A Thematic Approach Pickerelweeds # 1

I spent the last two days working on a 16” X 16” painting of pickerelweeds. I painted the background with two layers of encaustic medium and then just added the wax/oil paint colors for the water.   After the water was finished I drew the leaves on white fabric, cut them out, and glued the fabric leaves over the water with an iron. The hard part was keeping the green wax on each leaf and not to bleed the wax from the leaves out onto the water. I did go outside of a few of the leaves and just took a scraper and scraped off the green at the edge of the leaf. I added the stems to each leaf and ironed them down. Then, I took paint/wax and filled in the stems. It was really hard not smearing the water around the leaves. I have to think of a better method of adding the paint/wax so that the areas stay crisp and not smudgy. Also, I have to keep the wax temperature around 170-200 degrees so that it flows from my brush. If the wax is too cool it tends to congeal into lumps and are harder to scrape with the iron.

 The iron is a wonderful tool. I love the way I can blend the colors into each other and develop grooves that can be built up with more colors. I could not do this without the iron as my major tool for building up the colored wax surfaces.  

 Here is the finished example. As  my own critic, I see the pickerel weeds appearing a bit stiff so I wonder if I need to add a few more leaves and stems and bend them on an angle on the left side. I will cut some out of paper and try them before waxing them. I plan to do 3 more artworks of different viewpoints of the same scene and also create more movement in those paintings.

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Author: Anna

I am a painter and sculptor and have a studio beside a beautiful lake. For the past 40 years, I designed and built puppets, masks and sculptures and had solo exhibitions of these works. In 2013, I went back to painting and started working in encaustic. I am interested in issues of identity in terms of weavings as coverings to protect or to hide. The intersecting lines that I create over landscapes create an internal conversation versus the external between nature vs. nurture. Or how actual or psychological barriers erected in an environment can disrupt a cherished place. My engagement with woven structures speak to complex dialogues between identity and psychological barriers. My second passion is teaching. I try to encompass more than teaching my students art techniques. I encourage students to, not only learn the language of art, but to also engage in critiquing art. Additionally, we continually explore ways to enhance one's voice through art in relation to contemporary and historical issues. Encaustic adventures is a blog where not only processes and techniques are taught, but hopefully this sites will engage in a dialogue about the making of art, notions of voice, identity, themes, and ways to establish a body of work within an historical contexts.

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