Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Sassy" from the Mega Afro Puff series

I've got this insane love of Afros and decided I wanted to do a series dedicated to ladies sporting the biggest and fiercest afros.

The first in the Series is called Sassy.


This is a textured acrylic knife painting, done with a tiny painting knife. The background is made with plaster mixed with sand and acrylic paint.

A few weeks later, I got curious to see if I could duplicate this painting in wax.
I did a better job at controlling the wax flow than I did in Afro Soul.

"Sassy" in wax

Friday, August 7, 2009

If the shoe fits, buy it....

Oh for the love of shoes.

Those that know me, are aware that I am very passionate about some things...my art and shoes! Combine the two and I am in heaven.

My latest ecucastic work is borne from my love of shoes. Of course this will become a series. I am toying with the idea of putting some of my favorite shoe quotes on these. Haven't decided yet, however.

"If the shoe fits, buy it in every color."
"New shoes cure the blues."
"Life is short, by the shoes"
"A girl can't have too many pairs."
"Do you have a purse to go with these."
"So many shoes, so little time."
"Will work for shoes."

Encaustic on 4x6 wood panel

Monday, August 3, 2009

Another set of handmade panels finished...whew

I have finally completed another set of handmade cradle boards done. They are smaller than the last one I did. These are 4x6, 4x8 and 4x12 in size. They are all painted with Golden's Absorbent Ground and ready for me to do some new encaustic pieces.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Taking encaustics to a new level

After about 4 months of playing around and learning the art of encaustics, I decided I wanted to make an attempt at more of a representational piece instead of a totally abstract one.

Out of that desire came "Afro Soul". I loved this whole creative process. It was a learning event for me.

Now there are some obvious flaws that jump right out on this picture. But again,that was part of the learning process. I am still learning to control how much my wax moves when fusing. And I double my frustrations when doing incision work. But never fear, I will learn the ends and out and you will see more encaustic creations along this line from me.

Also I was recording along with running my web cam. I had 30+ folks tuned in asking questions. It was fun putting on that learning demo for everyone.
Part I

Part II

Monday, July 27, 2009

The danger of toxic fumes from improperly heated wax.

Back in April or May, I decided to go outside on the patio and make my medium. In the process, I forgot to put down a piece of plywood to protect the patio from wax spills. (It's that gravel kind and difficult to clean wax from between the gravel.) In the process, a bee flew at me and I bumped the container and spilled at least 8 oz of wax.

Even though it was quite warm out, it still became solid so I had to get my heat gun to clean it up. Now here is where I was not too smart. I didn't have on a respirator mask and I was bent right over the wax melting (on a high setting) and wiping. I didn't work straight, I took breaks. But about 20 minutes in, I got this feeling like someone was standing on my chest and I could not breath. It dawned on me that I was there breathing in all these fumes! I went out farther into the yard to get some fresh air. It helped but I was still having some problems breathing.

I went to the emergency room and after two rounds of breathing treatments I can't believe I was so careless. I had to go have follow-up chest x-rays later that week and then again two weeks later.

I can't believe I was so careless. I just wanted to share this with everyone as a reminder to be very careful. I let my guard down with ventilation because I was outside. So everyone, please, please, please be careful.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sun and Moon Electric Battle

Mixed media on canvas (30x30in)

I love the energy of this piece. Of course starting out I had no idea where I was going. Just started by smacking paste on the canvas and creating texture with pallet knives, combs, fingers and a stick.

I was asked how I decided on the colors. Well here is my highly refined method of selecting colors. I have several boxes of cut up paint chips. One in muted colors, one in bright colors and with everything mixed together. I close my eyes, reach into the box and grab a handful. I then shake my hand until some fall out. Whatever is left is my color pallet. No deep thought or pondering for me. I just take what I get and make it work somehow.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Implosion

I started this painting with the intention of it being called explosion. However, I got carried away with the eggshells in the center and it looked more like they were being pulled in as opposed to forced out.

I was hesitant to add color. For some reason the dark, funky, craziness appealed to me.

However, I do like the muted colors in the final piece.
Mixed Media on 30x30 canvas

Close up of the eggshells and spackle texture.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Random thought of the day....

I wish I had a color chart of every color available in every brand of paint, that would fold up into a nice compact 2x2x2 square that I could keep in my purse.

...hey I didn't say the thought would be practical.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The meltdown

Riddle me this....what happens when you leave an encaustic piece in a car in 70 degree heat in direct sunlight? Yup, you guessed...meltdown city.

Remember the Bursting Sunset piece:

Well after my neglect it is now this:

But before anyone panics and wants to have memorial for the lost piece....I like this version better. To me it mimics the nature of volcanoes in the Hawaiian Islands. The lava destroys the land, however as soon as the magma cools, new landscapes are formed. God is the original artist. What HE destroys, HE can recreate in a more awesome and impressive form. Coincidently, this piece was destroyed and reborn on Easter Sunday...it was a reminder that in death and destruction, there is a rebirth. The symbolism was not lost on me and is a reminder of my faith in HIM.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Random Thoughts...ok fine...a rant.

Some days, I question the validity of calling myself an “artist”. I still struggle with the definition of this term. Is there one definition or is the definition less solid, almost fluid in nature, morphing to meet the individual it is applied to?

Now I don't question my talent or the quality of the pieces I create. I question how I fit by definition in the art world...and also whether I want to or not.

This started churning around in my head when I attended an opening last week...and what I encountered was a room full of snobs...well with the exception of the 5 of us outcasts that banded together, looking for an escape of this pedigreed group.

Why do we consider ourselves to be outcasts? None of us had a formal "art education". My only "so called" formal education were the art classes I had in high school. However, that has never stopped me from learning, researching and experimenting. Nor does it stop me from churning out works of art to rival those with "formal" art educations. Once the "degreed" attendees learned that we didn't have that formal training, have not been featured in "such and such" gallery, been published...or yada, yada, yada we were pretty much ignored. So as such, we a group of strangers banded together and enjoyed the showing.

Now, I am not taking anything away from those that have pursued and completed art and advanced art degrees. I admire that they had the will to make it through the art appreciation, art survey, art history, etc classes. I am more of a jump in hands on person. Looking at slides and listening to lecturers just won't hold my attention for long. As a matter of fact, I nearly went mad with the lecture, listening classes required for my BS in Computer Science. That being said, there are people in the IT world with not degree whatsoever, no college courses or advanced education that I would trade my degree in a heartbeat to have the knowledge that they have. I'm serious as a heart attack about that.

I am a self-taught artist...and a proud one at that. Well...I guess that answers my question. I am an artist. Maybe not what this group would define as one...but instead one of my own definition.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Burn Baby Burn!

Ha....I'm getting bolder and bolder. It wasn't enough for me to just get back into melting wax, not to mention the blow torch.

My latest caper...burning shellac. Yep, that same shellac that used as a finish for wood floors, furniture and the like. Yep the same shellac that says, usually in bold letters, "FLAMMABLE!" Yep that same shellac, I am intentionally setting on fire.

I love texture and random patterns, so I couldn't help but to fall in love with this process. I used some of my "cough cough" not so visually appealing 1st encaustic paintings to test this process on. Wow...who knew a little fire could make something so ugly so beautiful.

I don't have pics of the originals...again, some ugliness should never be recorded, but here is one of the pieces after the shellac burn has been done.

This was the 1st burn that was done. I'ts ok, but I decided to experiment and add another layer in different colors.

After the second layer was done. Marvelous, it I do say so myself.

I've also made my Youtube debut with a quick shellac burn demo.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Getting bolder....Wax and a blow torch...yikes!

Of course, I just can't play it safe and just use the heat gun in my encaustic paintings. Again, I'm putting the blame on youtube. I came across the video of a marvelous artist Shawna Moore and her use of the blow torch.

Her work is breathtaking isn't it.

Laura Moriaty is another wonder artist who uses the encaustic medium and a blow torch to create sculptural pieces. Her work is also breathtaking.

Suddenly I'm feeling all brave and borrowed a blow torch. However, I put the torch out several times....flash-backs to that wax fire kept making me chicken out.

Finally I got brave, lit the torch and actually touched the flame to the wax. After experimenting for a while, learning how to control the flame and the movement of the wax, I wanted to try an actually art piece.
My first attempt with the torch was pretty good. But I still have to work on controlling the amount of time I spend on the wax with the torch.

A friend of mine has titled this "Angels and Flowers"

Oh....here's another reason why I love wax art....scrap wax. I'm from the polymer clay world and you never throw away scrap clay. You can use it as fillers, but that's a waste to me, scarp clay makes the most wonderful patterns itself. I salvage the left over wax from my work surface, tools, scraped sides of the pieces I'm working on and from scraping back an layered encaustic surface to reveal the colors underneath.

This piece, I call the Scrap Yard. The center was created with wax bits fused with the blow torch. The marbled areas were created by layering different colors of wax and scraping them back.

The Scrap Yard

I am very proud of this piece.

But oh-uh I have learned about a new technique involving setting shellac on fire...{gulp}. Better make sure the fire extinguisher works. More to come

And I fall deeper and deeper in love with hot wax

After spending time over a hot stove making up my encaustic medium, I was ready to jump in and begin making encaustic paint (pigmented encaustic medium).

In researching, I found that some things a no-no for encaustic painting. Acrylics and other water-based medium will cause the medium to remain soft. As will certain oils. so fare I have experimented with oil paints (however they must be leeched of their oils), oil pastels, oil bars or stick and powdered pigments.

My first experiment was with leeched oil paints.

On gesso board (won't be using in the future since acrylic gesso is not a good ground for encaustics

However on my first try, I did not leech the paints long enough and ended up with somewhat soft medium. Plus the first try left a lot to be desired.

My next try was with oil pastels. I was much more satisfied with the hardness of the medium.

On gesso board (won't be using in the future since acrylic gesso is not a good ground for encaustics

I added mica powders to the surface to for the shine. However I hit it with the heat gun too long and it the wax moved too much and marbled. It's still nice, but I've got to learn more control of the heat gun.

On gesso board (won't be using in the future since acrylic gesso is not a good ground for encaustics)

I decided that I wanted some richer deeper colors, so I picked up some better quality oil pastels. The difference is very apparent.

On whiteboard panel

This is probably my favorite so far. I used more control in brushing the wax on and had better control with the heat gun.

On whiteboard panel

The Heat is On!

Believe it or not, I've started playing with hot wax again. Now, now get your mind out of the gutter...not that kind of play.

Six years ago, I made my 1st candle and fell in love with hot wax. Six and half years ago, I made made last one and fell out of love with hot wax. I don't know if you know this little secret or not....but molten wax is flammable when it comes in contact with a heat source...in this case the electric burner on the stove. I was in the process of making a huge molded candle and want to make somewhat vertical layers instead of horizontal so I had it propped on something so that it was practically laying on it's side...not smart I know. Well I'd gotten the next to the last layer poured when the candle slipped. And then all hell broke out. Whoosh! In a matter of seconds I had a fire blazing right there on the burner. 15 minutes later I had the fire out, and was sitting on the couch doing shots of tequila to calm my nerves. No serious damage done, just a hell of a clean up.

Once again the world wide web as lured me back into the world of molten wax. Encaustic Painting...{Gasp}...I was in love, what beautiful art wax creates.

Encaustics Painting is not a new art...it's some 2000 plus years old. This Terracotta column-krate circa 360–350 B.C. is amongst one of the oldest pieces of encaustic art still around.

The more I researched the more intrigued I became...but not enough to even think about melting wax again. Youtube was my down-fall. It was ok reading about and looking at pictures of wax art, however, the first video I saw had me hooked. Next thing you know, I'm dragging out all my old candle making supplies. Not crazy about the process of making the encaustic medium, but I'm too cheap to pay the high cost of commercially made medium. Whoopie no fires set.

Welcome to my Art Corner

I have jumped back into the more artistic side of creating lately. Any medium is game....I've even taken up encaustics....gasp....after that wax fire I had making candles a few years ago, who would have ever guess I'd be dabbling in the hot wax again.

I've also started visiting galleries and doing art crawls again. So you may also find art done by others featured here. Why did I ever let myself get so far away from the art world? Note to self....stop straying so far away from home.

The House of Vanet...what does that mean?
I was in Starbucks getting my daily expensive fix. The barista was trying to read the name on the cup of the customer before me. He thought it said Vanet (Va-nay) and was like that's cool. I was in agreement. Turns out the name was actually Janet. But Vanet stuck with me. Most of you already know my muse Shelia....yeah, split personality and all that. Well...I think Shelia is actually two people herself...so she's got a Sybil complex....don't worry, she "mostly" harmless. Shelia, I think is more of the crafter, but this other entity needs a name...and Vanet sounds all French and artsy like. So now Shelia's muse now has a name...Vanet.

As far as I can tell there is no such French word and the English word is an acronym for Vehicular Ad-Hoc Network, which is ironic because Dez (the other me) is all about technology...funny how that works.

Anyhow, sit back, grab a cup of your favorite Joe (or tea) if you prefer and join Vanet in her travels as she rediscovers the artworld I have been away from for far too long.