Thursday, October 13, 2016

Encaustic Techniques in Printmaking

I am really excited to tell you about this very special workshop that I have been developing with fellow artist Samira Gdisis, owner of The Black Eyed Press. Don't miss out on this rare opportunity to explore this unique combination of materials. These seemingly unrelated mediums come together beautifully; Encaustic Wax and Printmaking - texture, fine details, techniques in both processes that will give you a competitive edge in building on your own body of work or ignite something new.  

Hint: this one is worth traveling to. A list of area hotels will be provided upon request. Second Saturday art walk is happening in neighboring Kenosha, Wisconsin. The acclaimed RAM museum is minutes away, and an option for Sunday morning Yoga is available in the Gallery on 16th. I do hope you will join us! 


Encaustic Techniques in Printmaking

Artist Crystal Neubauer teams up with Samira Gdisis of The Black Eyed Press to explore traditional printmaking techniques in relationship to the non-traditional use of encaustic medium. Participants will have a unique opportunity to explore printmaking techniques, including collagraph, relief, and etching, by applying encaustic medium to a Plexiglas plate for use in a professional printmaking studio.

In addition, students will have an opportunity to explore encaustic monoprinting and receive instruction in translating certain techniques to a home studio application when a printing press is not available.

Discussions and demonstrations will include safe studio practices, product selection, the exploration of building plate texture with wax, creating and incising a smooth surface for etching, using objects to create design, registration for single and multiple color passes, rendering abstract and realistic art prints, and suggestions for mounting and displaying the encaustic plates as a work of art unto itself alongside the printed works.

The workshop is designed for those with no experience in either medium, as well as those with a foundation in either encaustic painting or printmaking techniques who wish to further explore this combination.



Workshop includes the majority of supplies, studio time and materials, with only a short supply list required of each student. Students will be asked to bring the following:

  • Plexiglas cut to 6” x 8” - at least (2) pieces with edges to be finished before class per instruction received on registration
  • Arches Cover 92lb. – at least (2) sheets of 22” x 30” white or cream
  • (1) Encaustic quality brush
  • Fitted heat resistant work gloves (Either construction or kitchen variety will work)
  • Lino cutting kit
  • Inspiration photos or illustrations

Options are available at registration for boxed lunch by the acclaimed Chez Bob and Sunday morning Yoga in the Gallery on 16th.





Workshop Fee



*Kind regards and acknowledgment to Strathmore, R&F Paints, and Enkaustikos. 

Friday, September 09, 2016

Today I Will Choose to Rise


After a rare good health day yesterday, I woke with an ocular migraine in the wee hours of the night- intensely painful pressure behind my eyes wrapping throughout my head into the base of my skull, spinning, dizzy, nausea, body aches, the works- a newish symptom I've been experiencing over the past year.
I finally managed to sit up around noon, shades pulled and coffee in hand, feeling like I was run over by a truck. The busy day of work and email catch up I had planned did not happen.
I am feeling anxious about my future and my ability to manage my finances with this debilitating unpredictable illness called Chronic Lyme. I am in a spiraling flare of the disease after a season of environmental trauma and emotional stress.
There is no quick fix take a pill and get better treatment. Only a long regimen of trial and error to address each area of damage to the body. Good days are simply good days. The goal is to find the right combination of treatment and rest to achieve a whole bunch of good days in a row and stop the progressive damage, in other words- remission. Chronic Lyme does not leave.
Unfortunately people sometimes do. Even the ones who really mattered. The ones you have every right to count on. The ones you needed and wanted to be with the most. In some ways, it's easy to understand; life isn't a fairy tale romance. It's down and dirty in the trenches and real. It often requires more from us than we think we have or even want to give.
It's an eye opener when people check out of your life at the very moment you need them to be there the most. The fact is that it is impossible to have the real connected relationships we are looking for if we avoid the bad days that are bound to come.
We need other people in this journey called life. We are wired for connection and wanting a shoulder to lean on when the storms are raging is not a sign of weakness, on the contrary, asking for help and expecting a kind, empathetic response can be evidence of our strength.
But when it comes down to it, there are certain battles in life that we must face on our own. Like a chronic illness, these battles remain hidden from the observer's eye. Not the battle that comes with fighting for better health, or to save a marriage. Or the one that comes with grieving a death, or losing a friend, or a job.
This is the battle that is both uniquely personal and universal. The battle of the ages. The one that wants us to determine our worth based on our circumstances.
The enemy of my soul wants me to believe that I am less than others, as evidenced by the people who leave, or the illness that stays. It trips me into cycles of anxiety produced performance and harsh self-evaluation.
But there is another voice inside, when I am willing to lean in and listen, the one that wants me to be real and learn to love myself without exception. This isn't a frivolous act or selfishly motivated investment, and it doesn't excuse the actions of others. This is a courageous step to discovering what is true.
We are all worthy of love and compassion. Not because of what we can do, but because our value exceeds what is visible on the surface.
It is at this place of falling apart, where everything around me tries to remind me that I have no worth, that I will rise.
I will not hide in shame or fear, I do not speak to play the victim, nor deny my true needs to make myself small enough to be acceptable and earn a scrap of love.
This is my story, my life. It is not all good or all bad. It is not all black and white. There are magical shades of gray and colors that are exclusively mine. There is nothing I can do, or stop doing, and no circumstance or person that will change my worth.
A wise woman tells me that the enemy's voice is the loudest at the most critical points in our story. I can choose to believe the lies and lose myself in the process, or I can choose to rise and embrace my fullest being in spite of all the noise.
Today I choose to love myself to the fullest. Today I will choose to rise.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Kansas City - Not Just Another Workshop

"The Natural Order of Things" 12" x 48" Diptych Collage by Crystal Neubauer
Next Stop: Kansas City - It's Not Just Another Workshop!
Inside/Outside: The Art of Assemblage

Date: Sat, Sept 3, 2016
Time: 9:30-4:30pm
Location: Studio Joy!, 608 E 30th St, Kansas City MO 64109


This workshop is the place to be for the love of all things salvaged and collected. Spend the day creating an encaustic collage on a cradled panel and then elevate it to the status of assemblage by adding your salvaged material and collected objects. Learn the art of encaustic, collage, and assemblage; this day will be a feast of technique resulting in a beautiful work of art for your own collection.  



But the fun does not begin there! 
You are cordially invited to kick the weekend off Friday September 2, with an
excursion in the West Bottoms.

The West Bottoms is a antique/vintage shop hub that opens Fri-Sun on the same weekend as First Friday in the Crossroads. Think of all the cool treasures to be found, and imagine finding the perfect item to use for Saturday's class! 

Date: Fri, Sept 2, 2016
Time: 1-4ish
RSVP: please include a note to Amanda Jolley when you register for the workshop to let us know you are joining us on Friday too.

Next, My First Friday Show Open at Beggars Table Gallery
 
First Friday at the Crossroads can get pretty congested, so we will have the parking advantage by arriving earlier in the evening for dinner together before the show. After I introduce you to my newest works at Beggars Table Gallery, you will want to wander all over the Crossroads to absorb as much art and inspiration as you are able.

Date: Fri, Sept 2, 2016
Time: 5pm
RSVP: Message to Amanda Jolley at the time of registration letting her know to include you in the dinner reservation.


Click here to register for the workshop and get in on all that fun!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

On Chronic Pain and Utterings of Joy

ATC Sized "Utterings of Joy" - Small works by Crystal Marie Neubauer
This morning I left for a couple of appointments and knew within 5 minutes that I wasn't going to make it. I wrestled with it at first, not wanting to get any further behind on my schedule, but I knew I was going to make a bad situation much worse if I didn't heed what my gut and body was telling me; I am in a serous flare up of symptoms previously thought to be Lupus, Connective Tissue Disorder, and Fibromyalgia – newly diagnosed as Chronic Lyme and I needed to go home and get back in bed.

You don't think about bones much unless they're painful. 

Stub your toe, fall on the ice, whack your elbow on the counter, these sudden impact occurances cause the kind of severe pain that I've been experiencing on a nightly basis. Except those one-off incidents, while painful, subside after a time. Jump up and down holding your foot trying not to swear, rub your elbow while tears stream down your cheeks and you make jokes about your "not-so-funny bone", and the sharp intensity of it subsides to a mere throb, then finally just a memory that makes you wince and then it's gone.

But my nightly pain is more like a severe toothache- in that unrelenting painful throbbing that demands all of my attention kind of way. As a matter of fact, it is a toothache. Not just one tooth, but all of them. They suddenly feel too big for my mouth and I can feel each one as a sort of sensory X-ray, along with the jawbone surrounding them. And the cheekbones above them. And on into my eye sockets. Throbbing pulsing bone pain that does not stop. I feel each pressure point where my head rests on the pillow, where my knees and hip bone meet the mattress. It is a memory foam, cushy comfy new mattress, but some nights the pain makes it feel like a concrete slab.

At night, I feel my skeleton more than my skin, but my skin- oh how it burns. The backs of my legs, my buttocks, wrapping around my knees, up towards the center of my back and down to the bottoms of my feet in an all over body neuropathy. It burns with that sense that I stayed out in the sun too long but deeper, the way it does when you exercise for the first time after years in the easy chair. My ankle tingles and that crawling electrical-gone-haywire sensation climbs up my limbs, across my shoulders and becomes a full on numb sensation on one side of my face, especially when I hit the proverbial wall. The one where I know I have pushed myself too much that day. And to make it especially challenging, the wall moves from day to day. Some days I shower and get dressed and decide to dry my hair then there it is, I am done for the day and I have to lay back down. Like today.


The exhaustion never ends- it is debilitating and muscular. The closest description to accurate I've read is having the worst flu and the worst hangover of your life all rolled into one. It is a vicious cycle when laying down is the remedy and the trigger. When I am up and moving through my day, the intensity of the bone pain and burning skin give way to muscle spasms and joint pain, which is migratory- but almost always starts with the bottom of my heels in my feet. I get out of bed, or out of my car, or up from my work table and feel like someone took a hammer to them- right on the bottom of my heel bone. I hobble and limp until it stretches out and I either grow numb to it, or it releases enough to function. If I stay on my feet it will decrease, but sooner or later it begins in my knees and occasionally that one special place in my hip, as it lets me know I was moving a little too fast and a little too confidently.  

The tingling also roams - to my hands, my feet, my knees, either one side or the other. And then throughout the day come strange sensations that I can only describe as internal waves of unwell. I'm working in the studio, or talking to a friend, or walking through the grocery store and it rolls up from the floor and rises to my head with a weird feeling similar to when you step off an elevator, but coming from my insides. It happens fast and I am hit with an overall feeling of pre-nausea, that moment just before you know you're going to throw up, but I never do. It lingers anywhere from several minutes to several hours with little dizzy spells and lightheaded sensations to make it extra special.


Depression and anxiety are also symptoms. It is hard to sort out when it comes because of the pain, or as a companion to it, but it doesn't really matter. It is there when I have days with nights like these. And this week has been filled with days with nights like these. It starts with an increase in my detox supplements- a necessary step if I ever hope to get well enough to try to treat the Lyme directly. Each time I increase the dose, these symptoms, many of which have already been my reality for years, flare up to this near unbearable array.

The depression doubles down and whispers it will never get better.

It will never get better.

It will never get better.

There is no relief in sight. It will never get better.

Particularly dark thoughts come when each painful pulse is accompanied by this whispering thread. 

It isn't a mood. It is a symptom that is as real and powerful as the physical pain itself. 


Hours are spent each night going through the same routine. Toss and turn trying to get comfortable, a few hours of light sleep before waking in unbearable pain. Then maybe if I try the lavender oil, or an extra dose of the magnesium, I'll get enough relief to fall asleep, but it usually doesn't work. My mind ticks through the list: Maybe I should get up and take a bath? A hot shower? Maybe if I wrap the ice pack around my neck and put the heating pad on my back? My heating pad is my constant bedtime companion. But each of these remedies bring only a moment of relief before the change in my body temperature causes a reaction similar to a menopausal hot flash accompanied by that rolling elevator of nausea rising and I am tearing the covers off and nearly crawling out of my skin while the room spins. 


When daylight finally comes it takes a while to drag myself out of bed. 

My daytime symptoms, along with the pain and fatigue, include hyper sensitivity to noise and light especially in the early hours. Things as benign as tap water or lipstick cause a blistering swollen rash inside my mouth - my body's response to the toxic load of going undiagnosed and untreated for so long. 

Hyper sensitivity to food and increasing allergies is also a common symptom of Lyme. 

My neck stiffens and has knots along each side, as it clicks and sounds as if bone is grinding on bone. A symptom that I was shocked to find out had anything to do with this illness, but each increase in my detox regimen brings a little more mobility, one tiny glimmer of hope that I am on the right track. 


My hands tremor, my insides often feel like I OD'd on caffeine. 

I can feel my brain shaking. 

My heart rate speeds and slows and slams and beats out of my chest. I haven't had acne this bad since I was a teenager. 

Cognitively, memory problems present themselves by way of forgetting my words, not being able to match names with faces, and getting lost on the way to the same grocery store on the same route I've taken a million times before. I look up and get that sense that I am lost and nothing around me looks familiar and I grow anxious as I drive looking for anything, anything that will spark my recognition. Thank God for cellphones with GPS. 


I could go on and on with this, but I am fairly certain you may not have stuck with me to read this far. I mean, come on, it's depressing! 

Many of these symptoms have plagued me for years, but now they are flaring to the nth degree and coming all at once. I don't know how long I will have to go through this, or if it will ever get better. I have the double whammy of finding that my body does not detox the Lyme or the mold or other toxins on its own, so treatment is going to be long and slow and painful. Someday I may share what happens when I take anything that kills the Lyme, but this is enough info for your reading pleasure right now. 


You might feel worse after reading all of this, and I am sorry for that, but somehow it made me feel better to write it all down. 

To purge just a little bit, the loneliness of the experience. The harrowing pain of it all. To know that someone else can read this and maybe get a tiny glimpse of understanding. I don't really look sick – unless you've noticed the bruises or the acne or the dark circles under my eyes. 

Or caught me with my head on the steering wheel as I give in to the knowledge that I am not going anywhere today.

It is hard. It is very much out of my control. And there is very little I can do about it. 

I am not too stubborn or proud. I don't want to be doing this on my own, but the support of a companion is not there. That's not an indictment, but it is a fact that I cannot change. So I either go through the sickness of detoxing on my own, or I go through the sickness of not detoxing- this illness is not going away.

Either I make the best of each day and try to find my light, or I don't. 

It is up to me and it isn't.

I am alone and yet I am surrounded and filled with the presence of God.

Each day shifts and each day stays the same and I move forward and release the toxic load. One pill, one symptom, one memory, one emotion, one day at a time. 

I don't tell you all of this to wallow in it. I had a completely different post in mind to write- something witty and uplifting and encouraging to be sure. But this is where I am today, and I know it is hard to read or hear or believe.

It can be tempting to look away in the face of other people's pain. We only have so much compassion to go around before we have to shut down. Some of us do it more quickly then others. But pain, in all forms, is universal, and we don't have to suffer it alone. 

I have been on the verge of giving up, even though I don't know what that looks like. But then I remember that I am really not alone. I have all of you. And I have faith – no, it isn't that I have faith, rather I know that faith has me. 

And it isn't that I have God, but I know that in spite of the whispering lies of the darkness, that God has me.

Thank God He has me.

Thank God He has me.

Thank you God that you have me. 



And I still have art. That's what I am celebrating today.


That I can still step into the studio on good days, and even most of the bad, and release all of it by way of these wordlessprayersThese scraps and these bits, and this pain, and all of the darkness and the light. It all comes together with a bit of paste and a song or two. 

My offering sent up to the heavens and returned in the form of tiny utterings of joy

On Chronic Pain and Utterings of Joy

ATC Sized "Utterings of Joy" - Small works by Crystal Marie Neubauer
This morning I left for a couple of appointments and knew within 5 minutes that I wasn't going to make it. I wrestled with it at first, not wanting to get any further behind on my schedule, but I knew I was going to make a bad situation much worse if I didn't heed what my gut and body was telling me; I am in a serous flare up of symptoms previously thought to be Lupus, Connective Tissue Disorder, and Fibromyalgia – newly diagnosed as Chronic Lyme and I needed to go home and get back in bed.

You don't think about bones much unless they're painful. 

Stub your toe, fall on the ice, whack your elbow on the counter, these sudden impact occurances cause the kind of severe pain that I've been experiencing on a nightly basis. Except those one-off incidents, while painful, subside after a time. Jump up and down holding your foot trying not to swear, rub your elbow while tears stream down your cheeks and you make jokes about your "not-so-funny bone", and the sharp intensity of it subsides to a mere throb, then finally just a memory that makes you wince and then it's gone.

But my nightly pain is more like a severe toothache- in that unrelenting painful throbbing that demands all of my attention kind of way. As a matter of fact, it is a toothache. Not just one tooth, but all of them. They suddenly feel too big for my mouth and I can feel each one as a sort of sensory X-ray, along with the jawbone surrounding them. And the cheekbones above them. And on into my eye sockets. Throbbing pulsing bone pain that does not stop. I feel each pressure point where my head rests on the pillow, where my knees and hip bone meet the mattress. It is a memory foam, cushy comfy new mattress, but some nights the pain makes it feel like a concrete slab.

At night, I feel my skeleton more than my skin, but my skin- oh how it burns. The backs of my legs, my buttocks, wrapping around my knees, up towards the center of my back and down to the bottoms of my feet in an all over body neuropathy. It burns with that sense that I stayed out in the sun too long but deeper, the way it does when you exercise for the first time after years in the easy chair. My ankle tingles and that crawling electrical-gone-haywire sensation climbs up my limbs, across my shoulders and becomes a full on numb sensation on one side of my face, especially when I hit the proverbial wall. The one where I know I have pushed myself too much that day. And to make it especially challenging, the wall moves from day to day. Some days I shower and get dressed and decide to dry my hair then there it is, I am done for the day and I have to lay back down. Like today.


The exhaustion never ends- it is debilitating and muscular. The closest description to accurate I've read is having the worst flu and the worst hangover of your life all rolled into one. It is a vicious cycle when laying down is the remedy and the trigger. When I am up and moving through my day, the intensity of the bone pain and burning skin give way to muscle spasms and joint pain, which is migratory- but almost always starts with the bottom of my heels in my feet. I get out of bed, or out of my car, or up from my work table and feel like someone took a hammer to them- right on the bottom of my heel bone. I hobble and limp until it stretches out and I either grow numb to it, or it releases enough to function. If I stay on my feet it will decrease, but sooner or later it begins in my knees and occasionally that one special place in my hip, as it lets me know I was moving a little too fast and a little too confidently.  

The tingling also roams - to my hands, my feet, my knees, either one side or the other. And then throughout the day come strange sensations that I can only describe as internal waves of unwell. I'm working in the studio, or talking to a friend, or walking through the grocery store and it rolls up from the floor and rises to my head with a weird feeling similar to when you step off an elevator, but coming from my insides. It happens fast and I am hit with an overall feeling of pre-nausea, that moment just before you know you're going to throw up, but I never do. It lingers anywhere from several minutes to several hours with little dizzy spells and lightheaded sensations to make it extra special.


Depression and anxiety are also symptoms. It is hard to sort out when it comes because of the pain or as a companion to it, but it doesn't really matter. It is there when I have days with nights like these. And this week has been filled with days with nights like these. It starts with an increase in my detox supplements- a necessary step if I ever hope to get well enough to try to treat the Lyme directly. Each time I increase the dose, these symptoms, many of which have already been my reality for years, flare up to this near unbearable array.

The depression doubles down and whispers it will never get better.

It will never get better.

It will never get better.

There is no relief in sight. It will never get better.

Particularly dark thoughts come when each painful pulse is accompanied by this whispering thread. 

It isn't a mood. It is a symptom that is as real and powerful as the physical pain itself. 


Hours are spent each night going through the same routine. Toss and turn trying to get comfortable, a few hours of light sleep before waking in unbearable pain. Then maybe if I try the lavender oil, or an extra dose of the magnesium, I'll get enough relief to fall asleep, but it usually doesn't work. My mind ticks through the list: Maybe I should get up and take a bath? A hot shower? Maybe if I wrap the ice pack around my neck and put the heating pad on my back? My heating pad is my constant bedtime companion. But each of these remedies bring only a moment of relief before the change in my body temperature causes a reaction similar to a menopausal hot flash accompanied by that rolling elevator of nausea rising and I am tearing the covers off and nearly crawling out of my skin while the room spins. 


When daylight finally comes it takes a while to drag myself out of bed. 

My daytime symptoms, along with the pain and fatigue, include hyper sensitivity to noise and light especially in the early hours. Things as benign as tap water or lipstick cause a blistering swollen rash inside my mouth - my body's response to the toxic load of going undiagnosed and untreated for so long. 

Hyper sensitivity to food and increasing allergies is also a common symptom of Lyme. 

My neck stiffens and has knots along each side, as it clicks and sounds as if bone is grinding on bone. A symptom that I was shocked to find out had anything to do with this illness, but each increase in my detox regimen brings a little more mobility, one tiny glimmer of hope that I am on the right track. 


My hands tremor, my insides often feel like I OD'd on caffeine. 

I can feel my brain shaking. 

My heart rate speeds and slows and slams and beats out of my chest. I haven't had acne this bad since I was a teenager. 

Cognitively, memory problems present themselves by way of forgetting my words, not being able to match names with faces, and getting lost on the way to the same grocery store on the same route I've taken a million times before. I look up and get that sense that I am lost and nothing around me looks familiar and I grow anxious as I drive looking for anything, anything that will spark my recognition. Thank God for cellphones with GPS. 


I could go on and on with this, but I am fairly certain you may not have stuck with me to read this far. I mean, come on, it's depressing! 

Many of these symptoms have plagued me for years, but now they are flaring to the nth degree and coming all at once. I don't know how long I will have to go through this, or if it will ever get better. I have the double whammy of finding that my body does not detox the Lyme or the mold or other toxins on its own, so treatment is going to be long and slow and painful. Someday I may share what happens when I take anything that kills the Lyme, but this is enough info for your reading pleasure right now. 


You might feel worse after reading all of this, and I am sorry for that, but somehow it made me feel better to write it all down. 

To purge just a little bit, the loneliness of the experience. The harrowing pain of it all. To know that someone else can read this and maybe get a tiny glimpse of understanding. I don't really look sick – unless you've noticed the bruises or the acne or the dark circles under my eyes. 

Or caught me with my head on the steering wheel as I give in to the knowledge that I am not going anywhere today.

It is hard. It is very much out of my control. And there is very little I can do about it. 

I am not too stubborn or proud. I don't want to be doing this on my own, but the support of a companion is not there. That's not an indictment, but it is a fact that I cannot change. So I either go through the sickness of detoxing on my own, or I go through the sickness of not detoxing- this illness is not going away.

Either I make the best of each day and try to find my light, or I don't. 

It is up to me and it isn't.

I am alone and yet I am surrounded and filled with the presence of God.

Each day shifts and each day stays the same and I move forward and release the toxic load. One pill, one symptom, one memory, one emotion, one day at a time. 

I don't tell you all of this to wallow in it. I had a completely different post in mind to write- something witty and uplifting and encouraging to be sure. But this is where I am today, and I know it is hard to read or hear or believe.

It can be tempting to look away in the face of other people's pain. We only have so much compassion to go around before we have to shut down. Some of us do it more quickly then others. But pain, in all forms, is universal, and we don't have to suffer it alone. 

I have been on the verge of giving up, even though I don't know what that looks like. But then I remember that I am really not alone. I have all of you. And I have faith – no, it isn't that I have faith, rather I know that faith has me. 

And it isn't that I have God, but I know that in spite of the whispering lies of the darkness, that God has me.

Thank God He has me.

Thank God He has me.

Thank you God that you have me. 



And I still have art. That's what I am celebrating today.


That I can still step into the studio on good days, and even most of the bad, and release all of it by way of these wordlessprayersThese scraps and these bits, and this pain, and all of the darkness and the light. It all comes together with a bit of paste and a song or two. 

My offering sent up to the heavens and returned in the form of tiny utterings of joy