I just attended Shawna Moore’s workshop at the Jackson Hole Art Association. It was well worth the 5 hour flight from Florida to Salt Lake City, Utah, and then the 5 hour car drive through the farms of Idaho and then through the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. The facility was great. I found Shawna from a movie that she has posted on You Tube and had to take a class with her. I have to say that I am so happy with what I learned from her. Not only did it confirm that this is what I want to do, I want to do it NOW!!!! Each time I take an encaustic painting class I know that I am one step closer in developing my own voice. Since I was a commercial art director for my entire career, I am use to designing product and art to what the customer wants and not what I want. So I am very, actual excellent at making the client happy, but now it has to be about me. See Shawna’s movie
I am still decompressing from the Third National Encaustic Conference. After the conference I took a workshop with Miles Conrad. It was titled encaustic in 3D. Sculpture has never been my thing, but this class was amazing. Too bad I didn’t have an extra piece of luggage to bring all my mini-sculpture pieces home (and the airlines would not allow me to carry them on) so I had to leave my little creations behind. So all have have are my photo’s to show what I did. Miles set up the workshop so that everyone had all the materials for each project in small bags and each numbered so that we all started with the same “stuff” but each piece was unique to each artist. I will incorporate many of the sculpture techniques that he showed us. Her are a few photos of my wax sculptures
I have been so busy on my “Staycation”. I started teaching classes in my study and working on a new series of work. While setting up my studio for classes, I started to make tests boards, which led to my next series of work. Now that I am set up for “teaching” mode my creativity has kicked in. I guess when I see everything out and all “neat” it inspires me to work. Of course I made such a mess, that I had to “re-clean” the studio for the class. But tomorrow it is back to my “real” job, so I need to make the most of this creative time. The photo is of my new series (still trying to name it) made from beeswax/powdered graphite/encaustic pigment.
I had been wanting to use a propane torch to fuse my work, so today I went to home depot and $25 poorer I now own a blow torch. I let it sit in the package all day, as I have to admit, I am a bit afraid of the thing. Two days ago a house in my community had a fire (no one was hurt) and when I was 14 yrs. old the gas grill at my house singed my hair/eyebrows and lashes (my brother went to light it but I guess there must have been fumes so it made a big fire ball when he lit the grill) and then 2 weeks later I caught my sleeve on the stove and it caught on fire (I grew up in a house with an industrial range before they were in vogue that had huge gas jets) I now only have electric in my house, stove oven and all. So this Torch is a huge leap for me considering my bad experiences with fire.
So I went outside on my patio, with a fire extinguisher, removed any items that looked flammable, locked the dog inside and after many attempts finally got the torch ignited. I took a few sample of boards that I prepped outside to test. One panel caught on fire because I had some paper that was stuck in the wax so it flamed up, the others went okay, the problem being- I could not see the flame. A few more attempts and then I decided back to the heat gun. Since my studio is in my den; I can’t use the torch inside. I can see the practical use if I was working on a very large surface as the flame fuses fast and even. But for right now I will stick with my heat gun
Any one have an suggestions on the torch let me know as I am sure with practice I can get the hang of it and not hurt myself or anyone.
It has been a challenge for me to find time at home to do any artwork. I just cleaned out my studio space and rearranged my hot plates so I hope this configuration will work better for me. I also just sent out my check to the Atlanta Artists Center to take a one day encaustic workshop. These workshops always help me to kick start a project and I can concentrate on just the work. Since my studio space is in my house, I have so many distractions. The TV, phone, dog, laundry, dishes, etc… So I find I have to fly away to be able to work. If I could find affordable space I would rent it. The Miami art district has space but it is to far to travel to and many of the art lofts do not have adequate ventilation for encaustic work. I also like to go to the workshops as I hope in the next year or two I can offer these workshops in South Florida.
A few weeks ago I put out a call for artists who use encaustic/wax in their artwork. I am looking to form a group in South Florida so that we can exchange info, start workshops and create our own group shows. If you are in the South Florida area and interested please send me an email. I know you are out there!!!!
Okay, it is just a start, my web site is up and running. I didn’t realize how much stuff I had. First I needed to sort all of my work and catalog it (something I always put off for later, but now I realize I need to do it every week) , Then I had to sort out my work by medium. Then I had to sit and build the site (I hate doing that). So I just kept it basic and simple. It is about the artwork and not the site design. Then I had to make sure it can run on several browsers. This is the hardest part since it is on my own server, I have to take my laptop to a place that has wifi so that I can view it, as I discovered that you can’t see the website when you are running it on your own network (I am not that technical but something like that) Now I just have to discipline myself to update it on a regular basis. So go to http://www.ajgrossman.com and thanks for looking.
A few weeks ago I attended the Broward County Red Cross Designer Showcase. When I got to the beautiful houses on Las Olas, I was told that the art was all “eco-friendly”. What I discovered was the paint used through out all the homes was a new low-odor, evironmentally friendly housepaint. But I was also told that all the art/painting on the walls are “green”. I think the host was confused as to paint on the walls being this new enviromentally safe product, to what he thought was paintings of seashells and palm trees. But it did get me thinking. All the art in the houses had a nature them, beaches, sand, seashells, ocean views, florals etc. But all the art was made from oil or acrylic paint. All of which use chemicals, mineral spirits, turpentine, mediums, and what is not used is tossed in the garbage or washed down the sink. This is probably why I work in encaustics. The stuff is beeswax and it never goes to waste. Almost everything that I use is recycled. I paint on wood, there is no washing of brushes, the beeswax has no chemicals in it, the damar is from trees, I don’t waste any paint. Once I mix a color, I can just remelt it and it never goes to waste. Wax, to me is the true “eco-friendly” product. The only thing that I really use is electricity, which is generated by some plant that adds to the carbon output. But I can’t eliminate everything. To me the real “green” art is not the subject matter, it is the media.