One of my first self-assigned duties at Artist Daily was to get out in the local American art community and see the kind of work that is being made all over the country, what kind of art techniques are gaining in popularity, and how artists are communicating with each other—building networks of art online, participating in art competitions together, and sharing art critiques and art tips in person and over the web. And I have to tell you that this is what I love to do the most—because what I find never gets old and I never see the same thing twice!
This has always been true when I look at the artistic output of those working in mixed media, especially encaustic, which has come on my radar in a pretty strong way over the past two years.
The Crossing by Lauren MacLeod, 2010, encaustic painting,
Mostly I have been struck again and again at how this one medium can be a gateway to so many different kinds of work and allows for the use of so many different complementary media. With encaustic, 'no' just isn't in the vocabulary. It is always 'Yes, try it!' And that is exciting prospect when an artist is finding his or her way, or trying for a breakthrough.
Encaustic allows you to work figuratively, abstractly, ornamentally, and even sculpturally. You can combine it with oil painting, printmaking, and collage. It can be used to explore texture and a built-up surface, or it can end up looking almost as smooth and polished as glass. The works featured here are some of my favorites. In and of themselves they are radically different, but they all are created using the same essentials of encaustic.
| Vanish Into the Vast Sea by Linda Womack,
2010, encaustic mixed media painting,
12 x 12.
| Spring Begins by Paula Stark,
2010, encaustic painting,
20 x 18.
What I respond to more than anything with encaustic is that there is a process involved. The steps you take can get the creative juices flowing because you can add a new element and end up with something that sends you off in an entirely different direction or you can just sink into the steps and let your mind check out, so you can just respond visually to what is going on in front of you.
That kind of artistic transportation is a gift. I know I certainly appreciate checking out now and again and just enjoy making art as a way of using my hands and my eyes, and not necessarily my intellect. The Encaustic Studio is an entire wax and mixed media workshop in a book-DVD package from artist, Daniella Woolf, whose works illustrate the entire book. There are techniques galore and the versatility of encaustic really shines through. It may spark a whole new wave of artistic excitement in you. Enjoy!