Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Stupid Human Trick

As this is a blog about photography and art, I guess it's about time I posted an entry on the photography side of the house!

Here's the good news:  After almost 5 years without a gallery since I moved from Florida to Kentucky, I'm dipping my toes back into the water.  In two weeks I will have 8 framed pieces in Kennydid Gallery of Photographic Art, located in lovely Midway, KY.  I'm excited to see many of my digital composite pieces back together again and framed no less.  There are also a few new pieces in the collection.

Here's the bad news:  I'm in the midst of printing the prints and took 5 of them outside to give a good UV spritz.  No good deed goes unpunished!  The white frosting like substance you see in the image below will certainly block the UV rays and also any visual representation of what was originally a lovely print.  Had I read the directions of the spray a little more carefully, I might have been given a slight pause at the fact that it was recommended you use the spray at temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees.  Well, gentle readers, it's a beautiful day today but it is at best 50 degrees outside so do as I say and not as I do!  Also it would have been the height of genius to test the spray on a single print before I went willy nilly.  I guess I won't be delivering my prints to the framer at lunch afterall...
Poor frosted Tropicanna!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

These are some lessons learned from the recent experiences:
  • Thanks to Linda for this reminder - If you are working on cradled boards, it's a good idea to go ahead and install your hanging hardware so you won't have to risk damaging your piece after you've finished.
  • Don't use a swiffer to buff an encaustic piece.  Trust me.  Eh gad the lint!
  • I bought a bunch of relatively cheap, flat pieces of birch board for workshops.  With a decent amount of heat, these will warp like crazy.  Lesson learned.
  • Wait until everything has cooled before you try to do anything on top of an image transfer.  I destroyed my transfer brushing medium over it because the subsequent layer was still a little warm.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Asheville Workshop

February has started off with a bang creatively.  I’ll apologize up front because most of what I will be posting is purely encaustic painting and techniques instead of solely being combined with photography but somewhere down the road the information will be used in my photography works I’m sure.

This past weekend I attended a workshop in Asheville NC with Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch.  There were so many new ideas and products to try! 

Trish demonstrating a TAP transfer onto wax
We applied spackling paste and asphalt tar to wood boards or encasuticbords.  The spackling paste had to totally dry before you continued but once the tar had dried about 80% you could take a wire brush to it and knock it back a bit.  On a white encasuticbord you would get this nice caramel color along with the deep black of the tar.  I had seen tar applied to an encaustic piece in pictures and thought I wouldn't be interested in it.  Once again I have learned the lesson that pictures of encaustic works are pale comparisons to the real thing.  Granted, there's one thing you need to keep in mind, I'm sure asphalt tar is not an archival product so be forewarned! 

We also applied a product called "wood icing" that looked like a mixture of plaster and wood glue.  This product could go on top of or underneath wax layers.  I really liked this substance.  Once dry, it took color from pastels or pigment powders wonderfully.  In the photo above, the blue and yellow board has wood icing applied to the top.  Here is a piece I finished very simply with encaustic medium, wood icing along the side, and some aqua pearl-ex pigment powder brushed across the dried wood icing to match the color in the photo beneath.

We had a workstation set up with various papers, pan pastels, oil sticks, oil paint, and stencils. 
Art can sure be messy!
This was my first experience using a propane torch.  Boy howdee, that is a fun instrument!  I think my favorite new activity is burning shellac on an encasutic surface.  We used paper towels to dab on an amber shellac.  Alcohol inks or pearl-ex pigments could be mixed into the shellac for various effects. 

Trish applying shellac
Shellac applied and mixed with a dark purple alcohol ink
After burning the shellac and ink
My travel buddy and fellow workshop ho, Linda Blumer discovered the truth that shellac burning made ugly pieces quite interesting.

Linda's and my workspace toward the end of the workshop's 2nd day

Liz and Linda removing painters tape from Liz's gorgeous piece

Here's an example of a shellac burn with red alcohol ink.  By the way, this is the first image transfer I've ever done successfully.  I'll do more posts on that process later.  I started this piece on white encausticbord with clear medium brushed on.  I smeared black pan pastel over that to add texture.  Using a stencil, I added the red arch on the top using red oil paint.  Obviously there wasn't time for that to dry so when I brushed on the next layer of medium, it smeared but in an interesting way.  I applied the crow image transfer from a copy of one my images.  The crackle texture is a burn of mixed amber shellac and red alcohol ink.

I also had a good time mixing shellac and pearl-ex powdered pigments.
Here are two pieces I made using a smaller amount of blue pearl-ex powdered pigments mixed with shellac. 

The board on the left is the blue and yellow wood icing piece from the second picture in this post. I also applied the neon yellow paint on the bottom, then some weak black paint on top of that.  I scraped it back for texture, then did the shellac burn.

The colors of encaustic paint supplied for us at the workshop were definitely not colors I would normally use and this turned out to be quite fun.  There was a super saturated pink that almost everyone was avoiding like the plague.  I finally decided to see what was the ugliest possible piece I could make just to see what I could do with it.  I applied paint with abandon, used stencils, and then to top it off, I added a shellac burn with tons of gold metallic pearl-ex pigment mixed in.  I present to you "Hooker Barbie"!

Plaster and wood glue burned with a torch
One of the last demonstrations Trish did was burning wood glue.  This wasn't my personal favorite activity but you could get a neat crusty texture.  If you put on the glue too thickly though, you ended up with a nasty marshmallow glob.


Here's one last piece from the workshop. It started out as an 8x10 birch board.  I added plaster and burned that with a torch.  The dark color comes from burning the board.  The strip across the top is a collaged piece of paper.  There's a shellac burn on the left side and the copper color comes from bookbinder's foil.   
By the way, I got my first encaustic piece into a juried show!  The Blue Morpho butterfly piece in previous posts will be in the 2012 Glories of the Garden show at University of Kentucky’s Dorotha Smith Oatts Visitor Center Monday, February 13- Sunday, March 4.  My digital piece Haunted will also be on exhibit at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea’s exhibit “About Face: Works Inspired by the Human Face" March 3 - Aug. 19, 2012.