Getting a personal style, technique and voice. Part 1

Over the years I have created many paintings in both realism and abstraction but my favourite style is abstraction. Below is one example from my acrylic series called “Floating Bodies.” It is 30″ X 30″.

Going Around in Circles copy
During those years I felt that I had a double personality because I loved painting and sculpting and yet had little time to do both since I also had a full time teaching position. Three years ago I retired and in that same year went to an exhibition where one of the artists exhibited artworks made with encaustic and at that moment I fell in love. She achieved transparencies and opaque contrasts that I had never seen before. I began reading books on encaustic and bought frying and griddle pans for melting the wax and purchased irons, hot tools and pigmented wax and began to paint.  I quickly found out that one can not just begin to paint in the same way as I painted with acrylic. What frustrations I had because I wanted to use the wax in the same way as using acrylic paints but the quick drying of the wax became problematic. Also, I did not know how to use the tools to melt the wax. Talk about frustration! I looked at artwork on the internet and watched Youtube videos on encaustic processes and it seemed so easy. Yet it was not an easy process as using acrylic paint so I almost gave up.

I was embarrassed with the first painting because I had been painting for years, had solo exhibitions  and yet the first painting in encaustic (shown below) looked like beginner’s work. I did not know how to smooth the surface or create light areas or dark areas. I used an iron to smooth the surface and used a brush to paint on thick melted pigmented wax.  Little mixing of the paint with medium was done.  Looking back, I am amazed that I did not give up after completing this work. But, I am tenacious and continued practicing. The first work was 12″ X 12″ and was painted on heavy watercolour paper.




In the next post, I will explain how I attained more proficiency with my techniques.


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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