I first met Trish in 2012 at an International Encaustic Artists’ conference. I knew her books, of course, and was excited to meet her in person and see what a ball of encaustic energy she is! Michelle Belto, whom I also met through the IEA, suggested I might be a good fit for Encausticamp 2013, and when Trish invited me to teach, I was thrilled.
Encausticamp surpassed my expectations: a full week of wax with warm, enthusiastic artists who all believe, like me, that beeswax is the most beautiful medium in the world! I woke up each morning to delicious food, gazed upon sunny Puget Sound just outside the windows of Dumas Bay and laughed and chatted amongst people I felt I’d been friends with for a lifetime. And the teachers! How could I be so lucky to teach alongside such a talented team of Trish, Michelle Belto, Judy Wise, Crystal Neubauer, and Sue Stover? I kept pinching myself and am delighted to be returning again for my third year at Encausticamp with a new team that includes Erin Keane and Amanda Jolley and an exciting new vision of Track 1 for those looking for instruction in encaustic technique and Track 2 for those looking to go deeper to into content, personal vision and style.
Having instructed fabric sculpture techniques the previous two years at Encausticamp, Trish suggested I try something new for 2015. What might that be? The possibilities were endless since wax marries majestically with so many art forms. As a mixed media artist, I’ve tried just about everything, so this invitation got my creative juices flowing. Inspired by the creations of my Track 1 team of Amanda and Erin, I started to experiment with hand-altered photographs…what if I bathed these in encaustic wax? Pure delight was the result!
Images, I discovered, can be dreamily obscured by milky wax; colours enhanced by rich oils, chalky pastels and thick encaustic paints, such that the picture floats enchantingly between painting and photograph. I love the meditative process of sanding and mark-making on photographs. I read an article recently on colouring: how it accesses both the analytical and creative halves of the brain and has a relaxing effect on the amygdala – the emotional center. That’s how I experience hand-altering photos – so much more fulfilling than punching a keyboard and digital alteration!
The computer, I realized suddenly, is where I’ve been storing decades of photos – hastily downloaded from my phone and camera, never looked at again and forgotten. I rediscovered photographs from travels, nature, and the faces of people I love, transported back to the moment I took the photo and moved, again, by the beauty that first called me to snap the shutter.
These past six months have been full of encaustic imagination and possibility: pouring velvety smooth wax over hand-altered photos, carving and adding texture with coloured waxes, enhancing impressionistic tones with oil and pastel and detailing with the hot stylus.
I can’t wait to share what I’ve discovered and see what my fellow Encausticampers create this summer! See you there!