Workshop Highlight: Beyond the Basics

BEYOND THE BASICS ADVANCED ENCAUSTIC November 8-10
Big Dramatic Questions Studio, The Blue Mountains, Collingwood, Ontario
WORKSHOP WEB SITE

Basic Description
Ready to take your knowledge of encaustic to the next level? Then this is the workshop for you! This three-day workshop will focus on mixed-media techniques, materials, mark-making techniques, color mixing, and building color relationships on the canvas. Students will learn progressive painting techniques including: the use of transparency and opacity, blending, gradations, pours and how to apply and manipulate layers and visual information. It is helpful, but not necessary to have had any previous experience with the encaustic medium to take this workshop.

Who should take this workshop?

  • You are a semi-beginner to advanced painter (encaustic or other) who often finds their paintings rife with color, paint, collaged, etc. information, but can’t put a finger on what is lacking or how to finish it.
  • You have great ideas but your compositions are scattered, nothing connects or works together to tell your story.
  • You are interested in what the grid can do for your work, but don’t want to make gridded paintings. NOTE: You won’t make a gridded painting in this workshop unless you want to do so, but understanding the concept of the grid as a foundational compositional structure will make your paintings stronger. Guaranteed.
  • You’ve worked in encaustic for a while and have never used it’s transparency and layering possibilities to full advantage.
  • You’ve worked in encaustic for a while and have never scraped your layers(!) to reveal the awesomeness underneath.
  • You want to express yourself in a more meaningful way with your work.
  • You want to create consistency, a personal voice, your own mark, in your paintings and body of work as a whole.
  • Your creative process is stagnating and you need to learn a new process, idea or technique.
  • You want to know what the heck Encaustic PaintSmash is and how it will benefit your work.
  • 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 dislike drawing and/or you’re afraid of it.

What happens in this workshop? What will I learn?

  • What the concepts of good design are and how to apply these ideas to fine art.
  • 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 my technique for applying decorative stenciling into your 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!
  • The magic of fusing with a torch. NOTE: I will never make anyone use a tool that makes them uncomfortable, but you’ll be able to try a torch to see if you like it and most likely, you will!
  • Experiment with doodling, mark making and process to create a personal mark.
  • Learn how to use the transparency of the wax to allow pattern and information to combine and ‘talk’ within the painting.

What kind of work will I make?
Please enjoy the work example pics below from participants who have previously taken this workshop. Please visit additional blog posts here and here for more information related to this workshop. Scroll down a bit more to see what else is included in this workshop.

 

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 who apply the concepts discussed in the workshop is offered for inspiration.

Catching Up

I’ve been having a fantastic summer teaching and traveling all over the western part of the country and I realized I skipped July’s post! This month’s post is devoted to catching up with all of the amazingly good things happening in my world this summer. Thanks so much for reading, I’ll see you in September with a post about my early work in encaustic and why it looks nothing like the work I do today.

 

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I’m so pleased to announce that I have a new catalogue of my work and writing spanning from 2005-2017. The great Tom Manzione designed the catalogue and did an amazing job integrating a recent drawings series with over 12 years of my encaustic paintings. Also, integral to the success of the catalog is the excellent design-making the story flow with those little details often overlooked by novice designers like myself. The best lesson I got out of publishing this catalogue is that it is so worth it to hire someone rather than try to do it all yourself. Tom was so patient and organized, all I had to do was upload my images and left the rest to him…too easy and worry free. If you would like to purchase a catalogue, they are available for sale on Magcloud in both hard copy and digital form.

 

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One can never have too many places to show their work, so I signed up with Saatchi and now have a site with them. Right now, I’m only listing my smaller (Mini Paintings, I call them) encaustic pieces for sale-sizes 10×10, 8×8 and 6×6 with prices starting at $500 and under. These smaller works are quite coveted and Saatchi will help me to better manage the sales and shipping of these little gifts from me to you. I will be adding many more over the next few months so check the page often. To see what’s available now, go to the page here.

 

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Did you know I have an ongoing encaustic sculpture series I started in 2011? Indeed, I do and a piece I finished last year called The Space Between just won Third Place in Sculpture at Art of the State for which I am truly grateful. I started this series at a time when I was very much in transition with my work and life and this series came about as a way to sort out my thoughts through meditative process. I secretly call these pieces ‘worry blocks’ because these pieces are the vehicles by which I deposit my worries. Through the repetitive process of burning holes and using encaustic to place my hair strand by strand in grid patterns, I think, reflect and heal. I’ve had a nervous habit since I was little of twisting my hair when I’m stressed or thinking and I keep a bag of it in the studio that I add to daily. I have been using horse as well as my own hair in my work for quite some time. It makes a beautiful line in the wax and it also speaks to the bodily connections that have always been at the core of my work.  I first showed my worry blocks at the Gallery at R & F Paints where they were very well received and this encouraged me to keep making them. I make about 1-2 of the larger ones and 5-10 of the smaller ones per year. The smaller ones make great holiday gifts for the worrier in your life and I sell out every year. I’ll be posting them on Instagram when they are finished, so keep an eye out for them in the next couple of months. To see more of the larger worry blocks go to my web site here and here to read a statement about the series.

 

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It seems like I just attended the opening, but the show, Taking Wing, at Ellsworth Gallery in Santa Fe will be coming down on August 16, 2017. I’m honored for my inclusion in this fabulous show and grateful for the opportunity to show my work in Santa Fe with amazing artists Arin Dineen and Claire McArdle. The opening was super fun, with artist talks and an exciting interpretive dance by Ingrid Zimmer. See below for installation images and images of the opening.

Carol Bajen-Gahm & Pamela Blum

In mid-December, I was fortunate to have been invited to teach at R&F paints. In addition to their stellar workshop space, R&F also has has a wonderful gallery space, which always has an interesting and engaging show. The show up while I was there was THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, FORCES AND artifacts, the work of Carol Bajen-Gahm and Pamela Blum and it was a stunner. I’ve long been a fan of Pamela’s work, but was unfamiliar with Carol’s, so it was such a pleasant surprise to just happen upon it. The muted tones, expert use of high contrast, scale and materials make both artist’s work sing, but together, the pieces were orchestral. I haven’t seen a more perfectly paired two person show than this one in a long time. Unfortunately, the show is now over, but it continues virtually here.

Pamela Blum‘s statement for the show…My small sculptures are massed objects. They suggest forces over time on anthropological body parts and cultural relics. Blum uses dominantly black and white encaustic paint surfaces to communicate polarized times and conditions such as life and death, disease vs. health, uselessness rather than usefulness, human actions as comedy and tragedy. The encaustic paint, covering wire mesh, plaster gauze, and papier maché, embodies the tension between longevity and vulnerability inherent in wax and in all things organic and inorganic.
Indebted to others’ perceptions, feelings, thoughts and beliefs, I draw from artwork of the past. The work assembles many different ways to prompt viewers, including myself, to reinterpret the work.
In an effort to communicate something essential, I use the arsenal of visual literacy: titles, form, dimensionality, expression, materials, color, position, relationship of parts to wholes, marking or lack thereof, different scales, different contexts and references to things we see every day.
I intend my work to be disturbing, funny, and sometimes sexual. The work, founded formally, conceptually, and technically in history, rests on two quotations from Barbara Kingsolver’s Poisonwood Bible:
“My life: What I stole from history and how I live with it.”
“Misunderstanding…is the cornerstone…of civilization.”

Carol Bajen-Gahm’s statement for the show…I have always been attracted to dark spaces: tangled roots, wells, and caves. The shifting time and spatial juxtaposition of fairy tales and dreams hold an equal fascination for me.  I like to explore where my wild things are.
If you take the time to see what a fairy tale or a dream is saying, you usually end up at a deeper level of understanding where there is both the fear and the promise of the unknown.
I like to work with those dark spaces, tangled areas, time shifts and spatial juxtapositions in my work. For this series, I used the root cellars of Newfoundland as a starting point. Root cellars are used to preserve food during the cold months. I was attracted to them because they are an example of a dark space as a nurturing force, a kind of transformation by preservation.
I built the images using elements that related to the root cellars: seaweed which is used as fertilizer, and netting which is a crop protector.  In some cases, I used digital transfers of actual photographs of the cellars.  As I build the image at some point a state of chaos occurs – and my job is to bring the disparate elements into balance; to tame my wild things.

STUDIO TOUR GOODNESS

I participated in my first Chester County Studio Tour last weekend and it was a blast! Despite the rain, there was steady traffic of art enthusiasts, collectors, friends (old and new) and just nice, interested people.

I keep thinking about one collector who came in with her friends and while they were very talkative, she was so quiet and just kept staring at the painting shown above, Every Flower Has a Silver Cloud. I began talking with her and she shared with me that she had suffered a painful loss and the line of ovals in the painting combined with the imagery seemed to symbolize the before and after of her life after that loss. In turn, I shared with her a painful loss that had taken place in my life and that my work often consists of contrasting imagery which marks that event and the growth that often takes place after one experiences such an event.

I am so pleased that the painting touched her in such a deeply personal way and that it will now be a part of her collection, always reminding her of her strength and continued growth. I have had conversations like this with other collectors and it is always so good to know that there is a reason why I am making this work and that it does affect and help others in positive ways as I hope it will.

I am so grateful to Jeff Schaller for the opportunity to camp out on his lawn and show my work during this wonderful event!

Best of Show at Chester County Studio Tour!

So excited to be participating in the Chester County Studio Tour at Jeff Schaller’s Studio this weekend, May 21 & 22, where I will be selling my coveted encaustic mini paintings and worry blocks.
Make plans to join us and over 100 other artists for an exciting art filled weekend.
I look forward to seeing you there!

CHESTER COUNTY STUDIO TOUR
Pink Cow Studio (#16 on the web site map)
80 Highspire Road
Downingtown, PA
CLICK HERE FOR MAPS AND PARTICIPATING ARTIST INFORMATION

Visit the accompanying show VIEW where my piece, Pink Snow, shown above, won
BEST OF SHOW!!! 

VIEW
May 4-July 8
The Art Trust
16 West Market Street
Westchester, PA
WEB SITE

A fabulous part of the studio tour is the County Collector, in which participating artists create a unique 6×6 piece to sell for an affordable $75. This is an excellent idea that makes collecting original art accessible, fun and affordable.
My county collector painting, Basket Case, is shown below.
Sales of these pieces begins Saturday, May 21 at 10am.
CLICK HERE FOR THUMBNAILS OF ALL THE COUNTY COLLECTOR PIECES

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Basket Case, encaustic, collage on wood, 6x6x1

MAKERSPACE @ AAC

Abington Art Center (my very local art center) just created a new space within the art center that will be primarily devoted to fiber and fiber related happenings! Here is a little blurb from their web site…

By blurring the boundaries of analog and digital, art and science, traditional and experimental, new ideas have room to grow and develop. Inside our Makerspace, you’ll find 3D printers, laser cutters and computers side-by-side with sewing machines, hot glue guns and saws. Come find your inspiration and bring your ideas to life!

My sewn collages and encaustic paintings are now hanging in the space and as part of the opening, I will be giving a talk on Saturday, April 9, 10am-12pm about my work in fiber. Coffee and other refreshments will be served, so come out and see this exciting new addition to the textile world!

New Mini Paintings

I just finished an exciting new crop of mini paintings this week! Sizes range from 4×4 to 10×10 and are affordably priced from $55-$500. For titles and specifics regarding these and other small paintings, visit the small works gallery on my web site.

These paintings will be offered for sale this Sunday, April 3, 3-5pm at Galer Estate & Winery in Chaddsford, PA as part of the Encaustic in the 21st Century Book Signing Event….visit here and here for more information about this and other art events happing in the Chaddsford, PA area. Have some wine, enjoy some art, purchase a book and have some fun…I look forward to seeing you there!

Please note that my small paintings tend to sell quickly, so if you see something you like, email me and I’ll put it aside for you. 🙂