Monday, March 23, 2009

Encaustic Painting & Mixed Media

I took an Encaustic Painting and Mixed Media workshop taught by Vincent Baldassano at the National Academy School of Art this past weekend. Here are the pieces I made in the order I made them, top to bottom. The first uses a photocopy of a photo of my mother in California. She had gone to be with my father who was stationed there with the Navy in WWII. I was conceived there and she came home to Brooklyn to give birth to me. The next one uses a photocopy of a photo I took in Mykonos, Greece in 1971. The photocopy was transferred to the paper-topped wood with soft gloss gel. I used egg shells to evoke the streets which are slate mosaics white washed around each irregular tile. The third was an experiment in layering the wax and then scraping back. The fourth is a last minute try at the end of the class to try a different color palette and incorporate only natural objects. It still needs work to be a finished piece.

It's a good thing I am a collector and can't throw anything away. I actually go out with a plastic bag to collect stuff and just in case I find something that might have some art use in the future. I also can never just throw out a wilted flower bouquet without deconstructing the blossoms and stems for drying and later use.

I really loved working with the encaustic. It has an immediacy that I find compelling.
I'm trying to cultivate more spontaneity and less precise planning which I find hangs me up and stops me from proceeding. I also found the odor of the wax very pleasant.

When the wax has thoroughly dried, you polish it with a soft cotton cloth which brings up the intensity of the colors and the piece just glows. Another lovely property of encaustic is that it will last for eons (see the funerary portraits of Fayum) but can also be re-worked forever. I love it that I can re-work the piece at some future time if I wish. I am always undoing and re-doing things I have made. I haven't figured out quite why I do this, but I do all the time.

So... Can you guess what the next art supplies purchase will be?

A photo of the progress of my piece for the Disintegration Collaboration along with an updated photo of the budding bush in the park is soon to follow.


  1. I love your paintings especially the last one.

  2. I see some eyes peering through the third painting.


  3. Judith, I found you through Google Alerts on encaustics. Do keep in touch!

  4. Judy,Depending on how I tilt my head, I can see 3 pairs of eyes, each different. Cute.I really like the colors of the last picture, the brown branches to the left and the beautiful pastels to the right also hint at spring. I like the overall creamy look to it.

  5. Really cool stuff. Frankly, I enjoy your first work the most.