Lori experiments with a new color

Stephen masks out areas of his painting with tape while Lori experiments with a new color

Carol used alcohol inks on her board before waxing to get a nice effect

Carol used alcohol inks on her board before waxing to get a nice effect

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Guest artist Mary Farmer discussing her work with my class

Suzanne and Zoey look on as Mary and I ham it up.

Suzanne and Zoey look on as Mary and I ham it up.

My buddy Mary Farmer recently moved to nearby Asheville and was kind enough to join us for a day to discuss her process and approach to painting in encaustic. She brought two of her larger paintings which were a real treat to see in person. Mary is one of the artists featured in my book, Embracing Encaustic: Learning to Paint with Beeswax.

art-stephen2 art-lori

Stephens painting was a class favorite (left) and Lori was fearless in experimenting with color and line (right).

Patty explains the process to some visitors to the class.

Patty explains the process to some visitors to the class.

art-patty art-pat2

Patty tried something a little more abstract here and it really worked (left) while this intriguing piece by Pat (right) was the result of one of her very first paintings.

Nan and Zoey try to finish a few more pieces before the show

Nan and Zoey try to finish a few more pieces before the show

At the end of the week each class shows work in the community room so we can see what everyone learned. I was very proud of the quality of art and how hard everyone worked all week. Even with long hours we still managed to have lots of fun!

At the end of the week each class shows work in the community room so we can see what everyone learned. I was very proud of the quality of art and how hard everyone worked all week. Even with long hours we still managed to have lots of fun!

And finally, here’s a short video tour of our very well appointed painting studio:

Thanks to all of you for a wonderful week!

Thanks to all of you for a wonderful week!

OK, just a few more photos from my encaustic class at the John C. Campbell Folk School. I’ve been back home for a few days now but had to do my dreaded taxes before returning to the fun stuff. Enjoy!

Jenny\'s shells

Jenny cast these shells out of paper clay and bisque fired them before the workshop. She painted them in class, experimenting with encaustic paint and shellac for different effects.

In the first image, Phyllis attached these two paintings together using nothing but wax. The drawing on the top was done using Saral graphite transfer paper. In the second, Susan created a zen collage that goes strikingly well with Phyllis’ work.

Here’s another great art work made on a clay backing. I think Linda’s fish is one of the most fun pieces we saw all week!

Remember that turned vase from the first post? Well here it is in finished for after being worked on by me, Phil the wood turning expert and the weaver, Robin. It will be auctioned off in the school’s big fund raiser this summer.

This was our table at the final show, where each class shared a small collection of all the art that was made during the week. Look at this beautiful work! I’m so proud. 🙂

After the show my family came to pick me up for a very short but very fun visit. I haven’t seen these kids in at least three years and could not believe how much they’ve grown! I’ve already been asked back to teach at the folk school in 2009 so I’ll have to make more time to see them on the next trip. One day wasn’t’ nearly enough, but we made the most of it.

My first full day at the John C. Campbell Folk School was just that – FULL. First, the campus is spread out just enough in the woods that it’s easy to get lost. One of my students, Phyllis, offered to drive my very heavy bags up to the painting studio and it took us two tries just to find her cabin.

Campbell Folk School

After I got all settled in at the studio we got right to work. I have nine students from Georgia, North Carolina and Massachusetts. Most have never tried encaustic painting before but a few were working on advanced techniques the first day. Constance and Jenny drove up with more wax than I’ve ever seen from Enkaustikos – buckets of fun! All of my students caught on so fast yesterday that today I accelerated the schedule so they’ll have more time to work on their own at the end of the week. We’ve already covered painting basics to get all of the workstations set up and get everyone familiar with painting, fusing, layering and scraping. Today we tackled collage and texture, and tomorrow they’ll learn how to mix their own encaustic medium and do image transfers onto the wax.

I’ve also made some new friends with the other instructors here. My studio neighbor, Phil Colson, made this wood turning which I’ll add some encaustic paint and shellac to in order to finish it off. We’ll donate it to the annual auction to raise money for the school. I’ll post the results here when were done.

Phils bowl

My class was also graciously invited by Harry Hearne to come to his clay studio this afternoon to cut shapes from a slab of clay that he will bisque fire for us. We’ll add wax to these pieces when they are ready on Thursday. One of my students, Brenda, was kind enough to bring some clay tiles for everyone to work on (as well as the propane tank I couldn’t fly with) so we all have a little experience with working on clay already. The spirit of collaboration is strong here and it seems to come naturally to everyone, which make this an even richer experience.

Ashley tile

Ashley heart

Ashley (above) and Brenda (below) work with bisque fired ceramic tiles as a base for their paintings.

Brenda’s tile

After teaching in the studio all day it was finally my turn to play. I invited the other instructors over to the painting studio for a quick demo and used to rest of the time to start a couple of new background for work I hope to finish this week. I think they are off to a good start.

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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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