Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hot Time in Cool Mass

The 4th Annual Encaustic Conference heated up Montserrat College in Beverly, Massachusetts, from June 11-13, 2010, and beyond. It was a jam-packed four days of panels, lectures, demonstrations, and for me, one day of art making in Miles Conrad's class, Off the Wall: Encaustic in Three Dimensions. Here  you can find numerous accounts of the goings-on. The conference was informative, empowering, and exciting. On top of that, it was FUN. Kudos go to Joanne Mattera for organizing and directing the conference and to Montserrat College for implementing and supporting the events. It was outstanding!

Best Foot Forward

One of the features of the conference was a presentation area for each participant who wanted to display one of their works. The organizers carefully delineated a one foot square section of wall for each conferee.

This is my work, The Day the Line Broke, which I completed before the flood in Nashville in May. How did I know that Nashville would be flooded?

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Hot Wax, Cool Wax

Following the conference I took a workshop with Miles Conrad on Encaustic in Three Dimensions. What fun!! We dipped all sorts of objects, like wire, a paper towel, muslin, corrugated cardboard, foam strips, and seed pods into a container of hot wax. Our objective was to fashion orbs out of those unlikely materials. These are (clockwise) baling wire, monofilament with cable ties, and a strip of corrugated cardboard.

The entire class curated this grouping.

Our final assignment was to choose more than 2 of our "creations," combine and attach them to our substrate panel, and pour hot wax onto the panel, which had been taped to provide a containing "fence."

Here's my "creation":

Seed pods, twine, and jute combine with the monofilament line and corrugated cardboard strip on a field of wax.

And our final exhibition.

That's Miles!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Blue Like the Depths of the Unknown

I wrote three posts for this blog back in April and May. But a funny thing happened on the way to becoming “live”, life got in the way. In mid-May I decided that I needed a good beginning post. The other posts that I had drafted are here, too, in the Archive.  “Isn’t that just like an artist,” a friend commented.

Over May 1st and 2nd, Nashville received 15” of rain which flooded our city. If you ever thought about building an ark, this would have been a real test of its worthiness. The rain just kept coming. Places flooded. Places that never flood. It was an astonishing amount of rain, and the televised coverage of what was happening painted a picture of misery all over our city. Streets became rivers. Homes filled with water up to their ceilings. Basements soaked up what the saturated ground could not contain. People waded in water up to their chest. Soon, boats rescued trapped citizens. Cars washed away. People died. It was a shocking sight.
Here is a link to a YouTube video of the flooding:

During the flooding, my church had a river running through it. On Sunday May 9th as I was sitting in my pew, I surveyed the aftermath of one week of professional cleanup. There were no prayer books or hymnals, no cushions, no baseboards, nor drywall from 2 feet down. But there were a gracious plenty parishioners who partook in the communion of bread and wine and mourning for two beloved parishioners who died in the flood. They were on their way to services.

Mixed Media on Canvas on Panel          24" x 24"

As the rector was preaching, I was struck by his words and realized that the painting that I finished yesterday was influenced by the floodwaters. Earlier in the week, the upper part of the painting had been mostly fleshed out with overlapping pieces of encaustic monoprints printed on Asian papers. But the lower part (textured with hydrocal) was quite a challenge to integrate. After many starts and a variety of colors, I settled on Prussian blue. The darkness and deepness of the blue set the tone for the finished painting. Blue like a body of water. Blue like the somber stillness of nightfall. Blue like a saturnine mood. Blue like the depths of the unknown.

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