Painting with Wax

Those of you who don't know my background, here's a brief wrap-up of my art experience. I graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Fine Arts, many full moons ago. My concentration was in printmaking, the old fashioned, Albrecht Durer kind. I did lithography, engraving, woodcutting, linoleum cutting, embossing, etchings, and more. I loved it. Especially the photo transfer techniques in lithography, grinding the litho stones and carving the linoleum blocks. I've always been a bit of a doodler, not a portrait drawer, so carving lines was fun. But after college I was a bit lost on how to incorporate this printmaking degree into anything worth making a living at. I still had not quite developed my niche in the art world either, especially my subject matter. So, here I am 12 years out of art school and have found a new niche and love my subject matter! Oh how I wish those professors at AU could see me now. I think I could handle a critique 100% better than then! (Boy were those critques brutal back then!)

I've been working with acrylics and oil pastels for a couple of years now, and really like how they handle certain compositions. My best buddy and business partner Valerie started about 3 years ago painting in encaustic after taking an RF Paints workshop in Atlanta. She came back way enthusiastic about the medium and quite honestly, created some amazing works of art. Over the past few years I've watched her art mature and have been intrigued by her technique. The way she layers, then carves away, and creates these illuminating compositions is wonderful! (check it out at www.artbyvaleriedumas.com) So, when RF Paints offered a class this summer, I tagged along with her to check it out for myself. I still love my acrylics and oil pastels, but there is something about these waxes that is addicting to work with. And my favorite part? I love to build my board with wax so that I can then carve it with my trusty wood carving tools from my college days! This is my wax heating system, yes it's a pancake griddle. The wax melts and I use a natural brush to coat the panel with beeswax, medium and then colored wax.
After I get my background layer just like I want, I fuse it like crazy with a propane blow torch, manipulating some of the colors to mix together. Then I draw one of my little doodles on top with a pencil.
Once the composition is in place I dive in with my woodcarving tools, just like on a linoleum or wood block! It's so fun!
After all the marks are carved I stick it in my refrigerator to harden the wax quicker. Then I take it out and start the filling in of the marks with these really greasy oil sticks. Then just like preparing a printing plate for the press, I wipe and wipe all the excess oil stick off until only the lines are filled. My last step is coloring areas like the flower petals and leaves with oil sticks. Because I've used the oil sticks pretty heavily it usually takes a couple of weeks to really dry and be ready to sell. I forgot to take a final picture of this little flower field, but check back, because I will! I've not made too many encaustics, and the ones I do tend to be pretty small, but I use this medium as a great escape from the brush and canvas technique. And it gives my subjects a whole new texture, which I really love. It's also a bit cold in my garage studio right now so it keeps me warm!

Selling Art

Getting your art out there to the online public is a hard thing to do. I have noticed in my small collection of blogs I read, that once an artist is discovered by certain people, many doors open and their work appears on multiple blogs.....it's a total domino affect. I unfortunately have not crossed the path of such fame. Not for lack of trying mind you!

To make a long story a little shorter, about a month ago I contacted a company called wholesalecrafts.com to see about getting into their online catalogue. A very nice lady named Lisa Krause called and we spoke for awhile about the process and how to apply to get accepted (it is juried). She mentioned that I should call Lisa Kaus and speak with her about her success because our work had a similar flair and that I might like how her shop is set up online. Lisa Kaus??? Okay, she is one of my bookmarked favorite artists! So this wholesale crafts in my mind was definately legit if she was doing it. So, I e-mailed Lisa on a Friday afternoon and was busy playing in the store when she called me. Talk about a happy flea chick! You see, Valerie and I both get a little giddy at the site of artists we've admired, usually end up with a photo op, and place it on our website. So her calling was quite cool. We spoke for awhile about wholesale crafts, my website, and our art. She said she really loved my little encaustics and as soon as I got some finished up to e-mail her, she might be interested in buying. So.........I got motivated this past weekend and painted several little fellas and flower fields. I really like the flowers and will show you those later. I emailed her last night and BAM! She bought Corporate Ladder below. Yeah! I guess the circus visit is influencing my art a little now. How those guys walk on stilts I'll never know! So thanks Lisa! Hopefully this will open a door for me......time will tell. To visit her art go to www.lisakaus.com.


Elephant Artists and More!

I've recently come to the realization that EVERYONE has a blog, even Martha Stewart. Not that she really writes it, or evens reads it, but she has one. I've made some observations about these blogs as well. They are written almost like pages of a diary, private, yet yearn for people to read them and pass it on. There are many reasons to start a blog and it definately becomes an addiction once you start. We can see little slices of life through these entries. Some bloggers go all out with videos clips! We read and view parts of strangers lives we might never cross paths with, and yet we read their diaries like they were pages of our own. So where do I fit into this blogging phenomenon? I kind of do it to A. pat myself on the back for new accomplishments and show new works (who else is going to?) B. show off my adorable kids C. selflessly promote my store D. I love to write and so this gives me a most fabulous outlet to write out LOUD! With this being said........ We just finshed our winter break here in Newnan. Yes, winter break. Not like we have tons of snow to ski and play in, but we break for the smidgin' of a hope that it will I guess. Mostly it rained here! The kids and I took advantage of the week, filling it with good friends, jumping places, junk food, movies and more. Thursday night the legislators were given an opportunity to bring their families to the Greatest Show on Earth at Phillips Arena. We arrove early enough to wander onto the floor to the rings way up close and personal. They showed off the silly dogs, the lady in ribbon hanging from the ceiling (how she manages not to slip...I can't even wear satin PJ's without falling out of bed!), clowns, etc. Then came China the enormous smiling elephant that loved to ...get this...PAINT! Yes, she paints. And smiled throughout the whole darn thing! She'd take her brush, dip it in paint and create a masterpiece not unlike my son's at age 3. Not a muddy mess either. Mailey was amazed, and quite frankly, so was I. She just did it too. If only my adult students would dive in with that unafraid enthusiasm!
Here's her masterpiece. They were giving them away in a raffle after the circus. I wish I'd have won one!
Also during camp we held art camp at the Flea. I called it Pj's and Art. The kids came in their jammies, we read some cool books and created art based on the books. It was so fun, for me and them! Here's some of the creative Tuesday group with their duckies. They just kept adding little details like crazy. What an imaginative group of young minds!
These little guys I could just eat up...not literally of course. I don't think I've ever had duck. Well, time to get going and do the bedtime rountine. More to come tomorrow about painting this weekend. Some fun stuff!


Valerie and I just got back from the New York Gift show. We've only bought since opening our store, at the Atlanta show and thought for sure we were missing something by not coming to New York. We spent Wed. and Thursday playing in the city. Our hotel was right across from Madison Square Garden, great for walking all over the city. We shopped at Forever 21, 2 Anthropologie's, a fabulous bead store, souvenier junk shops, SWATCH, American Girl and more! We went to a comedy show Wed. night called Ha! It was...well, some good and some very badddddd. But a new experience with fabulous margaritas! Thursday night we went to Spring Awakenings, the Tony Award winning musical. Like the woman in front of us said, it must have been a bad year for the Tony's! It was...something.
I love Project Runway. One stop we had to make was to Mood, where the designers do all of their fabric buying. It was a fun thing to see. Overwhelming. I wanted a snip some of it all to bring back! We also saw Parsons where the show takes place.
At the show one of our favorite new finds was Uglydoll. Valerie bought them for all the kids at Christmas, which was such a hit. We think they'll do great in our store. In the display they had this supersized one....he's so ugly he's cute!
Billy's Bakery....you've probably heard of it. We had it as a must see while in NY. Luckily for us they had a kiosk at the show. But I had to have a tee shirt, my husband is Billy! So we headed down to 9th and 21st where we found the bakery. Talk about a wonderful smell. I'll never forget it. We ate dinner at a quaint French restaurant across the street and watched as people piled into the bakery during our entire meal and after....well just look at the line out the door! Man they were good cupcakes though!For more on the trip see the flea blog! http://www.thevintage-flea.blogspot.com/
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