Workshop Highlight: Exploring Landscape Through Encaustic, Mark-Making and the Handmade Book

Join me in July for a unique encaustic workshop opportunity. Located on the shores of Lake Superior just outside beautiful Bayfield, Wisconsin, Wild Rice Retreat creates a space for grounding the mind, body, and spirit through integrative artistic and holistic life experiences. 

When: July 11-15, 2021

Check In: Sunday, July 11th, 2021 | Check Out: Thursday, July 15th, 2021

Tuition + Meals: From $1004 per person
With RicePod Lodging Package: From $2,083 per person
With Nest Lodging Package: From $2,372 per person
With TreeHaus Lodging Package: From $1,671 per person

Visit Wild Rice Retreats for Information, Supply List, Images and Registration

Use discount code GLESSNER2021…HURRY…It expires 4/30

Workshop Description
Utilizing the natural luminosity, textural and layering possibilities of encaustic, participants will experiment with innovative materials, drawing and marks to depict the spirit and essence of the land. Daily journaling, meditation, readings and expressive mark-making exercises along with leisurely walks exploring the outdoors provide the inspiration for which to develop ideas for series-based work while also developing your personal artistic voice. Participants will experiment with a wide variety of innovative processes and materials such as encaustic monoprinting, suminagashi, powdered graphite/charcoal, graphite bars, horsehair, pyrography and stitch. The conceptual use of translucency and layers is further explored through simple, yet versatile, book bindings to create unique personal journals through the alternative book form. Through listening, mapping, touching, collecting and communing with nature through all of the senses, our body’s connection and its direct relationship to landscape is explored and experienced. Optional individual critiques with Lorraine will be offered to all participants.

**Please note that participants should be prepared to spend time outside as well as in the studio. In the event that participants are unable to take part in the outdoor activities, participants are welcome to opt out and alternative indoor creative exercises will be provided.

What Else

  • Color relationships, composition, application, content, proportion, scale as an effective foundation for other painterly information.
  • Learn how to use encaustic’s strengths (layering, transparency, luminosity) to tell your story.
  • Encaustic monoprints/works on paper and an option for exploration in combine with cold wax.
  • Mark-making exercises geared toward making simple or complex marks to generate a personal language.
  • The option of an Individual Consultation/Critique discussion with Lorraine. Bring a piece of work, a question, a concern, a problem and discuss it with Lorraine.
  • What’s your work about? Deepening the conversation. Guided writing exercises to help you focus on the meaning of your work and generate content for your artist statement.
  • Some guided meditation time and planned hikes will relax and open your mind and spirit to the land, helping to support and nurture your unique creative voice.
  • A slide talk with examples of contemporary artists whose work applies the ideas and concepts discussed in the workshop is offered for inspiration.
  • Lots of open studio time to explore and interpret the inspiration gained from the meditations and hikes.
  • Basic book structures such as the accordion and pamphlet will be explored as sculptural additions to our journals and sketchbooks.
  • The sketchbook as an art form, in and of itself, will be explored in depth as part of a discussion on combining found, altered, and sewn books into our curated sketchbooks.
  • The art of the book as an investigation of narrative, text and image, tactility and materiality and the book form as an intimate object will be discussed.

Visit Wild Rice Retreats for Information, Supply List, Images and Registration

Use discount code GLESSNER2021…HURRY…It expires 4/30

About Wild Rice Retreats
Located on the shores of Lake Superior just outside beautiful Bayfield, Wisconsin, Wild Rice Retreat creates a space for grounding the mind, body, and spirit through integrative artistic and holistic life experiences.  Our focus is on artistic excellence in teaching and thoughtful, supportive programming for individual growth.  Rooted in the idea of exploring and supporting expression in nature, Wild Rice Retreat offers a home for healing guided, personal and group retreats, meeting space, and events following the pillars of nourishment, expression, and movement.  Wild Rice Retreat is a vibrant, creative, and beautiful destination retreat center in the Upper Midwest.

Carefully crafted and locally sourced meals prepared by renowned Chef Lars Dukowitz (formerly of the Wild Rice Restaurant), daily programming, beautiful trails, and comfortable, exquisitely detailed lodging are all part of the retreat package.  Whether guests choose from a guided retreat, taught by nationally acclaimed instructors, a personal retreat, perfect for quiet rest and relaxation, or a group or corporate retreat where guests come together around a common goal, all the elements of retreat await. See more gorgeous images and read about Wild Rice Retreat’s Brand New Housing.

Visit Wild Rice Retreats for Information, Supply List, Images and Registration

Use discount code GLESSNER2021…HURRY…It expires 4/30

What Kind of Work Will I Make?

The following is a collection of student and instructor’s work from workshops similar in content to this one. Enjoy this eye candy, I hope to see you this summer at Wild Rice Retreats!

Searching for the Blackest Black: Water-Soluble Drawing Materials

Next up in this series of searching for the blackest black is my favorite thing to discuss: drawing materials (water-soluble).

Next up in this series of searching for the blackest black is my favorite thing to discuss: drawing materials. I hadn’t realized I had so many before I embarked on this experiment so I actually split this part of the series into two posts: water-soluble this month and non water-soluble next month. The post after that will be comparing encaustic paint blacks from various paint makers…exciting!

Just like the black paint comparison, I don’t have every drawing tool ever invented, but I do have quite a variety. I am looking for the blackest black and that remains the first talking point, but I also comment on the draw-ablility of the material-the feel…the ease with which it makes marks. Is it an extension of your hand and seemingly makes marks you’re only dreaming about or does it fight you, seemingly having a mind of its own? Those of you who draw know what I mean.

For this comparison, I made 3 different marks-small, choppy strokes, a fluid stroke and a solid rectangle. Once again, I tested on Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media Paper and Duralar Film. I’m most interested in how water-based paints work on the Duralar, as it is what I paint on most often and I used the Strathmore Paper as a bright white comparison. I made 2 areas of marks of each material on each substrate-the first area is dry and the second is with water added. I made several passes with the water to see how it worked in layers as well as to see how soluble the material actually is. The following list corresponds top down to the images below. I isolated each of the marks with the top being the Mixed Media paper and the second, the Duralar. Last, I include direct links to each product to purchase from my Amazon affiliate store, Art Supplies I Love.

  1. Art Graf Tailors Chalk Black
    I was surprised that this didn’t score higher in the black range, with only getting to a medium-dark gray on both papers. Another thing I didn’t particularly like is that when water is added, it was difficult to obliterate the original stroke. I can attest to the fact that when a wet brush is applied directly to the chalk and the paint laid down on paper, it has a wonderful range of rich grays-from very light to dark.
  2. Derwent XL Graphite
    I have the set of 6 with the water soluble and non-water soluble graphite and water soluble blue, green, yellow and red ochre graphite-I highly recommend it. The water soluble graphite is gorgeous to draw on the Duralar, but when water is added it doesn’t get rid of the stroke and just beads up. On the mixed media paper, it is a dream when water is added with a range of rich lovely grays
  3. Art Graf Kneadable Graphite Drawing Putty
    I purchased this as a bit of a novelty and don’t use it much in the way its designed to be used as mine dried up. From the package, it’s got a texture like a kneaded eraser and like a kneaded eraser, can be manipulated into any shape, but you can draw with it like graphite. I like it as a water soluble graphite, its extremely rich and smooth, especially on the Duralar. As a black, it’s meh…more like a silvery gray.
  4. Lyra Graphite Pencil
    This is my favorite water-soluble graphite, I even bring it to classes for students to use for mark-making exercises. Make sure you purchase the water-soluble version as the non looks exactly the same. In doing this comparison, I was really disappointed in how it held up to the other water soluble graphites-it was much lighter in color and the stroke was difficult to mix away with water. I can say that when I dip this pencil in water and draw with it, it’s really quite lovely on Duralar.
  5. Caran d’ache Neocolor Crayon Black
    My favorite things to play with on the road, they’re incredibly velvety rich and become almost like paint when water is added. The black was really black on both papers without water, but when water is added, was sooooo disappointing! It’s so light with water that it becomes almost invisible on both papers. Yuck.
  6. Stabilo Woody Black
    Definitely the blackest black winner on both papers with or without water. I love making marks with this on anything, it’s strong and velvety smooth. The only thing I don’t like about it is that its so thick and only good for bold marks.
  7. Portfolio Series Oil Pastel
    This is an inexpensive set of water soluble oil pastels and pretty much you get what you pay for when water is added-hardly any solubility…but, hey…water and oil aren’t supposed to mix anyway. I do like these to just draw with when I’m on the road. They’re super smooth and sharpened to a point like a pencil, which is pretty cool and different for an oil pastel.
  8. Tombow Brush Pen Black
    If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’m in love with these pens and I’m actually using them exclusively for a sketchbook series. The black stays super black on the mixed media paper but beads up on the Duralar. However, when water is added on the Duralar, the beading stops and although its not black, the gradient is quite lovely. With water on the mixed media paper, the ink turns a dark turquoise blue, which is disappointing if you’re expecting black.
  9. Stabilo Aquarelle Glass, Paper, Metal Pencil
    The ‘skinny’ answer to the Woody, this pencil makes a range of delicate to dark marks on many surfaces (even encaustic!) with or without water. I use it all the time for sketching and it’s also in my backpack because I can get such a variety of lines and marks with it when I’m on the trail. In this comparison, it held up dark on both surfaces without water, but fades quite a bit when water is added. I do like the range of grays on both surfaces and don’t much mind the fading.
1. Art Graf Tailors Chalk Black (Mixed Media Paper-top, Duralar-bottom)
2. Derwent XL Water Soluble Graphite (Mixed Media Paper-top, Duralar-bottom)
3. Art Graf Kneadable Graphite Drawing Putty (Mixed Media Paper-top, Duralar-bottom)
4. Lyra Water Soluble Graphite Pencil (Mixed Media Paper-top, Duralar-bottom)
5. Caran d’ache Neocolor Crayon Black (Mixed Media Paper-top, Duralar-bottom)
6. Stabilo Woody Black (Mixed Media Paper-top, Duralar-bottom)
7. Portfolio Oil Pastel (Mixed Media Paper-top, Duralar-bottom)
8. Tombow Brush Pen Black (Mixed Media Paper-top, Duralar-bottom)
9. Stabilo Glass, Plastic, Metal Pencil (Mixed Media Paper-top, Duralar-bottom)

Searching for the Blackest Black: Paint

My quest over many years has been to find the truest black paints and drawing materials, that are most rich, carbon and complete in its blackness. I test several water based black paints on two kinds of paper…see which ones yield the truest black.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I’m an art materials freak. Like most artists, I’m a collector of art supplies…anything that catches my eye…it’s a sickness. Over the years, I’ve been on a secret quest for the blackest black paint and the blackest black drawing materials. There are many methods to mixing black, the most common is to mix equal parts red, blue and yellow pigments. Sometimes when mixing black, the balance of whatever colors used to mix it is slightly off, resulting in a reddish, or most commonly, a bluish leaning. My quest has been to find the truest black, that leans least toward any color, that is most rich, carbon and complete in its blackness.

Like most of my posts these days, I’ve split this thread into 3 parts with this one focused on water-based paint, the next one on drawing materials and the third on encaustic paint-encaustic being the catalyst that started me on this quest.

I don’t have every black paint ever invented, so I focused on what I do have that interests me most to work with at the moment. When I promoted this post, I did receive a tip from the always helpful Helen Danelly about a new Golden Acrylic Paint called SoFlat Matte and oh boy, I will be spending some money on this paint! I wish I had had it for this comparison, so stay tuned for a post on this paint in the future.

For this comparison, I tested on Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media Paper and Duralar Film. I’m most interested in how water-based paints work on the Duralar, as it is what I paint on most often, so I used the Strathmore Paper as a bright white comparison. I made several kinds of marks (I’m partial to swirls) and in some areas, made several passes to see how the paint worked in layers. The following list corresponds top down to the images below, with the Mixed Media paper on the left and Duralar on the right…and of course, helpful links to purchase the products if you’re so inspired.

  1. Pro-Art Waterproof/Opaque India Ink
    This is a lovely ink, nice and thick, it doesn’t bead on the Duralar and is wonderful to dip found objects into it to make marks. It stands up to everything. It stayed true black, even when slightly diluted. You can’t beat the price either, it’s cheap, cheap, cheap. If you’re wondering why I didn’t use Sumi ink for this comparison, its because Sumi beads up on the Duralar.
  2. Golden High Flow Carbon Black
    This is a really nice paint that flows wonderfully from the brush and I get some really nice gradations when it’s mixed with a little water. It dries to a really dark gray with a slightly bluish cast, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a true black.
  3. Windsor & Newton Designers Gouache Ivory Black
    The winner so far on both papers, this gouache is dreamy creamy and really black-I barely notice any other color coming through. I didn’t use a lot of water so I could see the best black and straight from the tube, it has a slight blue iridescence. When mixed with water, some translucency comes through in areas, but the paint still retains its blackness. Keep in mind that not all gouache is the same and we all have our preferences, but I grew up on Windsor and Newton and whenever I try to skimp and purchase another brand, I’m woefully disappointed. I’ve also used Holbein, which is a close second only because it’s super expensive. Last, don’t confuse regular gouache with acrylic gouache-acrylic gouache is a different thing in that regular gouache dries matte and can be revived with water, acrylic gouache dries a bit shiny and is permanent.
  4. Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors Lunar Black
    I purchased this because it was highly recommended as THE best black watercolor out there and it’s the truth. It’s a beautiful rich black even when diluted with water and it makes the loveliest gradations on both papers without even trying. It has a very, very slight red/brown cast and I really only notice this relative to the other paints. Because it’s watercolor, it’s difficult to get a solid area even when layered, so that may be a problem if you want flat black color.
  5. Nitram Liquid Charcoal
    I was so excited when I saw this on the shelf at the art supply store. I love the velvety smoothness of charcoal and I was totally intrigued by the idea of such a thing in liquid form. It’s an interesting idea in concept, but it wasn’t what I expected. It’s rather gritty and the best color I could get from it is a dark gray. Straight out of the tube, with only a little water added, it’s nice and black but still not quite what I’m looking for in a black paint. The saddest thing about this product is that it flakes off of the Duralar, so I have little use for it.
  6. Golden’s Micaceous Iron Oxide
    I had acquired a free tube of this paint, so I decided to throw it in to the comparison. I’ve used it before thinking it would be a true black, but like the liquid charcoal it’s rather gritty and makes a nice subtle texture when it dries. It’s a beautiful dark gray with a slight pink iridescence. It can be quite translucent at the first layer with subsequent layers becoming more and more opaque. I didn’t have any of the Golden Black Mica Flake Paint, but I’m thinking this paint would be a good contestant for this comparison/competition.
  7. Kama Pigments Aqua Dispersion Carbon Black
    I have a few of these dispersion paints from Kama and they’re just fabulous. Aqua Dispersion pigments are highly concentrated pigments that are extremely rich and make your paintbrush almost seem like a magic wand. They’re supposed to be added to water or another paint binder in very small quantities, but like many art materials I don’t use them the way they’re designed. I love these pigments because of their richness and while I do dilute with a bit of water, I pretty much use them straight out of the tube…but a little goes a very, very lonnnnng way. This was my favorite black on the Duralar, it just glides across the surface and stays a rich black almost all the way across with some wonderful gradations and textures. On the paper, it was just as lovely, but dried slightly gray to almost black.

New Virtual Workshop: Fast & Loose Encaustic Painting

You love the fast moving, layering and quick drying abilities of acrylic painting, but you want more depth, more scraping abilities, more texture and more dimension that can only be achieved by painting in encaustic…well, you’ve come to the right place!

If you could say it with words, there would be no reason to paint. –Edward Hopper

Fast & Loose Encaustic Painting
A Live Virtual Zoom Workshop
Registrants will receive a Zoom link to join the workshop & will have access to the recorded sessions for a limited time following the workshop.

Limited to 10 participants!
Level: Beginner to Advanced

When
2 Days-April  29-30
12pm-2:30pm EST each day
*We will take at least 2 5-minute breaks each day

Price
$350

2 Ways to Register
1. *PREFERRED* Venmo: Send to @Lorraine-Glessner
2. Paypal: Send to lorraineglessnerstudio@gmail.com

Who
For Lorraine’s bio, portfolio, exhibitions, teaching and anything else you might want to know, please visit her web site.

Basic Description

You love the fast moving, layering and quick drying abilities of acrylic painting, but you want more depth, more scraping abilities, more texture and more dimension that can only be achieved by painting in encaustic…well, you’ve come to the right place! I developed this workshop at the request and with the collaboration from several artists. In this workshop, I offer alternative tools, color mixing, application methods and techniques for faster, more process oriented encaustic painting. Also discussed are tips for getting out of your head, letting go and letting it flow. It is helpful, but not necessary to have had any previous experience with the encaustic medium to take this workshop.

SCROLL DOWN TO SEE images of student work from encaustic workshops similar in content to this one.
Read Part 1 of Fast & Loose Encaustic Painting: Tools
Read Part 2 of Fast & Loose Encaustic Painting: Painting Methods

Who should take this workshop?

  • You’re a painter and have always wanted to work in encaustic but have been deterred by what seems like a slow moving, laborious process compared to other painting mediums like acrylics and oils.
  • You fill sketchbooks with mixed media acrylic sketches that you love, but you want more depth, more scraping abilities, more texture and more dimension that can only be achieved by painting in encaustic
  • You tend to think too hard about the next step and end up stifling the process.
  • You’ve worked in encaustic for a while and have never scraped your layers(!) to reveal the awesomeness underneath.
  • You want to know what the heck Encaustic PaintSmash is and how it will benefit your work.
  • You spend too much time on one painting and tend to overwork the painting.
  • You love encaustic painting and are looking for some alternatives to the usual encaustic painting methods.
  • You are frustrated with your current body of work, your process(es) and want to create consistency, and a cohesive portfolio.
  • You want to express yourself in a more meaningful way with your work.
  • Your creative process is stagnating and you want to learn a new process, idea or technique.
  • You have always wanted to create ‘visual poetry’ in your paintings.


What happens in this workshop? What will I learn?

  • Marking, drawing, making marks with fun exercises are sure to relax you so that you don’t even know you’re drawing and are designed for you to generate ideas, content and a personal mark.
  • Learn tips for getting out of your own way so your painting process flows.
  • Learn how to apply encaustic paint in layers and in various levels of transparency, as well as how and when to scrape back to reveal exciting forms and patterns within the layers.
  • Learn how to use the transparency of the wax to allow pattern and information to combine and ‘talk’ within the painting.
  • Experiment with doodling, mark making and process to create a personal vocabulary of marks.
  • How to effectively use the palette for mixing and painting in encaustic.
  • Learn how to use stencils, marks, pattern and the grid to organize the ‘chaos’.
  • Learn alternatives in tools, painting and scraping methods from the ‘usual’ encaustic techniques.
  • Learn how fun PaintSmash is and how it can spice up your work.
  • Something new, fun, fast and loose.


Included in all of my encaustic workshops

  • Color, composition, application, content-the basics, the intermediate, the advanced.
  • Using color relationships, proportion, scale as an effective foundation for other painterly information.
  • Individual consultation/critique discussion with each participant. Bring a piece of work, a question, a concern, a problem and discuss it with me. My most favorite part of the workshop is this special time I spend talking one-on-one with each participant.
  • Learn how to use encaustic’s strengths (layering, transparency, luminosity) to tell your story.
  • Mark-making exercises-geared toward making simple or complex marks to generate a personal voice.
  • Group sharing and discussion-always an amazingly helpful time for participants to share their victories and struggles.
  • A slide talk with examples of contemporary artists whose work applies the concepts discussed in the workshop is offered for inspiration. Some examples of the slides included in the talks for this workshop is just below.
  • Individual and group instruction/critique throughout the workshop.


    SUGGESTED MATERIALS PARTICIPANTS HAVE IN THEIR STUDIO

    • Read this blog post for tools ideas-please note, you don’t have to have these materials but you might see something you’d like to try.
    • 2-4 wooden painting panels (your preference of 8×8 or 10×10, but no larger or smaller, please) (nothing coated in acrylic or acrylic gesso!!)
    • 3-5 natural hair brushes  for encaustic painting (1 smallish-no bigger than 1.5” brush will be designated your medium brush, so it must be free of color.
    • 1lb encaustic medium from any company
    • Heat gun and/or Iwatani torch
    • Sketchbook or Drawing paper
    • Package of razor blades or clay scraper
    • Any small sharp-ended tool for incising/writing/drawing into the wax (sewing or knitting needles are great)
    • Basic encaustic colors
    • 1-2 RF paintsticks

      OPTIONAL MATERIALS 
    • Double sided scraper tool-available for purchase here
    • Mark-making tools…Woody, litho crayon, graphite paper, charcoal, oil pastel, etc.
    • Decorative stencils, mesh, doilies, etc-anything flat with open areas that can be used as a stencil
    • Various materials for collage (papers, magazine images, photos, etc.)

What kind of work will I make?

Please enjoy these works in progress that were created by workshop participants during workshops similar to this one.

2 Ways to Register
1. *PREFERRED* Venmo: Send to @Lorraine-Glessner
2. Paypal: Send to lorraineglessnerstudio@gmail.com

Fast & Loose Encaustic Painting Part 2/2: Painting Methods

In Part One of this short series, I discussed tools for working fast and loose in encaustic and in this Part Two, I’ll list some ideas for layering in information, mark-making and tips for not getting stuck in your own head.

The methodic process of encaustic painting affords the artist time to get lost in the poetry of the rhythm while building the layers. However, sometimes, a painter just wants to get down and dirty, fast and loose…you know…the kind of cheap thrills fast drying water-based painting mediums offer. What if you could obtain those thrills, but in the more sophisticated, luminous, dimensional and just plain loveliness of encaustic? In Part One of this short series, I discussed tools for working fast and loose in encaustic and in this Part Two, I’ll list some ideas for layering in information, mark-making and tips for not getting stuck in your own head.

If you’re interested in delving into these techniques a bit further, I’m offering a Live, Virtual Workshop called Working Fast & Loose in Encaustic, April 29-30, 2021 at 12pm EST both days. The sessions will be recorded and available for a short time after the workshop ends. Please stay tuned for a comprehensive workshop website coming up within the next two weeks that will have all the specifics regarding this workshop. This workshop is already half full since I wrote Part One on this topic and judging by the interest and of my virtual workshops in general, I expect it to fill quickly. If you’re interested in joining this workshop, please contact me and I’ll add you to the list. If you’d like to see what goes on in one of my workshops, join my new Facebook Group, Full Spectrum: Lorraine Glessner Painting and Workshops Forum.

  1. Work across at least 3-8 panels at a time. Working on multiple panels prevents you from focusing on one panel and getting stuck there.
    1. Arrange the panels so that the edges are touching. Work across the panels as if they were one large panel.
    2. Rotate each panel and/or switch the placement of the panels as you work.
    3. Remove 1-2 panels, set them aside and replace with blank ones so that the panels have different levels of information.
  2. Mix your colors directly on the palette, not in cups.
    1. Working directly on the palette allows for the freedom of adding a little color at a time, here and there, anywhere.
    2. Arrange your colors in areas on the palette. Come up with a simple palette of 4-6 colors on the palette to start, including white and black, with each having its own ‘area’ on the palette. Add bits of color to each area or just limit yourself to the colors on the palette and mix as you go.
    3. This is a more ‘sloppy’ method of encaustic painting than mixing in cups…colors pool and run together sometimes, but this running together allows for some unexpected colors that you wouldn’t normally mix yourself.
    4. You won’t be able to ‘save’ your colors as you would if they were mixed in cups, but you’ll have to let this go…fast and loose, right?
  3. Work with dirty brushes.
    1. Yes, you have permission to NOT clean your brushes! Once I tell my workshop participants they don’t have to clean their encaustic brushes, they are ecstatic to finally be freed from this slavery!
    2. Keep brushes in families…white and black brushes are always used for these colors only. Reds, yellows, oranges stay in that family. Blues, greens, purples stay in that family, etc.
    3. By using brushes with slightly different colors on them, unexpected subtle color gradations are laid down as you paint.
  4. Always set restrictions on time, colors, etc.
    1. There is freedom in restrictions…I’ve written about this topic a lot on this blog and freedom in restrictions doesn’t quite make sense on its face, but think of it like this….when you have unlimited materials, colors and unlimited time, you can easily become overwhelmed with too much. When you restrict yourself, there is nothing to think about.
    2. Restrict yourself to no more than a few colors of encaustic paints. It may help to close your eyes when you pull these colors.
    3. Set a timer to a 15 minute painting interval to start. When the timer goes off, take a break and reassess. If you decide to paint again, set the timer for shorter and shorter intervals, 2-5 minutes less each time.
  5. Create a process
    1. Process eliminates the burden of decision making and over thinking the work, therefore allowing the artist to move freely within simple confines to explore the inherent properties of their materials in new and exciting ways.
    2. An example of a painting process might be: Paint 1 stripe with a brush, make a mark with a tool, add stencil, paint 2 stripes w/ brush, repeat the above steps and keep repeating until you’re done or invent a new process)
    3. I’ve lectured and written on this interesting topic many times. If you’re interested in delving in a bit more, visit this blog post.
  6. Application Ideas
    1. Dry vs wet brush
    2. Thin vs. thick application
    3. Slow brush vs. choppy strokes-what kind of brush stroke to use.
    4. Translucent vs. opaque encaustic paint
    5. Pouring
    6. Dripping
    7. Tjanting Tool
      1. Normally used for batik, makes great lines and dots.
      2. Buy one here at my Amazon Store
  7. Other Application Methods (Things to do in between Paint Layers)
    1. PaintSmash (Visit this post, this post and this post and my Youtube Channel for videos)
    2. Stencils/Textures (decorative stencils, mesh or anything with open and closed areas)
    3. Incising
      1. Use any sharp ended tool.
      2. Experiment with different widths of your tools.
    4. Mark-making with objects (pressing in or stamping in the object with a soft mallet to create an incised or textured surface)
    5. Mark-making with drawing tools (carbon paper, woody, oil pastel, litho pencil, etc.)
    6. Photo transfer
    7. Collage

NEW! An Amazing Virtual Encaustic Workshop Experience: Painting With Fire

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Fast & Loose Encaustic Painting Part 1/2: Tools

So you’re a painter and have always wanted to work in encaustic but have been deterred by what seems like a slow moving, laborious process compared to other painting mediums like acrylics and oils. You fill sketchbooks with mixed media acrylic sketches that you love, but you want more depth, more scraping abilities, more texture and more dimension that can only be achieved by painting in encaustic…well, you’ve come to the right place!

Happy New Year, my creative blog reading friends! I hope you have been well and are looking forward to better days ahead, as am I. Let’s start off the new year right by discussing my favorite topic…encaustic painting!

So you’re a painter and have always wanted to work in encaustic but have been deterred by what seems like a slow moving, laborious process compared to other painting mediums like acrylics and oils. You love the fast moving, layering and quick drying abilities of acrylic painting. You fill sketchbooks with mixed media acrylic sketches that you love, but you want more depth, more scraping abilities, more texture and more dimension that can only be achieved by painting in encaustic…well, you’ve come to the right place! During this time of Covid constancy, at the request and with the collaboration from several artists, I had the unique opportunity to investigate faster, looser and more painterly working methods that can somewhat replicate acrylic painting methods-but with the awesomeness of encaustic.

In this article, Part One, I am discussing application tools and in Part Two and possibly Part Three, I will discuss working methods and mark-making tools. In addition to listing the tools, I also list where/how you can purchase or make them. If you’re working in encaustic and have investigated alternatives to traditional painting and/or alternative tools, please leave a comment, I would love to hear from you!

Last, I am offering a live, virtual workshop in April, 2021 on this topic-specific dates to be announced soon. Judging by the interest of this topic and of my virtual workshops, I expect it to fill quickly. If you’re interested in joining this workshop, please contact me and I’ll add you to the list. If you’d like to see what goes on in one of my workshops, join my new Facebook Group, Full Spectrum: Lorraine Glessner Painting and Workshops Forum.

Alternative Tools for Working in Encaustic

  • Venetian Plaster Tools
    Made of metal with a plastic handle, these tools can be laid safely on the heated palette and hold the heat so as to transfer the paint from palette to substrate without cooling. These tools are somewhat stiff and act as a metal spatula of sorts allowing one to scoop up from the palette at once, various colors of paint creating interesting textures. (See this article on my Encaustic PaintSmash technique and my IGTV and YouTube Channel videos demonstrating this technique) See my All Things Encaustic Store to purchase.
  • Dripping
    We all know how to do this and likely have done it by accident. Mistake or not, drips can be super cool as a single entity, layered or accumulated. You can drip with a brush by loading it up with paint and throwing it on your substrate or flicking it off your brush with your finger for a splatter effect. For more deliberately placed drips that can be layered and accrued in a 3D effect, try this cool metal eyedropper tool available at on my All Things Encaustic Store.
  • Pouring
    Fun and freeing, this is quick way to add a lot of paint to your substrate at once. Pours dry slowly and smoothly and the drying process can be manipulated for some cool dimensional effects. You can use any kind of cup that will hold liquid encaustic paint…I use these inexpensive aluminum cups which can be bent into a ‘V’ like a pitcher, so I have more control over my pour. You can also create interesting swirled effects by pouring two colors together at the same time or try introducing another color into an existing pour during the drying process. See Pat Gerkin’s wonderful recent experiments with encaustic pours.
  • Tjanting Tools
    Those in the Fiber and Textile tools world are well acquainted with Tjanting Tools. Their use in that world is to apply paraffin wax to cloth as part of the batik process. These tools are made of brass or copper, which holds the heat and keeps the wax liquid, allowing one to make thick or thin lines, the thickness being dependent on the size of the opening of the tool. Designs can be traced, text can be written, areas of a design can be filled. Tjanting tools are also really great for making uniform dots, which can be applied in rows, and/or stacked, and/or accrued. I prefer the copper tjanting tools, but make sure you purchase a larger size opening as they tend to clog easily. If you get really into working with a tjanting, invest in an electric tjanting tool, you won’t regret it. For some eye candy, check out artist Elise Wagner’s paintings that begin with encaustic collagraphs, made with an electric tjanting tool.
  • Flashing Tool
    (See my Art Bite Blog Post with instructions on how to make your own alternative tool) Used like a spatula similar to the Venetian Plaster Tools, these home-made tools can be any shape, size or cut. They are much more flexible than the Venetian Plaster Tools, allowing for more textured painterly effects.
  • Catalyst Tools/Silicone Baking Tools
    (Visit my All Things Encaustic Store to purchase) Where do I begin to talk about Catalyst Tools by Princeton Brush Company? First, what makes them great is that they are painting tools, made for any kind of paint, so you can use them for any painting medium. What makes them even greater is that they’re made of silicone which makes them easy to clean and impervious to heat so they can be used for encaustic painting! These tools will hold the heat for a short time and can be used for PaintSmash, but they’re not as effective as the metal based tools listed above. However, if you’re working in encaustic, cold wax, oils and acrylic mediums, these tools can be used across all of those mediums. Catalyst tools can be rather pricey, so if you’re interested in working with alternative tools, try silicone baking tools/cake decorating tools, which are available on Amazon and at any craft store or hobby store…try them out, find your favorites and then graduate to a catalyst tool.
  • Elizabeth Schowachert Tools
    Think of Catalyst Tools on steroids PLUS some and you have somewhat of an idea of what these tools are about. Just like the Catalyst Tools, they are made of silicone, but that’s as far as the similarities go. These tools are art objects in and of themselves-they are hand-crafted by Elizabeth Schowachert, using lovely materials like bamboo, antique wood and sterling silver. Elizabeth is an artist herself so she knows what artists want. When you hold one of these gorgeous tools or brushes in your hand, there is a feeling that you are wielding an indestructible art making weapon and there are no barriers to what you can do. There is a huge variety of brushes and tools in Elizabeth’s silicone tools catalog, but she offers so much more in her entire catalog of brushes and tools. I have a number of Elizabeth’s tools in my studio, the Encaustic Monotype Drawing Pens and C Silicone Drawing Tools are my faves.

A Special Holiday Offer

Happy Holidays, my Art Bite Blog Friends!
I am so grateful for your support throughout the year that I have created A Special Holiday Offer just for you…

Happy Holidays, my Art Bite Blog Friends!
I am so grateful for your support throughout the year that I have created A Special Holiday Offer just for you…
Through December 18 I am offering mini paintings, workshops and products for sale with a FREE notecard set for orders of $75 or more. This offer is ONLY offered to you, my super cool blog readers, Facebook and Instagram followers.
Scroll down for a list of links and products at a glance or hit the buttons just below to start shopping now.
The Happiest of Holidays to you!
Lorraine xo

New Virtual Workshop: Encaustic Pattern &Repetition

Repeated use of a shape, color, design element unifies composition, creates pattern and rhythm as well as reinforces content. This workshop focuses on the creation of intricate patterns, expressive personal surfaces and multi-layered encaustic paintings.

When you repeat an action again and again, you produce an effect of certainty or security in the viewer’s mind. –Jackie Winsor

Mixed Media Encaustic Pattern & Repetition
A Live Virtual Zoom Workshop
Registrants will receive a Zoom link to join the workshop & will have access to the recorded sessions for a limited time following the workshop.

Limited to 10 participants!
Level: Beginner to Intermediate

When
3 Wednesdays-April  7, 14, 21, 2021
12pm-3pm EST each day

Price
$450

3 Ways to Register
1. *PREFERRED* Venmo: Send to @Lorraine-Glessner
2. Paypal: Send to lorraineglessnerstudio@gmail.com
3. Check: Email lorraineglessnerstudio@gmail.com for mailing address (check must be received at least 5 days before workshop start date)

Who
For Lorraine’s bio, work, exhibitions, teaching and anything else you might want to know, please visit her web site.

Basic Description

Repeated use of a shape, color or design element unifies composition, creates pattern, rhythm and movement as well as reinforces content. This workshop focuses on the creation of intricate patterns, expressive personal surfaces and complex, multi-layered pieces utilizing and in combination with encaustic painting techniques. With an emphasis on mixed media, methods and materials covered in this workshop include the use of organic and geometric form, realistic and abstract imagery, patterned collage, stencils, candy molds, tjaps, and branding (creating marks with heated metal and wood burning tools). Spacing the sessions to once a week allows for participants to experiment and truly delve into the techniques learned. Considerations such as using pattern and repetition as content itself, to tell a story, support and/or strengthen the message will also be discussed.

SCROLL DOWN TO SEE images of student work from encaustic workshops similar in content to this one. Additional blog posts related to other encaustic workshops taught by Lorraine are herehere and here.

Who should take this workshop?

  • You swoon over textiles, prints, decorative arts, design, anything with pattern and you want to learn how to effectively incorporate these elements into your work.
  • You already include lots of pattern and repetition in your work, but the work hasn’t moved past mere decoration to involve meaningful content.
  • You desperately want to include pattern in your work, but you are fearful that it will be received by the viewing public as decorative art.
  • You love image and collage, but when you embed these elements into encaustic, the collage is blurred, burned or looks clunky.
  • You love painting with the intensely pigmented color of encaustic and want to learn how to effectively apply it-how to mix color, how and when to dilute, what brushes and tools to use.
  • You are frustrated with your current body of work, your process(es) and want to create consistency, and a cohesive portfolio.
  • You want to express yourself in a more meaningful way with your work.
  • Your creative process is stagnating and you want to learn a new process, idea or technique.
  • You have always wanted to create ‘visual poetry’ in your paintings.


What happens in this workshop? What will I learn?

  • What a motif is and how you can generate one to create personal patterns with meaning and how to incorporate them into your work.
  • Create personally designed fabrics and papers using indigo, rust and compost printing and use them as a basis for a painting.
  • Create repetitive patterns using innovative tools and techniques such as pyrography (making marks with heated metal and tools), tjaps and candy molds.
  • Learn my technique for applying decorative stenciling into my work and how you can use stenciling to strengthen your compositions and content.
  • Learn how to apply encaustic paint in layers and in various levels of transparency, as well as how and when to scrape back to reveal exciting forms and patterns within the layers.
  • Practice the effective application and fusing of encaustic collaged layers so you aren’t tempted to give up collage forever in frustration!
  • Experiment with doodling, mark making and process to create personal patterns.
  • Learn how to use the transparency of the wax to allow pattern and information to combine and ‘talk’ within the painting.
  • Learn how repetitive pattern, symbols, text, ornament adds power and interest to the work and therefore brings the viewer closer to its message.
  • How repetition can create visual poetry, rhythm, music, etc within the work.


Included in all of my encaustic workshops

  • Color, composition, application, content-the basics, the intermediate, the advanced.
  • Using color relationships, proportion, scale as an effective foundation for other painterly information.
  • Individual consultation/critique discussion with each participant. Bring a piece of work, a question, a concern, a problem and discuss it with me. My most favorite part of the workshop is this special time I spend talking one-on-one with each participant.
  • Learn how to use encaustic’s strengths (layering, transparency, luminosity) to tell your story.
  • Mark-making exercises-whether you are taking the line workshop or not, exercises geared toward making simple or complex marks to generate a personal voice.
  • Book-sharing-each participant brings their favorite art book to share.
  • Group sharing and discussion-always an amazingly helpful time for participants to share their victories and struggles.
  • A slide talk with examples of contemporary artists whose work applies the concepts discussed in the workshop is offered for inspiration. Some examples of the slides included in the talks for this workshop is just below.
  • 30 minute one on one consultation with Lorraine.
  • Individual and group instruction/critique throughout the workshop.
    SUGGESTED MATERIALS PARTICIPANTS HAVE IN THEIR STUDIO

    • 3-5 wooden painting panels (your preference of 8×8 or 10×10, but no larger or smaller, please) (nothing coated in acrylic or acrylic gesso!!)
    • 3-5 natural hair brushes  for encaustic painting (1 smallish-no bigger than 1.5” brush will be designated your medium brush, so it must be free of color.
    • 1lb encaustic medium from any company
    • Sketchbook or Drawing paper
    • Package of razor blades or scraper
    • Various materials for collage (papers, magazine images, photos, etc.)
    • Any small sharp-ended tool for incising/writing/drawing into the wax (sewing or knitting needles are great)
    • Basic encaustic colors
    • Decorative stencils, mesh, doilies, etc-anything flat with open areas that can be used as a stencil
    • Masking or Painters tape
    • Carbon or Graphite transfer paper

      OPTIONAL MATERIALS 

Pattern & Repetition Slides Examples

What kind of work will I make?

Please enjoy the work example pics below from participants who have previously taken this workshop. Please also visit additional blog posts here and here and here for more information related to this workshop.

3 Ways to Register
1. *PREFERRED* Venmo: Send to @Lorraine-Glessner
2. Paypal: Send to lorraineglessnerstudio@gmail.com
3. Check: Email lorraineglessnerstudio@gmail.com for mailing address (check must be received at least 5 days before workshop start date)

Should Professional Artists Take Workshops?

I spend a good deal of my time sharing with and teaching others and although I learn a lot from my students, sometimes I want to be in the student seat, having fun and making a mess with new ideas, new products and new voices.

Lately, I’ve heard criticism that professional artists shouldn’t speak about taking workshops or classes because they then are relegated to student and are thought of as not as serious about their work. Well, using the wise words of my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Colletello-that’s hogwash! I take workshops because I AM serious about my work, about growing and expanding on my ideas in the studio and realizing that this sometimes doesn’t happen in a vacuum. I spend a good deal of my time sharing with and teaching others and although I learn a lot from my students, sometimes I want to be in the student seat, having fun and making a mess with new ideas, new products and new voices. To be clear, I don’t make a habit of taking classes, mainly because I think that too many workshops messes with studio mojo, but about every third year I choose an instructor whose work I respect and take a workshop with them. I have about five on my wishlist of futures and last month I took advantage of being Covid-bound and was finally able to take a virtual workshop I’ve had my eye on with the extremely inspiring Stuart Shils

I took was a drawing class called Reframing the Ordinary, basically about deriving compositions and content from your surroundings as well as retraining your eyes to see. I don’t come from a painting background and never really took painting classes in school, so the class exercises were challenging but super fun. We worked in a timed format on drawings and collages using only black and white and the same scene-I used a corner of my studio as inspiration. Each drawing prompt was different and encouraged focusing on different things each time-ie. the darkest area, the lightest area, where does your eye go first, second, etc. The collages were made using black and white paper and are what I enjoyed the most, especially black on black. Representing value with only one color was also an interesting challenge and encouraged noticing side by side value changes, dark to lights first and then mid-tones. This exercise encouraged imaginative ways to represent lights and darks by shape and texture, especially when only using one color paper. I included two of these collages below as well as a few juicy quotes from the workshop.

In conclusion, the answer to should professional artists take classes is a resounding, yes! And yes, do share with others what classes you take. We all have to help each other out during these times.

All quotes are Stuart Shils unless other wise noted.

• Seeing is forgetting the name of the thing seen. Paul Valery
• Every moment of the day offers opportunity if we are paying attention.
• If you think too hard or plan too much, you make it impossible to embrace the situation with authenticity.
• Landscape is anything that is in front of you.
• Making it simpler does not mean eliminating complexity.
• I don’t think too much about the difficulties, because then I would get stunned or stuck. Pay attention to the feeling instead, the changing, the ripening, the growing.