I first fell in love with encaustic painting during an Art History class on Modern Painters. Jasper Johns was a ‘60’s Pop Artist who created very colourful and lush paintings filled with texture and layers.
Encaustic painting seemed like such an interesting technique, but not a standard one listed with the usual watercolour and oil painting art classes. But I lucked out in the Spring of 2010 when I found an all-day encaustic workshop being given at the Guelph School of Art (on top of Wyndham Art Supplies) by local artist, Andrea Bird. Of course, by the time I called, the class was full – but I was first on the wait list, and luckily someone wasn’t able to attend (their loss, my gain!).
We had a fantastic day upstairs in the workshop. Andrea brought materials for everyone (around 10 women) to work in pairs with an electric skillet, a heat gun, a blow torch (yikes!), lots of tubes of oil paint, metal tins to mix colours and encaustic medium (beeswax with damar resin). She demonstrated numerous basic techniques and then had us do lots of hands-on creating on our own.
There is always a curious energy in a workshop – a third giddiness for a chance to show-off your babies, a third nervous for criticism and a third (a small third) envious of everyone else’s achievements.
I created almost 10 pieces that day (some good, some very, very fugly). This workshop coincided with my receiving a yearly bonus from my day job so I went happily shopping at Wyndham Art Supplies and stocked up on all the encaustic essentials (my perception of need vs. want). I made up my first batch of encaustic medium using the recipe from ‘Embracing Encaustic: Learning to Paint with Beeswax’ by Linda Womack.
I also purchased odd tools and implements at The Home Depot and Lee Valley Tools as well. I created my first series – The Five Senses and then we moved houses and everything went into storage.
After getting settled into our new house and dealing with the usual life distractions (children, changing jobs, friends, family, etc.), my husband finished building a wall for my basement studio where I could shut the door (and lock it!) to keep out my kids and cats (liquid hot wax and curious kids & kitties – not a good combination) and start creating!
This blog is part of my creative journey – half documentary, half journal – something that I can work on while not being able to get into my studio and get messy.