Thursday, October 21, 2010

Announcing Encausticamp - A Highlighted Journey

Dabbling in encaustics was a natural and somewhat uneventful shift in my journey as a collage artist. I was looking for a way to enhance, protect, and add more depth to my work, while maintaining the textural quality of the antique papers that I loved. After spending time perusing a stack of new art books at Borders one evening, I came home with "Encaustic Workshop" by Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch, feasted on the eye candy it contained, read a bit on the process, and set about developing an encaustic style of my own, falling in love with the process, and eventually coming up with my "Wax & Wire" jewelry line. I couldn't get enough of the endless possibilities using this warm honey-smelling medium. It all seemed innocent enough...

To say that doors have been opening as a result of this exploration seems like a bit of an understatement. In fact, I have been feeling more like Natalie Portman in this scene from "Where The Heart Is". The door hasn't just been opened, but more nearly thrown from its hinges, barely leaving me time to register the wonder of it all as tornado-like forces suddenly pull me through.

 Melodramatic? Maybe a little. . .

There are times in your life when you just know that something is significant. There is a shift in the ground beneath your feet. A tiny crack in the heavens, just beyond your vision, for just a billionth of a fraction of a second, as you glimpse behind the curtain to the brilliance beyond. It's what my friend Sue recently described as God "highlighting" something significant. It may be just a verse from a song, or a scripture you've heard so many times it almost passed your notice. A word softly spoken by a stranger, or something that makes a particular person stand out among so many others and a new friendship is born. Even something that resonates deep within as you pick up an art book from the shelf at the bookstore. 

And you just Know.

Not that you know what it is that you know. You just know. The moment has been lit from above.  

The wonderment and suddenness comes when you look up one day and you start to see the connections between those highlighted moments and realize you were on a deliberate path that brought you to this place all along.

It is gazing at a night sky filled with millions of pinpoints of starlight and noticing some are brighter then others and then tracing a line between those bright stars and seeing the Big Dipper. Not so random. Not so unconnected.

And this path you have been following widens just a little and it all seems so suddenly to have come together. 

And you know. You just know. Others can see it too and it becomes so bright, so visible, it beckons for them to follow.

These highlighted moments would fill many posts and may yet find their way into a few, but each one has led to this moment and yet this is just one step in many to come - how do I know? I just know that I know.

Join me on this creative journey at Encausticamp - A special all encaustics retreat - for 3 full days and 4 evenings of inspiration and education hosted by Artist and Author Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch, July 2011. Follow Trish's Encausticamp blog for unfolding details and stay tuned here for news!

Fun with EncaustiKits

This week I had the honor and fun of testing an encaustic incising kit from artist Patricia Baldwin Seggabruch's line of EncaustiKits.

My kit came with everything needed to create encaustic masterpieces utilizing the technique of incising, 3 tins of encaustic medium (1 basic and 2 pigments), 4 Hake Brushes (high quality, so soft and lovely to work with!), 4 Encausticbord's, 2 incising tools, and 2 color pigment sticks.

The quality of the refined beeswax Patricia has selected to use in her wax is evident in the pure clarity of the wax and the honeybee smell permeating throughout my studio.

I followed the instructions in the enclosed brochure giving my board a base coat of clear and then a second coat of yellow, fusing after each application. Then the fun began!
Choosing to use a stencil as my guide on the first piece, I traced the lines with the incising tool. Now I have to say that I typically am a "use what you have" kind of gal and incise my wax with just about anything I find laying around the studio, but this little tool really made a difference with its quality ball tip (a different size on each end) that slid easily through the wax and left a smooth line behind it. After I was satisfied with the pattern, I let the board completely cool and then used the blue pigment stick to fill the lines, carefully rubbing and wiping away the excess.
I fused again to set the incising and then decided to add a little stenciled detail with another layer of yellow wax.

Sorry my photos do not do the color in this piece justice - the one thing I don't like about my studio space is it's lack of natural lighting - but I am tickled with the results.

Next I followed a similar process but with two layers of clear medium and adding a bit of old text for interest. I incised a tree and filled it with the red pigment stick, staining the entire upper portion of the piece with red before incising the word "life".

Here I masked off a portion with painters tape and used the blue pigment stick to fill the word life and stain the right half of the board.
The pieces I created are quite a departure from the collage work that I normally do. And I found myself wondering where the flowers and playful images were coming from when I realized it was simply the act of being allowed to play. It was a fun afternoon and I am inspired to pursue creating more pieces in this style. Patricia's kit contained all the materials I needed to complete these projects and then some, sans skillet to heat the wax and heat gun to fuse. Hop on over to the Encaustikits website for a variety of kits, tools (including the skillet and heat gun if you need them!), books and inspiration, and just in time for the holiday gift season, but I have to warn you....
It may be addicting!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Art and Soul - Portland 2010

"Utterings: A Wordless Prayer Series"                  by Crystal Neubauer

It's hard to believe I've been home for two days now. I taught three classes in two days and have to say that I am still floating on a bit of a high from the experience. My only complaint? I just did not take enough pictures. I was just moving along on a creative tide not thinking beyond the moment. Yes, it was that much fun!

Tuesday was Front and Center: 3D Collage with a Story. A day packed with learning techniques that are transferable to all kinds of collage and mixed media projects, learning to saw acrylic with a jewelers saw, making tube rivets, and tuning in to what is going on inside to hear the story wanting to be told. I'll be teaching this class once again at Art & Soul - New Orleans in July. Here are a few class pics from Tuesday:

Wednesday day was Encaustic Adornment, also known as my "Wax & Wire" class. I've managed to combine these materials in an unlikely marriage of metal, paper, and encaustics and was eager to share the technique. Not only was it a fun class in which I was delighted to be able to see how each student interpreted the process to suit her own style, but I came away knowing I had met some really cool and inspiring artists (as I did in all my classes!!) - not as teacher to student - but as a peer learning as much as I had to share.

I've a few class photos, but be sure to go check out Jan's blog for a close up of her cool pieces with tiny found objects attached as well!

 Admiring all the beautiful work!

 Muriel's pieces were gorgeous - but my camera didn't like the lighting~

 Here I am with my eyes closed - but the class was poised and ready with smiles!

And oh one of the most special things about Art & Soul, as I am sure those of you who have been there will agree, is connecting with friends, new and old. My dear dear sweet friend Sue Simpson is peeking out at the camera. We have been friends online for years and were finally able to meet face to face solidifying what will be a close life long friendship. Even now I have tears of joy at how God works to connect similar souls through the thread of art and a love for Him.

This is the multi-talented Becky Christian manning her booth on Vendor night. For the second year in a row Becky picked me up from the airport and drove me and all my stuff to the hotel (even returning to the airport in the afternoon to retrieve part of my luggage which did not make it on the same flight as I did!). Becky played chauffeur driving me far and wide searching out a Chipotle so my poor tummy could eat something I knew would be gluten free. She spent hours behind the wheel and more hours sitting in my room with me as we bagged and prepared our goodies for vendor night. There are friends you just know that no matter how many months go by without talking or seeing each other, will always be your good friend and Becky is one of them. 

I did not manage to get any photos of my evening class "Encaustic Collage In An Evening" on Wednesday night (also being offered in New Orleans in July). I had a full class of 22 enthusiastic students soaking up as much as they could creating quick collage's and learning the basics of using encaustic wax to enhance and protect their art, along with some fun techniques including image transfers, incising, stenciling, adding color, and an overview of the endless creative possibilities to be found in encaustics. The unanimous plea as they went out the door with their beautiful pieces was "we want more!" ~ so stay tuned for a special announcement!

Monday, October 11, 2010


I've just arrived home from teaching and vending at Art & Soul Portland where time seemed to pass in warp speed. There is so much to share I'm not even sure where to start. A nap is in order and much unpacking to do, so for now I will leave you with an image from my new line of collage works on paper titled "Utterings" and I promise to be back soon~ xoxo