Category Archives: acrylic

Some Encaustic Goodness

We have a chilly, rainy day here in Half Moon Bay, and I just went out and turned on the heater in my studio. I’m nursing a cold (*sniff*), but am still hoping to get a little work done. I’m working on a larger encaustic piece right now, another in the white series. This one is the other half of that hollow core door that I sawed into pieces a while back. 


When I’m working on larger pieces, I find it helpful to break down work sessions into smaller chunks. An hour, or two. Just getting a single layer on there, and fusing it can take over half an hour. Whew! 

In the background above, you can see some home made encaustic color charts… My next technique post will be about color, and I’ll go over the how and why of making those charts (plus, it’ll get me to finish my own set! )


And here are three acrylic paintings waiting for some embroidery thread… I am especially happy with the grey one. This is a terribly wonky photo- my camera shoots wide angle whether I want it to or not- and the texture just didn’t show up, but I almost always like what happens when I restrict my pallet. I’m funny about color. I’ll tiptoe my way out on some colorful limb, and then always come back to my neutrals. I hadn’t done a nest yet with such somber colors, and I like the way it turned out. 

For those of you who are looking for information on encaustic technique, check out Malissa Martin Wilkes’ blog. She’s got some great information and photos, some studio shots, etc. Her set up is a little different from mine, and it’s good to see how different people work.

New Work and a Show

Geez!  When was the last time I posted new work on this blog?  It feels like ages ago.  Anyway, here we go… The two nests below are acrylic mixed media. 

And then two new encaustics… continuing to experiment with the same techniques. I am working on some others in this format too, just trying to push a little farther in slightly different directions than before.

All four of these pieces, plus some others, will be in the group show “Wishfull Thinking” at Lark and Key Gallery in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The show will be running November 5th through December 30th, and I encourage anyone nearby to go and take a look. Other participating artists are Flora Bowley, Michelle Caplan, Duy Huynh, Kate Phillips, and Osiris Rain. It looks to be an interesting and varied show, and Lark and Key looks like a dreamy gallery/shop. Just the sort of place that I could not resist walking into. You know- “tractor beam effect”. Here’s a look inside- 

Views of Birds and Bees at Enso

Here are some shots from the show at Enso. Lovely, lovely space. Wonderful people there, too. No shots from the opening, as I forgot my camera (!), but it went well, and I visited with friends and family and met lots of interensting, artistically minded locals. Just what I was hoping for…

Remember all of those little encaustics? They pack a punch hung all together like this.

This nest is going to a new home on the coastside. 

And here are some shots of the outside of the gallery/yoga studio. How appropriate- to have an art gallery space inside a work of art! The building feels truly hand made, rustic and recycled, all at once.

As for me, I’ve taken a bit of a breather from art this week, preparing for the new homeschooling year, and getting my daughter ready for her first year of public high school. I did clean up my studio, and have been preparing supports for a variation series on the small encaustics I’ve been working on.  I also have another project in the works, but that’s secret for now…..

Chaos and Riches

A little pre-show chaos in my studio:

I’ve been working, working, working, trying to finish up some things before Saturday. I’ve got paintings waiting in line for embroidery, almost finished…

Eventually, most of my work finds other homes, but I love the feeling of having a lot of finished work piling up. It’s like putting up jam for the winter…it feels abundant and delicious. I kind of gather it all around me, hoard it in my home, and enjoy my temporary riches. Maybe like a magpie with her secret treasures. I especially enjoy it before I’ve really shown it to very many people. I wonder why that is? It feels like it’s totally mine, and then, by degree, it goes out into the world, and is experienced by other people, and it becomes less mine, and more the world’s. 

Good thing that creating is truly one of those inexhaustible things.

And life, too, just keeps on delivering.  I visited my sister a few weeks ago, and she gave me a nest she found in her yard.  It is a wonderful nest- an urban bird’s masterpiece. It has dryer lint, part of a dusting cloth, colored string, rose petals, and part of someone’s window screen woven into it, among other things. It had a shoelace, too, that fell out before she had a chance to give it to me! If this bird could have fit a hub cap in there, it would have.

Here it is with a dress I found in an antique shop the same weekend. I love the way the scrappy little nest contrasts with the delicate thin cotton of the dress.

That’s all I’ve got for now- time for me to go wire some paintings and print some postcards!

Birds and Bees at Enso in Half Moon Bay

::  Enso Gallery

::  131 Kelley Ave., Half Moon Bay, CA

::  August 3 – August 30, 2008

::  Opening:  August 9, 4:00 – 6:00 P.M.

::  “Birds and Bees”, a show of Encaustic paintings on panels, and Acrylic paintings on canvas.

::  For gallery hours, check the Enso website– the gallery is open for viewing before and after yoga classes,     and other events.

For all of you locals, I’d love to see you at the opening.  Enso is a nice little space to hang work, and I’m excited to be able to share what I’ve been working on for the past 4 months or so.  So come on by, and take a look!

Painting: New Work

Here are two newly finished nest paintings that I’ve previously shown in earlier stages of development….

Both 24 x 24 inches, mixed media and acrylic on canvas.  I just finished the embroidery on these this morning, while drinking my coffee.  The top image was painted from a nest that my husband’s parents found in their wood pile.  The second, from the nest found outside my studio. I’ve been working so much in encaustic lately that these two poor things have been sitting, forlorn, in a corner, waiting to be finished for a few weeks now.  Sometimes I think I enjoy paintings more after not looking at them for a while.  It was nice to come back to these after a break, and see that they held up.  A little space can be a good thing.

However, sometimes a little space can turn into too much space…. that has been the case lately with my husband traveling for work….. (sigh).  Can you tell that I miss him?  It’s been several weeks, this trip, but I am very happy to say that his company is flying me to spend some time with him in……Thailand.  Yes, that’s where he’s been working, and that’s where I’m going, for two weeks.  I’ve never been to Thailand, but it looks like a lovely, wonderful country, and I’m taking my sketchbook, two blank art journals, and my camera and anticipating lots and lots of inspiration.  Not to mention my sweetie, and our 15th anniversary.  I’m hoping I’ll be able to keep up with my blog while I’m away, and share some of this with you all, so stay tuned!

New Encaustics, etc.

Some new work…..


I’ve really been enjoying working in this small format (8 x 8 inches) in such an open ended subject area.  The only criteria for them is the dominant color must be white, and that the subject involves repetition.  I’ve been playing with different ways of layering the wax, and applying it.  I also discovered that paint pens do just fine layered in with the wax, and am experimenting with a fine point white paint pen.  I got it for journaling, but it’s opened up another world with the encaustic, being one more way to create precise lines and imagery.  Encaustic is difficult to control, and generally takes a lot of deep breathing and letting go from me, because, well, I can be a control freak like that.  But that is also what I love so much about this medium- it keeps me on my toes, keeps me loose and open to possibility as I work, and it is such a rapidly evolving medium right now, with artists finding new ways to work with it all the time.  Each piece is a wild card.  

Here is another piece I finished the other night- sorry this photo is not sharper.  It is difficult to see the texture here- one of it’s assets, I think. The embroidered circles are doing a lot for these nest paintings, adding some unusual texture and relief to the image.  This, by the way, is the nest I wrote about a couple of posts ago. This is also a small piece.  I have been warming up to this painting small business.  It used to be that any painting under 3×4 feet seemed like a waste of time, but there is something so satisfying about being able to finish a painting in a relatively short period of time, and then being able to hold it in my hands and look at it….. instead of having to stand back 8 feet just to see it properly.  The small pieces are more intimate that way.  

Well, I’m off to make more tea, go to a friend’s baby shower in San Francisco, and then come home and paint sets for the play.  And maybe embroider more paintings…….Whew!