This is a guest post by Michelle Belto; the first in a seven week series. Each week one of the seven EncaustiCamp instructors will share their story, process and progress in our collaborative exhibit for EncaustiCamp 2015.
Michelle does a fantastic job of helping to introduce the overarching goal in this collaborative exhibit process~
Buffalo Spirit by LuAnn Ostergaard Inch by Inch by Du Chau
To fit one of my window-less canvases I went back to Pinterest to find more inspirational steals. I selected what I thought was a painting by Lu Ann Ostergaard. I loved the way the “paint” in her work lay on the dark canvas and I wondered if I could use that element, but reverse the process having the wax flow downward, leaving some of the canvas a contrasting white.
I also selected what I thought was a paper work by Du Chau titled “Inch by Inch.” I was intrigued with the idea of perhaps using the “ledge” I had created on my paper canvas as a shelf from which to add a kinetic element to my work.
One thing I like in the process of “stealing” is its ability to lead me to new artists and media. I was surprised to learn that Lu Ann’s work is actually digital photography and that we share a kinship in visual inspiration. I, too, am drawn to distressed surfaces—old fences, decaying walls, rusted metals. While my photos are references only, she enlarges her photo collages of naturally occurring patterns and textures into fine art. I swear I thought she was a painter!
Du Chau is actually a pathology technical coordinator at Methodist Dallas Medical Center by day and an award winning ceramist in his off hours. After discovering that simple fact, I knew why the many attempts to create a similar kinetic element in paper had not been working. He was using the weight of fired clay attached to musical instrument wires! I didn’t have enough weight with the paper nor enough flexibility with waxed threads. Luckily I had moved on by several days from these fruitless experiments when I learned about his medium of choice.
The color I chose from my paint chip stash was a red/purple that was close to one of my favorite R&F Pigment sticks, Quinacridone Magenta. I thought that it would work well with the Indigo that I had planned to use as the dark element.
The painting actually came pretty easy and I was able to achieve a lovely and complex surface. I also enjoyed moving away from my usual palette and into such rich reds and blues. That’s when I came up to a brick wall….
The ledge needed something…. I played around with several ideas, including some generally awful ones! It wasn’t until I set the finished first piece and the almost finished second piece side by side, that I got an inkling as to what that would be. If this were to be a series, I needed common elements, so what I needed to add was a paper “veil” or “scroll” and the element of writing.
This photo was an experiment with getting to a sense of “language” from burning tissue quality paper. It seemed to fit, so I created the final element and #2 was down.
To see how the third painting in this series transformed these two paintings into a series with meaning and direction, read the next blog!