Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Encaustics; Second Class

I am mad about encaustic. Last night in our second class we put together our torches and made copies of fayum mummy portraits. (that's mine above) Our teacher, Jeff Gunn, is a peach. So personable, relaxed and encouraging. He demonstrated how you add a little powdered pigment (color) to the melted wax (clear) on the surface of the hot plate and then used that as your paint. So that the entire portrait above is colored wax - nothing underneath, no underdrawing to guide you, just *splat* melted wax on birch plywood. And then *whoosh* the flame from the propane torch.

I am in love with my torch. I want to sleep with it under my pillow. Always before in encaustic classes my teachers had us painting out of muffin tins of dense, opaque color (always in the ugliest colors imaginable) and nothing I made ever looked like anything. So I am elated to learn how to make mixtures of color as I go and to be able to keep my colors transparent and alive. I have no idea where this is going. I just see hundreds of doors swung wide open beckoning me to enter. I am the wide-eyed beginner. It is the very best place to be, with so many possibilites before me.

I haven't been spraying much. With only 24 hours in a day I have had to choose. I did manage to mark up my front porch some more spray yesterday though. I know - newspaper. But I'm always in too much of a hurry so now the front of my house is sort of, er, sprayed.

Another mini-me stencil collage to sell at Art & Soul. Next Saturday in Portland. Fun!!!

So today I'm ordering pigment for encaustic and rigging up an exhaust hood for my studio. In my previous studio I made a very clever work area on top of a wood table with just cardboard and glass (arranged like the sneeze-glass at the salad bar). I had a vented fan built into the wall. It was awesome as I was working with very strong nitric acid and KPR Developer and Xylene (nasty, nasty, nasty). I miss that wonderful and safe little hood. So this new exhaust area will be a little funkier but then the fumes aren't quite so bad and whatever I come up with will be better than what we have at school (fan in a window. no hood.)

Here's to new materials, a spirit of adventure and shopping for more art supplies!

Sunday, September 09, 2007


Today my friends came over to play with me. We got out the washable paints and rubber stamps and brushes and paper and commenced with the fun. I couldn't resist sharing these pictures with you. My little friends shared with me that they love to make art in school. Well, of course they do. Everyone loves to make art.

This dear child is going to a new school this year but she already has two new friends and she said her teacher is nice so I am relieved for her. She has been my buddy for 3 years now. My heart swells when she comes to visit.

This is her adorable cry-baby sister. They say she cries but she has never cried at my house. She is a meticulous child and a wonderful painter of abstracts. Really. I wish I had her je nes see qwah.

She laboriously cleaned every single rubber stamp with a toothbrush. She scrubbed them clean. She matched each lid with the correct jar of paint. She is only 3 years old but already a patient, genius artist. I stare in awe.

And finally a crazy-azee journal page for your consideration. Oh life. You are such a wonder. Such a dream. Thank you for all the sweetness.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Kraft Paper Booklet

I guess I'm not out of my book making jones yet. I meant to tackle my disorderly studio for a good clean up but when I went to change the kraft paper under my painting area I went into a swoon over all the random color. And then I decided to make it into a booklet to slip into my purse. So that when I have a brilliant idea I can just whip it out and write it on something deliciously beautiful. Yeah, baby.

So I tore it all up with a ruler and divided it into 3 signatures. Then I sewed the signatures coptic style into a booklet. Viola.

In some ways I find this brown paper as beautiful as the most expensive hand made. It records every splotch of moisure with such exquisite sensitivity. I love those ripples and curls.

This is my favorite bit. Where the cover page is torn and reveals a peek at what's below. Color. I need it like I need oxygen.

This is the back of the spine. It is not a fat book but I dont want a fat book for my little notes.

Here we go. Ready for its new home inside my purse. It's the little things. Simple and joyful.

Monday, September 03, 2007

New Journal, Zap Mama, Artfest Sign-Up

I love to make the next journal before the last one is filled. Such a feeling of anticipation; to see the book with its pristine pages waiting to be started. For this journal I did a very extravagant thing and decided to use a stack of fabulous Fabriano paper that I've been saving. This paper is so exquisite - just to touch the pages is to feel the quality and history of the mill that created it. I used the light gray color and since it is thinner than what I usually use in my journals I was able to make 4 signatures instead of 3. An old printmaker friend gave me this paper as well as lots of handmade paper (an obsession we shared) so I think of her often while in my studio. We were friends in the late 70's, so long ago now.

I made the front and back covers on 8" x 10" acrylic panels. If you enlarge the photo above you'll see that the front cover is partially transparent. I glued tissue paper printed with inkjet images directly onto both sides of the acrylic panel and then glued on a cut-out photocopy of one of my stencil images. For the back cover I created an image in Photoshop and then printed it out onto fabric transfer paper. Once I transferred that to fabric and I glued that to the outside of the cover, then glued Japanese printed paper on the inside of the cover.

So above is both front and back attached to the canvas spine. I forgot to reverse the fabric transfer but decided to live with the outcome.

And this is what the inside of the covers look like, ready to receive the signatures. I got a great shot of the pierced signatures but then accidently deleted it. Ack!

My gosh-awful messy studio, sunny window, favorite fig tree, itty-bitty journal cover standing up on the work area to show that it is transparent to the light.

As I was working I found this scrap of paper on the floor, exactly as you see it. Since it certainly was a glorious day I glued it on the cover.

Here are the four signatures looking down from the top of the spine.

And the stitching on the spine. Terry Gross was interviewing Alice Cooper as I worked. Funny how something like that will stick in your mind. Now every time I look at this journal I'll think of Alice Cooper. Ack again.

Here it is, photo copies of my own work, tissue collage, the whole enchilada. Reminding me. Pilar gave me an awesome gift this week. She said she loves to cook; the whole kitchen witchery thing of stirring up seductive food. Oh, I loved that image. I am a reluctant cook. But yesterday I cooked another meal for my recuperating friend (chili verde, tortillas de maiz, arroz, salad) and as I worked I thought of brujeria de la cocina and that made it FUN! So now I want to cook more stuff. (no photos this time)

Here is a wild shot of the opening act of Zap Mama. We went to see them on Saturday night and it was a great concert. No photos allowed of the Mama's (sorry). I am such a rule follower. But here is a link to a cool song-video of them. Eye candy and ear candy.

This is a cheater page because I hooked 2 pages together for you. Why? I don't know. Just messing around. Loving a Labor Day with no labor whatsoever (I slept in to 10:25 am - hah!) and just plenty of time to pet the cat, drink coffee, get a little caught up (but not enough) and finish the new journal.

Last on the list: Artfest registration tomorrow. This will be my 4th year. I am thrilled to be teaching 2 classes but also missing out on taking from some of my talented companeros. I will never stop taking classes as long as I'm able. Learning new things keeps me energized and happy and that keeps me healthy and glad to be alive. I think that's all for now.