Saturday, April 30, 2011

Finished R&F and the Encaustic Art Book!

 The perfect ending to a fantastic workshop visit to R&F Paints...I got to spend the day yesterday learning about ecaustic wax painting from Lisa Pressman and had a whole day to myself today in the workshop focusing on working with encaustic paints. One of the things that Lisa said about working with encaustic is that, "It's all about the heat." So true; I got to experiment with that today using both the butane torch and multi-temp heat gun. Here's the result of what I worked on yesterday and today:

My encaustic wax paint pallet. The wax is heated to about 200 degrees.
The brushes are kept on the hot plate or the bristles go hard in 30 seconds!

 The painting standing up is my finished 'tree bark' work. Others are in progress...

Detail of tree bark work showing black lines and pinholes filled with graphite.
The opaque areas will turn translucent as the wax cools and hardens.

Here's a piece in process. Will finish at home...

 I'm placing a photograph I've roughed up with sandpaper and coated with wax medium onto a large panel.

 Here's my peeling paint and photo painting in progress... Will finish at home.

Detail of painting with photo I took in Antibe, France a few years ago.

 It's so wonderful that R&F has available all the paint colors and tools for working with both oil paint pigment sticks and encaustic wax paints as part of their class/studio fee. I got to play with all the colors I wanted for the past 4 days! I met so many talented and inspiring people at the workshop (Dayna, Ian, Leslie, Serena, Kitty and Irene) as well as the folks who work at R&F (Richard, Pamela, Darren, Laura, Kelly, Kristin, Melissa, Sienna and a few others). I even bought 2 new Encaustic books and 5 DVD's, so will be giving you those reviews as I read/watch them!

 Today I also finished the 'Encaustic Art' book by Lissa Rankin. Loved the last several chapters discussing how different encaustic artists store, pack and ship their paintings as well as a discussion of how to educate galleries about encaustic if they are not familiar with the medium. I even read the last page with a short bio on Lissa and in the very last sentence it gave a web site address for sharing resources, education, how-tos, photos and creative inspiration for encaustic artists: www. This book was great to the very last sentence!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

No Time for Reading, Time for DOING!

Hello Friends! Been having a blast at the Lisa Pressman fine art workshop to learn to use oil paint pigment sticks at R&F Paints in Kingston, NY. This is really NEW to me, since I have only ever worked with water soluable oil paints doing crafty things with my girls. Lisa has us working on LARGE sheets of paper and multiple canvas panels at once; both things that are a stretch for me. I came to the class to learn to use my WHOLE  BODY to paint with aaaand to get in touch with my PASSION and put it down with paint.

Lisa's style is very much it's OK to have fun and play. Boy, am I having FUN!  ;)

Here are a few pics from the class:

 R&F Paints factory, showroom, gallery and workshop.

This oil painting is done on thin textured rice paper. There is a piece of 140 lb watercolor paper under it to soak up excess paint oil that seeped thorough the rice paper (and there was a lot of it!).  Size about 26"x34".
It was a challange and very freeing at the same time to work BIG.
I also made another large paper painting of Lemons, but think after it dries I will have to cut it up into 3 or 4 smaller works. Hmmm, Lisa has gotten me thinking and it's a good thing!

Tristina :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Embarking on a Kingston Adventure

Well, I'm here! Arrived in Kingston tonight to attend a 3 day workshop at R&F Paints Wed-Fri. Staying in an amazingly quaint full suite apartment above an antique store. The owners couldn't be nicer. Called the Rondout Inn. Here are some pictures...

Got an great deal on the room because their 'season' doesn't start here until May 1; the day I'm leaving! Really looking forward to the Mixed Media and Oil Paint Sticks workshop tomorrow (this) morning. Off to bed so I can get a few hours sleep... :)


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Submitted Today to Broward Art Guild Show

Wow! I was up till the wee hours last night finishing several pieces that I took today to submit to the Tri-County Art Show sponsored by the Broward Art Guild. Below are pics of the 5 pieces I submitted and some of the folks helping me to sign my pieces in, Nancy and Marlene.

"Serene Repose"
This is painted in acrylics over a photograph I took in San Francisco. I hand painted and colored the paper on the right. The dot in the middle of Buddha's forehead is a massive sparkly Swarovski crystal. Size 18x24

"Sunset Harbour"
I loved the way my acrylic hand colored paper came out, so I mounted it straight to canvas...very powerful. Size12x14

"Enchanted Forest"
My acrylic paint hand colored paper gave me the impression of light in the late afternoon playing between the trees. The trunks and leaves are textured acrylic. Size 16x20 See the detail below. 

"Mad Balloons"
Here my acrylic hand colored paper was punched out into circles and embedded in layers of encaustic wax. I love how bright and happy this piece is! Size 5x7 on wood panel.
Detail of the sides showing the wax drips is below.

Another encaustic wax painting using a real US postage stamp and my own acrylic hand colored paper. There's lots of texture and depth in this one! Size 8x8 on wood panel.
Side view showing the wax drips is below.

The common thread among the artwork I submitted today is all have my acrylic hand colored paper in them somewhere...I hope at least one of my pieces is accepted for the show!

I have rarely seen encaustic wax paintings in Florida because the extreme heat can melt the wax, therefore encaustic paintings here have to be very carefully kept in cool temperatures and out of direct sunlight. It only takes 160 degrees or more to melt the wax, so no leaving them in the car either!

I have been reading a lot of the "Encaustic Art" book in an effort to have it done before I go up to R&F Paints this coming week to take a 3 day mixed media and oil paint stick workshop in Kingston, NY. R&F is famous for manufacturing a large line of encaustic wax paints and oil/wax paint sticks. I'm going to learn so much there! I'll be sure to share what happens there...


Monday, April 18, 2011

Michael DeMeng's Dusty Diablos Miracles

You may have noticed (or not!) that one of my favorite art books is Michael DeMeng's 'Secret of Rusty Things'. I'll do a review on that book in a later post...

For now I wanted to share with you something I read in Michael's latest book, 'Dusty Diablos - Folklore, Iconography, Assemblage, Ole'. I was browsing through it last night in my new partly put together studio office as a reward for working hard yesterday and came across this quote that really jumped out at me while reading about his bottle cap milagros (milagros are symbolic little emblems that represent a wish or a prayer):

"Everyone needs a good miracle now and again."
Wow...I resemble that remark!!!

My latest miracle is the building of my new studio office in my home.  Family played a key role in getting it together. Thanks to my husband for financing the project and my father for building the project. Thanks to mom for shopping with me and watching the kids. It really takes a community to make these kinds of miracles happen!

Tristina :)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Bombastic Artist Julian Schnabel

A book I purchased at my local Border's going out of business sale (with 40% discount) that I'm currently reading is 'Lives of the Artists' by Calvin Tomkins. Since I am choosing to be an artist who supports her family through art, I thought it would be a good idea to read about the backgrounds of other artists who have prospered and made a name for themselves in the art world and whose work sell for big bucks. The book includes insights from the author's personal contact and interviews with the artists.

I just finished the section about Julian Schnabel...and, wow, I love the way he has such a grandiose way of thinking and acting yet is so real and natural doing it. His paintings now hang in museums and private collections around the world. What I noticed about Julian's work when I looked at it online is that his scale is very large - he makes massive paintings. Some of them selling in excess of $1 million!

I am intrigued with Schnabel's success at creating wealth from his artwork to the point where he has supported 2 wives, 5 children, multiple houses and studios and a cadre of studio assistants. In the book it said when he needed cash to expand one of his homes, he simply sold a painting for $700,000 and moved on to paint more. To Julian, painting is to life what breathing is to life!

What I took away from the segment on Julian Schnabel in this book is to think BIG both in terms of my painting's sizes and also to dream big, put entheusiasm behind my work and know that I can have whatever I clearly desire in this business! It's time to start living a Bombastic lifestyle!!! :)


Friday, April 15, 2011

Building A New Studio Office

Thank goodness for Friends and Family! Today my friend Higia came over to help move books, papers, furniture, odds and ends out of my jammed home office. Then my father and mother came over; mother to watch the kids for me and father to put together the IKEA bought Billy Bookshelves and Mickey Desk. All this in an effort to turn my home office into a beautifully organized home studio office!

Here are pictures of my dad and me working on the desk...notice the big blank wall behind me. Watch the transformation of that wall and 2 corners into a desk and many bookshelves for my extensive art, jewelry and fabric book collection!

I'll show you a picture of the 'library' wall when all is up and bolted in, hopefully on Sunday! I'm looking forward to having a home for the boxes and boxes of books that are now in my dining room while this construction is taking place. Isn't it true that sometimes things have to get messy and chaotic before order and ease sets in?

Happy Reading!   Tristina :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Nature as Art

Nature amazes me! Endless possibilities of subjects for drawing are simply outside my window, in books and magazines, under the water, in a blade of grass or limb of a tree...

Today I was inspired by a faint background image from one of my art books that gave the impression of a jellyfish or live sanddollar. I immediately grabbed the corner of a large pad of paper I have handy to draw on and spilled my own impression of a jellyfish out on it with a sharpie. I put the picture away, then read in my 'Encaustic Art' book that I can use pastels when working in wax. I yanked my jellyfish picture out again and grabbed my Pan Pastels to give it a quick color up from my imagination. Here it is:

Notice the loosey goosey drawing of a giraffe in the background (from a National Geographic Traveler magazine) that was done by looking at the giraffe and drawing on the paper without looking at the paper while not lifting the pen at all. This is called blind contour drawing and was an exercise out of the book 'Drawing Lab'. It's a great way to warm up and it's fun to see the results!

I hear all the time people who say, "I can't draw!", or, "I'm not an artist. I could never do what you do." I used to say exactly the same thing (having been a computer geek all my life)!!! Here's my advice - EVERYBODY  CAN  DRAW  AND  MAKE  ART! The way to do it is simply to start by doodling the things you see in nature or around the house. Make your pictures loosey goosey and don't worry for a second if the outcome seems childish or doesn't "look good" to you. There are artists in this world today making big $ on artwork of a childish strikes a chord with people and reminds them of their limitless childhood imagination; there's something charming and heartfelt about child-like work.

Start today, and leave me a comment or send me a picture of what you do. Happy drawing... :)


Encaustic Art HeyDay!

Usually Wednesdays are my studio day. Today, however, I did not go to my studio and stayed home instead playing with my new R&F encaustic paints! Last night I had used R&F's Encaustic Gesso (a much more high solid gesso with much less binder than a typical acrylic gesso) to prepare a bunch of artist's boards for encaustic painting. I just couldn't keep my hands away from them this morning...

I had fun experimenting with the encaustic medium, impasto medium, and colors Azure Blue, Warm Pink, Naples Yellow and Zinc & Titanium Whites, all that I heated in tins from R&F Paints on my pancake griddle. I added to the encaustic paints my own acrylic hand-colored papers, postage stamps and images printed on tissue from my Epson printer. I played around with some of the techniques from Lissa Rankin's book 'Encaustic Art' and found out which worked as stated for me and which didn't! Here are some of the results:

The painting with the flower I call "Daffodillia" and the spatter paint one I call "Taverna".

Daffodillia is made using Patricia Balldwin Seggebruch's amber shellac wet burn method. I'm such a to watch the fire coming off the panel and the wax floating around in a random pattern - fascinating.

Taverna reminds me of a Greek tavern where fun and frivolity reign supreme among a close knit community. Think I'm going to have to keep this one in my private collection!

I'll be working on arranging and organizing my home studio over the next few days. It'll feel so good to have a place all set up with my supplies easily at hand and my sewing machine set up and ready for regular use. :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Buddhist Teachings Hold Wax Sacred

While reading 'Encaustic Art' by Lissa Rankin today, I came across this passage that I thought was really neat:

'(Michael) David was delighted to discover that, in Buddhist teachings, wax is a sacred material, "a metaphor for compassion, fragility, and change."'

No wonder I am so drawn to encaustic wax painting right now.....

Friday, April 8, 2011

So Excited About Encaustic Supplies!

Yesterday I received a box of Encaustic Wax painting supplies from R&F Paints!

I know, you must be thinking, 'How do you paint with wax?' I thought the same thing, too, and have had my interest piqued lately with many articles in art & craft magazines / books including this painting medium. What I discovered in the 'Encaustic Art' book that I am currently reading (by Lissa Rankin) is that wax has actually been found preserved as a painting medium in Egyptian Fayum portraits from as far back as the first century BC!

I've also been inspired to use wax in my mixed media paintings lately from watching the DVD 'Encaustic Techniques' by Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch. Hence... this latest R&F Paints order. Some of my "Fossil Bones" series paintings have encaustic medium painted over my own hand-colored papers before glueing/nailing on the petrified bones. I ordered the new encaustic products to take working with the medium to the next level with some of the techniques found on the DVD. I'll let you know how it goes...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Inspired Hand Colored Paper Paintings

Lately I have been inspired to make bunches of hand-colored papers with tissue and acrylic paints using a technique I learned in one of Edyi Lampasona's classes at the Boca Raton Museum of Art School last year. The mixing of colors on the paper is very organic and the colors come out so juicy once dry! Here are some of the papers I made this week drying in the hot Florida sun:

I decided to try a landscape dyeing technique I read about in Mickey Lawler's book 'Sky Dyes' with the papers I was making...and really like the results. Here are 2 of the paintings I have done so far by simply adhering the papers I made to canvas (love the crinkly texture that remains in the surface once the soft gel meduim drys).

 Wish you could see the shimmer of metallic on these paintings. Very exciting!!! <3

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Border's Going Out Of Business Sale

OMG! The Border's book store on East Sunrise Blvd. near the Galleria Mall in Fort Lauderdale is closing... They are offering books at 40% to 60% off. I picked up a whole armfull of art books there recently, including a fabulous coffee table book called 'American Grafitti' by Margo Thompson. I LOVE grafitti and have been photographing it on train cars, road-signs, along highways and on buildings for years. Below are a few images I have captured...

I feel the best book I picked up at the Border's sale, and there were 2 left, is 'The Human Figure In Motion' by Eadweard Muybridge. It's chock full of images of men, women and children sitting, standing and moving from front, back and side. I am going to use this as a reference for drawing the human figure in whatever pose I want. Really cool!

Comment if you pick up any books you are excited about from the sale!