Saturday, October 16, 2010

Encaustic: Beetle

Encaustic: beeswax, pigment, damar resin on wood panel
©2010 Giselle Gautreau

Encaustic: Birds On A Wire

On A Wire
Encaustic: beeswax, resin and pigment on wood panel
©2010 Giselle Gautreau

Private Collection

Encaustic Painting: Bees

Encaustic- beeswax and pigment, on wood panel
©2010 Giselle Gautreau

I Think I'm In Love

I've always wanted to try my hand at encaustic painting. This is a process that involves painting with melted beeswax that's been mixed with damar resin and pigment. Each layer of paint/wax is fused with the layer below by using a heat source, such as a torch. It's an ancient process, and also surprisingly stable and strong. What's appealing to me is that with all of those layers of wax and paint, the effect can be very luminous and ethereal.
This past summer I attended a demo by the women who run WaxWorksWest, an encaustic studio in Corralitos, CA. The demo was impressive, and I immediately signed up for one of their one-day workshops. I learned a lot in that one day, and I'm really looking forward to going back. Here are some of my fellow classmates in the Encaustic Boot Camp Class:

Here we have a hot plate heated to about 200 degrees. Those little tins hold the pigment and wax combo. A flat thermometer helps us keep track of the surface temperature. If the wax is overheated, it can become toxic. Several box fans keep the area well ventilated. The best part was playing with fire, in this case butane torches, to fuse the wax. I somehow managed not to ignite anything that I wasn't supposed to.

At the end of the day, I had four completed pieces. I loved the process. To me, it was such an experimental and playful process. I had a blast, and can't wait to make more.
Detailed images of these paintings soon to come.

I've started gathering the materials and tools needed to do these on my own, in my studio. In the meantime, I've signed up for another day-long workshop. Care to join me on November 12th for the Encaustic Transfer Techniques class? You can see the complete class list and schedule on their website:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Framing Bees

It turns out that a lovely friend and collector of my work has an excellent eye for framing. In general I don't frame my own work. In part, I want the buyer to decide whether they want it framed at all, and how to do it. I'll be honest, it's also about economy for me, since framing can get expensive. My framing tastes tend to run toward the clean and minimalist. Simple floater frames for me, if any. In contrast, my friend went for whimsy and bold. She grouped my bee paintings together on one wall, and I love the effect.

This last one stands alone on it's own wall. I love what the frame does to the painting. It gives it an added dimension, drawing your eye in and giving it another layer of drama and presence. That is what good framing does.