Fish Orient

Fish Orient
Encaustic & Image Transfer
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The art abyss

Since the show three weeks ago I feel myself falling into the art abyss. I have been here before and if you have had an exhibition you will probably know what I am talking about.
I haven't been in the studio other than to tidy up and scrape wax off the floor. I am sort of lost as where to start now. I want to be inspired and find a new direction but i am just waiting for it to happen. Well I have been to see some exhibtions and did see some great work but I am not sure where I need to go in my work. I know it will all nut out in the end and I will be better for it but its kind of frustrating at the moment.
I can feel inklings of ideas but nothing solid as yet.  I went and saw this show last week at Dominick Mersch gallery in Waterloo ,Sydney
'Becoming Oceanic' Caroline Rannersberger
encausitc on cedar panels

'Becoming Cyclone' Caroline Rannersberger
encaustic on cedar panels
These were pretty inspiring pieces and unusual in that encaustic is not big here in Australia. She lives up  in Darwin.
I have a feeling I may need to work from my photographs that I take whilst away on holiday and am still trying to work out how to do that and make something interesting and textured.
Something using one of these maybe

  
I am not sure what I will do yet, but there must be a reason I take all these photographs of textures and rocks that I love. I almost can't believe they are made by nature they look so strange and interesting. I usually find something on every beach I go to that I want to photograph.
Also on my last holiday in febuary we had a couple of days of wild storms and the colours of the sky and sea were amazing. I would like to try and use these colours maybe

I really like the colours of the sky the water, the reflections in  the sand. All moody blues(good name for a band)and stormy greys and then those highlights of light yellows and oranges.
Now there's my inspiration!!!
Maybe my art abyssness is over!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Show At The Watch House,Balmain

I recently had a weekend show a the Watch house gallery in Balmain with two other fellow artists. Dee Mc Millan and Judith Wilson. We were all fellow students at Hornsby a few years back and formed a really storng connection and friendship over our time together as art students. We have been throught many things together and given each other support and care through the good and the bad times. We have formed a close enough friendship that we can critique each others work and be honest about it. Our exhibition 'Connections' looked fantastic in this beautiful national trust building in gorgeous Balmain. A trendy and posh suburb of Sydney. Nice restaurants here, galleries shops with lovely things in them that we probably can't afford. You know those designer dress shops!
The Watch house was an old police station and lock up when Balmain was a mining town and there were pubs up and down the street. One of the officers lived here with his wife and 14 children, goodness knows where they all slept.
Anyway after a lot of work we got our work on the walls and it looked great, we had a fab opening night. and all sold some work, so it was pretty succesful. Here's what the rooms looked like.

All these rooms were cells at one point in the life of this building. the walls are beautiful sandstone. The original doors were still there too. Great big massive iron doors that were so thick there was no way you were getting out of there once you were in a cell.
We put this show together in 10 weeks adn the worrk all seemed to go together so well even though we hadn't planned it that way.


A selection of Dee's work, which are acrylic paintings and fabric and fibre pieces


A selectin of Judith Wilson's work which was alternative photography pieces and acrylic painting and dyed silk and  paper.

A selection of mo godbeer's(me) work. Encaustic on plywood and glass.
Its a bit hard to convey the atmosphere of the rooms and the building but it was a nice few days we had there and great to see all our work on the wall.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Conrad Wilde Gallery

I donated three pieces to Conrad Wilde gallery in Arizona and saw today that they sold all of them. It was a strategic move for me here in Australia to get my work seen over in the U.S but also it's nice to help fellow artists.
The piece up above is one of the ones I sent.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Making Encaustic Gesso

This week I decided to make encaustic gesso. I really wanted to buy some of the R&F encaustic gesso in a tub but the price is extortionate here...$68 for the mid sized tub. So after talking to the helpful chap in the art shop I decided to give it a go. So first you need these things...a pack of rabbit skin glue which comes in crystal form,whiting and white pigment. and cold tap water. I followed Timothy McDowells recipe from Joanne Mattera's art of encaustic book. First you make the glue size by mixing the crystals in cold tap water. To each quart of water add two to three tablespoons of glue crystals. Soak this overnight or till it becomes to a jelly like consistency. Once this is done you can warm the glue size ina double boiler till it melts...make sure the size does not boil.

Now to make it white you mix 9 parts whiting to one part pigment in a large bowl. Slowly add mixture to one quart warm glue size. Heat in a double boiler, I used this pyrex jug in an old pan(do notuse these for food again!) about 15 mins until creamy, stirring constantly.Use a chopstick to stir the mix and when the stick has a fine milky coating its good to go.Strain the mixture through cheesecloth and use warm on your panels.

This week I decided to make encaustic gesso. I really wanted to buy some of the R&F encaustic gesso in a tub but the price is extortionate here...$68 for the mid sized tub. So after talking to the helpful chap in the art shop I decided to give it a go. So first you need these things...a pack of rabbit skin glue which comes in crystal form,whiting and white pigment. and cold tap water. I followed Timothy McDowells recipe from Joanne Mattera's art of encaustic book. First you make the glue size by mixing the crystals in cold tap water. To each quart of water add two to three tablespoons of glue crystals. Soak this overnight or till it becomes to a jelly like consistency. Once this is done you can warm the glue size ina double boiler till it melts...make sure the size does not boil.

Now to make it white you mix 9 parts whiting to one part pigment in a large bowl. Slowly add mixture to one quart warm glue size. Heat in a double boiler, I used this pyrex jug in an old pan(do notuse these for food again!) about 15 mins until creamy, stirring constantly.Use a chopstick to stir the mix and when the stick has a fine milky coating its good to go.Strain the mixture through cheesecloth and use warm on your panels.




So I did all this which was pretty easy and came up with this. This is the gesso when it was cooled ater the first making up and board coating. I kept it in the fridge and then warmed it up again to use again. I am not sure how long you can keep it for but it still seems okay.


Here are the boards as I had coated them(middle one got a bit of shellac on it). Timothy McDowell suggests 3-7 coats and a gentle sand in between each coat. This is not as hard as it sounds I put them in the sun and they dried really quickly so I was able to redo them quite quickly. I used a fine tooth sandpaper. When you are doing each layer the gesso needs to be warm to activate the gelatin in the previous layer.

When you do the first layer it will look quite thin but don't worry. When the first layer changes from glossy to dull do the next layer . It says you can do a coat every 30 mins but mine dried really quickly and I did them quicker than that.


So here is the pile of boards i gessoed and my beautiful new table(hubby made) now all messy.
I thought this gesso seemed a lot like pastel primer that I have used before...I am wondering if we can use that under encaustic. If anyone knows the answer to that let me know.
But I am really happy with how the ground looks, it is nice and white and porous for the wax to bed into.
I have also read that artist Tina Elkins uses milk paint as her ground and has had no problems at all.
This is what she wrote

"I have a sneaky insight into the gesso. When I first tried it, it seemed so familiar to me, even the smell. I showed it to my husband who recognized it at once as basically milk paint!
The stuff from R&F is wonderful but very expensive. I won’t argue with R&F, certainly they are the leading experts in our chosen medium, but I have
tested and been working with milk paint and find that it does just as good a job as far as I can tell. R&F’s has a small bit of (acrylic type?) additive in it as well, so it will stick on a variety of surfaces, but you can order milk paint in powdered form as well as an additive also that will allow you to paint  onto a sealed surface for way less than the price of the premixed gesso. Try “The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company” online- comes in many colors too! Only mix what you need- it does not store very long once mixed, and use 2 coats. I have meant to put this information on my art blog, so look for that information to show up there sometime soon when I prime some more panels and shoot a few pictures"
this is the link to her blog

http://tinaelkinsart.blogspot.com/

So that was my week.
I am still working on stuff for my June show and I definately have enough work now so I just need to finish off a few things. We also made a decision to book the gallery for next year for another show. But next time I want to make a body of work that comes from some research and really make it a cohesive set of work.

I like the stuff I have done otherwise I wouldn't put it up there, but I have felt that maybe it was all a bit too quick and I wasn't able to take things further. When you are working you are travelling along a path and I often see side roads that look so enticing and interesting that I realy want to get on down there and explore those side alleys. But because I had to get all this together so quickly I have had to stay on the path and not wander off on little inspirational jaunts. I can see areas wher I could have explored a certain set of imagery even further so that is what I am going to do once this is over.

Anyway that is all till next week, have a good one.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Why wax

Why wax....cos I love it. It seems to hold limitless possibilities. Im my latest pieces I am using the image transfer technique and lots of layerings of wax, shellac dry and wet burns and black japan which is a bitumen type product.