January 07, 2007

Hot Wax, Cooling Enthusiasm

2000 - Span 5 - 18x18

Maybe now is not the time to try to pick up encaustics again. Not sure the well hasn't run dry in that dept. I cleared a big table space, located all my plug-in equipment and heated up the wax paint pots... all set to go. Smeared up a big mess, scraped it off a few times, made more mess, considered some new techniques but basically just muddled around trying to remember how I used to do it. No, if I get back into this medium, it will have to be with new thoughts, a fresh start from all 'round. It will have to wait.

I had a good thing going a few years back in NOLA. A new studio was built over the double garage, counter tables and a fan to draw out the fumes, it all clicked well and I put together a pretty good series over several years. (There's a link to an info page with pics of my NOLA studio setup.) Then we moved and my studio was in limbo while the basement was finished and studio space was alloted... and I let the wax part slide. A couple of other attempts to fire up the enthusiasm haven't been successful, maybe I'm just not hungry enough for it. A shame... I was really into it and I liked what I was turning out.

So much encaustic work looks like icing on a cake or melted candle wax... not my idea of a good time at all. I was most influenced by the Chicago encaustic artist Mark Perlman - scroll all the way down to the white pieces... he does tend to get a bit aggressive but I love the technique. He shows at a gallery in Atlanta so I was able to covet and lust over them frequently... I even TOUCHED when no one was looking! Yes I did! I figure he must be pretty fit to be working on such large panels with so much going on in them... my hands won't even let me shave the surface like I used to.

That was the big advantage of encaustics... shaving down to the color(s) beneath. Gouging lines and texture, creating a look of accumulation and distress. That's what I seek with my canvas paintings so I naturally went for the same effect with the added ability to carve into the surface.Oh well... I'll leave the gear out for a few days and maybe something will fire up... the wax sure did smell good while it was perking...


Johnnie Scoutten said...

Yeah, but I loved 'em.

Steven LaRose said...

I was this close to buying all the gear. I wanted to get that transluscent-bar-of-soap feel. I often flip through Joanne Mattera's book. (Have visited her blog with Chris Ashley "Two Artists Talking?" All the toxic fumes scared me away. At least in the studio I have now, under the house. I ended up just buying hand made bars of soap from the co-op.

Anxious to see what starts perking out of you this year.

Annie B said...

Hi KJ,
I don't know much about encaustics, but these two posts are very informative. Anything with wax and a crock pot sounds really fun. Thanks for the link to Mark Perlman. Some of his work looks like marks I've been dreaming of making in woodblock. Carving wood/carving wax. Maybe not so different.
Thanks for stopping by my blog.

KJ said...

Thanks Annie... been following your woodblock adventures for a while now... love what you're doing with maps of troubled areas. Very strong and moving.