Workshops, Demonstrations, Talks at the International Encaustic Conference: Day 2

Keynote Address

This morning, at 9:30, I attended the Keynote address.  Sharon Louden  focused on the topic “Living and Sustaining a Creative Life.”  Sharon is a vibrant speaker and so generous in sharing her knowledge about her creative community  and how she has sustained her artistic life.  Then she shared other artists’ stories such as Julie Blackmon who lives in a small community and takes photographs of her surroundings. In Julie’s artist statement she talks about investigating the struggles she encounters between her role as a mother in relation to her passion for taking photographs of human cultural interactions in the community where she lives.

In her talk Sharon explored  how each artist pushed boundaries by creating their own community of like minded individuals and how this notion of “community”  helped sustain their creative voices.  Sharon stressed that an artist has to make the best art that he or she can, be consistent and never give up, do the research of what it is you need to sustain your practice, and never give up when one gets a rejection.  “Rejection is just a difference of opinions.”  And finally, be generous with your ideas, techniques, support, etc.  Artists need to establish a community of like-minded individuals that you support and then they will support you.   Such an inspirational talk and thank you Sharon Louden.

Canadian Gathering 

After this talk I arranged a Canadian gathering at lunch time.  Met fabulous Canadians who love working in encaustic.  A great time for networking and creating a community of liked minded artists.  Thanks to all that came to our luncheon meeting,

Michael David: Encaustic Theories and Practices

The first talk that I attended after lunch was led by artist Michael David.  His talk on Encaustic Theories and Practices: History of Contemporary was a passionate dialogue explaining how famous artists used encaustic because no other process could push their voices.  Yes, Jasper Johns famous American flag paintings was shown along with Brice Marden, Linda Benglis, Anselm Kiefer, Joseph Cornell, and Joanne Mattera.  Michael David also included images of his own works.

Brice Marden, D'après la Marquise de la Solana, 1969. Oil and wax on canvas, three panels, 77 5/8 x 117 3/8 inches (197.2 x 298.1cm) overall    Brice Marden,  1969, oil and wax on canvas.

Lynda Benglis, Embryo II 1967, encaustic on panel

Detail of a Jasper Johns’ painting of the 3 Flags, 1958, encaustic and mixed media on canvas.
Joanne Mattera, Uttar 29 (Bask), 2006, encaustic on panel, 48″ X 50″

Michael David discussed why he chose encaustic.  He stated that he could not build up the surface in the same way with any other medium.  Pushing the limit of the liquid wax is his passion.  Burying the painting, burning it, adding found elements and then embedding these elements into the wax is a process that calls him.

“Cluster of Blessings” by Michael David, Photo by Mike Jensen. Courtesy of Bill Lowe Gallery

Michael David is passionate and a powerful speaker.  I did not want his talk to end.    In my notes I wrote these questions:   “What am I doing with encaustic and why use this particular process?” “How do I manipulate the medium of wax in an unusual way to make it my own technique?”   “Do I go deeply into me and to no-one else?  “And how does my work reflect my life?”  I have a lot to ponder over the next few months.

In the Next Post I share Sunday’s events and Monday and Tuesday’s workshop experience with Karen Freedman.



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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