Wednesday, September 15
This lovely Wednesday finds me regrouping. I have an illustration due soon and need to get rolling on it. First step, making clean surfaces in my studio. While organizing I found a bucket of old brushes soaking in turpentine, only the turps had long ago evaporated. I was taught and always believed: "take care of your brushes and they will take care of you"! I normally would never leave brushes over long periods of time soaking and for sure not in turpentine. Linseed oil is far better soaking bath for the brushes. Ideally washing them after painting is best. I let these brushes down. From caked on thick goo on the handles, to the brush hairs being dried and bent with paint on them and still more goo. It was a mess. First the brushes soaked in fresh tups for a day. Next, I gave them an over night bath in a combination of oxy clean and my old friend Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Oil Soap. It worked like a charm. They are happily drying on my counter and will join the other brushes soon--ready for action!
Yet another step towards painting!
Monday, September 13
It still needs a few little things attended to but basically it is done! I really had to emerse myself completely to find my way out. In the process I discovered the only way was through wax. I took a few days to learn about encaustic painting. I learned that combining beeswax, Dammar crystals and Milk Paint on a electric pancake griddle was the secret behind the illusive curtain of Encaustic painting! So I pulled that curtain back and set up shop--in my Kitchen.
Those of you who have followed my progress over the past few years know that bees have been major players in my world. Finding this way to utilize beeswax is both thrilling and meaningful. I have been using Milk Paint recently and have already painted a few sculptures with it. The fact that this path is continuing and being enriched, is taking it to the next level. The third ingredient is Dammar Crystals (pine tar resin), my old friend, I have been painting with you for years and now I find a new and exciting way to keep you on my team!
I painted all the pieces with my homemade encaustic wax. The inside of the main bowl being the most layered. As you can see it is quite translucent and the light brings the piece to life. I achieved this by adding many layers of wax and buffing the crap out of it, between layers. I joked that I was "buffing my Monkey" a little sexual humor to keep me going. I rubbed the heck out of it for days and days!
But the translucent bowl would be nothing if not contrasted by the solid white interior of the middle Monkeys body. It looks like there is a light in that vessel. The little man is reaching upward from the center, with his Micky Mouse ears on. From where he stands he can only see the swirling translucent walls of the main bowl that look like a stormy sky.
I won't lie there were times I got lost--lost hope, but I kept going and surrendered to it in the end. Let go of ego, all thoughts and control, no "I" just "it". I set out to make a sacred object and I feel I did. There are no short cuts. I gave everything I have.
The fourth ingredient is love.
Onward with gusto!
As readers of this blog know I am represented at the Eric Schindler Gallery here in Richmond. There is a cool story on my favorit gallery director Kirsten Grey here! She is all that and more! I feel very lucky to have her in my life and honored to be in her stable of artists.
On the subject of local publicity, I got a little myself this month. You can find the photo above in the September/October issue of R-Home magazine on page 24. They were looking for work under 300. I am currently making some things that will fit that bill. But none of it is camera ready. I dug up a few older things and they chose this little painting I did way back in the 80's. It is a sweet little painting and for 200 bucks it could be yours! If anyone out there would like to come by for a studio visit and search my archive, there are some deals to be had. Kirsten also has some drawings and small wire sculptures of mine at the gallery that are under 100 bucks--yes it is true!