Thursday, February 18, 2016

A new Direction-Little Houses

So Valentine's Day is over, And I've gotten all those magentas, fuchsias, pinks and purples out of my system for now. Moving on.  Starting something new! My favorite thing…

Whenever I begin something new, I allow myself some "Couch time" to regroup, refocus. 


 I go back and look at my sketchbooks, and all the plans that I've made for future pieces (always more plans than time to make them), images I've collected, and the things that have been floating through my head. I put them all in front of me and settle into my cozy spot next to Bear on the couch with my sketchbook, pastels, art books, and perhaps some wine and chocolate:) While I was making Valentines blocks for the last couple weeks, I'm kept having this urge to cut the rectangles into house shapes. I look back in my sketchbook, and this” House urge" has been around for over a year maybe two. Time to do something about it. So quickest path to getting rolling was by using some panels I had and chopping off their tops at various angles to create a couple little houses.

I haven't done encaustic since before Christmas, and my torch was calling me! So thought these should be encaustic.  However I wanted to incorporate a couple different materials that I'm not sure would work well with wax. And although I love sculpture, and have always worked my pieces on all sides not just the front as a lot of painters do, this time I just wrapped the encaustic around the two sides, leaving top and bottom unfinished. So I taped them off and jumped into priming a couple of them, not sure exactly where they were going to go, but I had some ideas. 

The first one I tackled was very symmetrical roofline that I worked in a subtle blue-sky background but then faded down to a yellow/ochre -the color of Prairie grass. Dug through my image file for some birds in flight, played around scale and positioning, auditioned them with a piece of transparency, made a copy and transferred them on. This is one of the aspects that I love about encaustic!! If I wanted to do a transfer in acrylic, it would require a special paper, both layers to be coated with at least three layers of acrylic, and basically taking an hour and a half or so before I get to see the image I want on the surface. Immediate gratification! Amen! Or pretty close to it.

Any rate next up was to add some prairie grasses. This is where I love encaustic’s flexibility as well. This process in an acrylic painting could take days to a week, easily. With encaustic I just make sure I have a warm soft layer of encaustic medium, press this grass into the surface. Let cool, trim any stragglers, and cover with another layer of medium, fusing gently so as not to ignite grass on fire:-) 

Of course I had to address the sides too, so repeated the same sequence for the sides.

Now for the top/roof. I used the tacking iron to carefully peel off the painters tape I used to mask it, and wasn't sure how I was going to finish the roof.  Once I had it off, I knew I wanted to keep it rather minimal like a prairie sky. 

So I went into the back room, and dug around my wood piles and collections of bark and twigs to see if I could find a good fit. I came upon two pieces of a gorgeous sandy colored wood, I think I pulled them out of someone's fire kindling bin, but they are gorgeous, match the prairie grasses perfectly, and require no additional treatment. Played around with getting the miter for the top just right, then glued just the two parts of the roof together so that seam was secure. 

Let it dry overnight, then came back the next day to attach to the house. Used my handy dandy sandbags as usual to make sure it had good contact. 

I was considering perhaps some pine bark for the bottom or something else, but I think I may just paint the bottom and keep this one rather minimal. His neighbors in the series we'll have more going on in that area. You’ll see some of them next week!


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