Sunday, October 31, 2010

Encaustic Garden Party

I recently discovered a Canadian shop on Etsy that makes and sells beautiful encaustic paints.  The Bees Knees is located in Ontario.   My first order arrived this week so I squeezed in some time to play yesterday.

Just a few of the luscious colours the Bees Knees carries.
 I use a warming tray that I picked up at Valu Village for $3.99 and melt the paints in a muffin tin.  This electric tray doesn't have variable settings but I checked and it keeps the melted wax at close to 200 degrees F.  The muffin tin fits perfectly on the surface and it's nice and stable.

Melting down the encaustic paints
For my support, I like the cradled wood panels that I can purchase from Opus Framing and Art, a supplier in Vancouver, BC.  These panels are also made from a readily renewable resource, as the hardwood is from the fast growing Paulownia tree. The Paulownia tree can grow from 10 to 20 feet in a season — an entire tree can even regrow in one season after being severely cut back.  The panels come in a variety of sizes and depths.  They also carry great front loading wood frames in black that compliment the encaustic paintings very well.

I like to finish the sides with acrylic paint so I cover them in blue painters tape while I complete the encaustic painting so I don't have to clean up drips later.
And here is my finished piece!  'Garden Party' is an expression of the happy feeling of celebration I get whenever I look at my beautiful summer flowers.

Garden Party, 6x6", encaustic on cradled board

Monday, October 11, 2010

Form or Function?

I have spent the past week, and most of this long weekend, trying to restore order to my studio.  After several months of preparing for a group show as well as creating work for our artisan cooperative, my space was in drastic need of an overhaul.  But what could I do to keep it from getting into this state again?

I want my creative space to look nice but I want it to work for me.  So I had to address some issues.

Do I really need all this stuff or can I let some of it go?  Yes, I need it.  No, I'm keeping all of it!!
Can I finish one project before starting on another one?  Not likely.  One idea always leads to another and usually in a completely different medium.
Will I put everything away from one project before starting on another?  Well, let's see...I'm over half a century old and I haven't trained myself to do this yet...so I have to say, probably not!

It's pretty clear that, in my case, function overrules form.  For form to be the primary consideration, one should be able to actually see the aesthetically pleasing arrangement.  So, in consideration of my rather chaotic style of working, I have reorganized my space for function.

Art Zone

Everything in my art zone is now within easy reach, including all of my different collage elements, paints, printing supplies, and mediums.  The smaller desk is dedicated to encaustic painting since the plugs for the elements, stylus and heat gun are right there.

Encaustic painting area
I liked the flow of the room better before without the rather large cubby unit dissecting the room but, in order to have all of my supplies at hand, it had to be.


I wasn't really keen about adding a table for sewing between the armoire and the bookcase because it's a small area but, I knew if I relied on using my painting table to sew at, it wouldn't happen.  My mom sewed at this table for many years and when it comes to sewing, I could use some of her good karma.


The rest of the studio should function better now that it won't be heaped with the piles that needed a temporary home when I had to clear space on the art table.  So that's the theory.  Now for the practice!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I saved my paint brush!

The other day I discovered that I had left my favourite #8 bright on the table in my studio covered in a big glob of  hardened burnt umber acrylic paint!  I should have taken a 'before' picture.

This brush belonged to my daughter-in-law's grandfather and she gave it to me so I was really sad when I thought I had ruined it.  I put it to soak in some rubbing alcohol over night to try to dissolve the acrylic paint and it worked!  It broke it down enough that with the help of some mild handmade soap and a nailbrush, I was able to remove all but a slight stain left from the paint.

This is a really cool new "team" idea on Etsy!

Dottyral from Etsy came up with a fun idea for a team that exists just to create treasuries and promote shops.  The challenge is to use a predetermined inspiration item to create your treasury.  The winner gets to choose the inspiration for the next challenge from their shop so that item then appears in everyone's treasuries. 

The first inspiration item will be chosen from the comments on October 13th.  See Dotty's post for the guidelines for participation.