Some parts of the process are exciting and quick- like the pour. But some are slower, more meticulous and exacting. This week was one of those times. I spent several hours two days in a row fine-tuning some areas of the painting, adjusting color, eliminating details I didn't like, accentuating those I did. Once I got it to the point that felt right- I the continued on with the next step- the grasses.
It was important to Shirley that the grasses retain their original “straw” color. I was going to use actual grasses- but during the process of attaching them, their color can become obscured, (or scorched by the torch!). So based on feedback from Shirley on earlier pieces, I opted instead to silkscreen them on.
I still wanted to use some actual botanicals in the piece, so I chose leaves in their color scheme, some dollar plants, and Queen Anne’s lace to incorporate. Once again- I am very slow and deliberate about placement. Composition – or the arrangement/balance of a piece- is very, very important to me. I spent a good chunk of an afternoon going through my collection of pressed botanicals to find a good range of size and shape, and then laid them on in various configurations. When I finally thought that I had a good arrangement- I left. ! Yes, I wanted to wait and see if I felt the same way the next day, looking at it with fresh eyes. The next morning- I made some small adjustments, but went with the plan. Now to attach in the exact configuration I’d decided on!
I have done this process with with the encaustic wax on a smaller scale, but the larger scale here caused a couple of difficulties. You must heat up the surface before applying wax, and to do so requires the use of a heat gun or blowtorch- both of which will blow all of my fragile and very light arrangements right off the panel! I take a picture with my ipad so I can refer back to it- but then I weighted down the ones not being worked on to keep them in place while I heated and applied hot wax to attach the leaves or pods or flowers. It took all afternoon to attach them- but they are exactly where I wanted them :)
In the home stretch now- I hope! I think I am clear about the next step-
but want to take a break and come back and look and see…
Here it is in its present state hanging on a small piece of studio wall painted in Shirley and Rogers colors....