This weeks posts are from Shary Bartlett! This is the fifth week in our collaborative exhibit share; in case you have missed  the previous I encourage you to take a look! Begin with Michelle Belto, follow on to Amanda JolleyCrystal Neubauer and Erin Keane. Enjoy!


I’ve read about the long history artists who set up creative challenges to refine their art practices: limit their colour palette to only blue; hold the brush in their non-dominant hand to complete a series of works; choose a new medium or material and explore its many permutations and possibilities until these are exhausted.   The challenge has never appealed to me. Why not pursue the ideas I already have? Why set up limitations?

sh1Picasso’s Blue Period lasted from 1901-1904!

So, at the end of Encausticamp 2014, when our 2015 team of seven Encausticamp instructors brainstorms about a group show, the challenge of Seven Degrees of Separation/Connection strikes me as daunting: creating a series of seven 7 x 21 inch panels, choosing seven colours from a palette of Glidden paint chips, finding inspiration in the significance of the number seven…

But I’m excited and honoured to be creating a group work with EC’s six other gifted instructors, and moved by the idea of funding seven worthy artistic causes with the funds raised.


Returning home after Encausticamp 2014, seven gorgeous custom-made panels donated by Ampersand arrive on my doorstep. I’m in awe. I adore Encausticbords, saving them for use on only rare occasions — like expensive perfume. How can I mark these perfect panels? I stare at the seven brightly coloured paint chips I’ve blithely chosen with the EC instructors. Frozen in fear.


Unable to begin marking the bords, I carefully tape their edges and backs to protect them from the messy encaustic work to come. I busy myself instead, researching the number seven, reading virtual tomes on the mathematical, religious, spiritual, physical, colour and myriad associations with this significant number. Fascinating.

But nothing strikes me as artistically inspiring. I drop the search for a month, then pick it up again, hoping a new series of searches on the internet might unearth new revelations. Nothing. Discouraged, I resume the search a month later.


Bingo! An entry mercifully appears on the fluorescent blue screen which strikes me to the bone, and I begin to dream, remember and reflect.