Following my own advice

Okay… I am just procrastinating about working on that last painting. ….You know that one I talked about on FB a few days ago. I know I SAY that all layers are good and sooner or later the ‘painting will tell me what to do’…. but I am impatient lately. It now has quite a number of those layers of encaustic paint…. and I have to admit they were not planned layers or glazes. I don’t like the colors and I don’t like the shapes… and I sure don’t like them together.

I have finally decided to just let it all go and melt that sucker down on the top and make a new layer to start fresh on. I am even confident that having those old layers will add to the pentimenti and richness of what will finally be the finished painting.

Okay… lying to myself or just psyching myself up…………I am determined. OK… went to studio, heated up an encaustic iron… it didn’t all iron into a smush as I thought so I am smoothing it all down and will paint with R & F Pigment sticks on this piece as a ground. I have used wax before as a ground for pigment sticks. In fact, they move better than on a very absorbent ground like when you prepare with gesso.  Looking at this hodge-podge you can see why I am covering it all up.















OK… so that didn’t work so well………….I now have a BLUE painting layer going. that is what I am doing to call it anyway… just another layer. BUT that R & F Provence Blue pigment stick is sure a glorious color.  Tomorrow is another day.


HELP, My Fence Is Falling Down

Titles are not usually easy. I tend to find one right away or mull over every possible word from a dictionary, thesaurus, words and phrases from books or music. Recently, some other artists have written about the same thing in their art practice.

Today, was not on of those days. The title, HELP, My Fence Is Falling Down, came to me as I got half way into this painting. If you have been here to the ranch this past year you might know where this came from. LOL

Anyway, I did not set out to paint a blue and green fence picture. This was a canvas I prepared and put a blue tone on . I even made all kinds of marks that I painted over with dark, drippy paint.  I then left and went to Colony for part of a week in Mississippi, attended a show opening in Dallas, had dental surgery, and finished two other oil paintings.

WELL… you know if you are an expressionist, intuitive painter like I am, you just do not always connect with something when you come back to it after all that time. This one just had to be painted though as it had started to stare back at me. So I started mixing all my usual palette. I just let it go from there….after all it had a blue ground. Painting is all relationships… only which ones will it be for this one? If it didn’t work out, so be it. I can paint over it easily with acrylic.

I don’t know or care if someone else can visualize a chain link fence protecting a driveway from cows in a pasture or not, but that is what popped into my mind half way into this painting. AND, my husband has fixed it now anyway.

This IPad picture looks a little too ultramarine but it might be finished unless I decide to tone down some of the staccato brush marks.

HELP, My Fence Is Falling Down acrylic on canvas, 36 x 24 x 2 inches

HELP, My Fence Is Falling Down
acrylic on canvas, 36 x 24 x 2 inches

Provincetown and the 7th International Encaustic Conference

The first six months of 2013 have been exceedingly busy for me. I have reveled in it. For too long I have just lazed around here on the ranch. Of course, I paint and sleep and stay on the internet FB pages too much, too. I look out my windows or walk down to the mailbox. BUT, it was so energizing to have so much to do to prepare for the conference as well as a show in Houston at Jack Meier Gallery.

By December 2012… I figured I better heat up the encaustic and get out all my paints and panels. I had not worked with encaustic for many months and needed to get my hand back in. I had no idea what kind of show opportunities would come up, the themes, the sizes or anything…………just paint and see what comes. I even decided to do a few small works on paper and panels to take to the Hotel Fair at the conference.

Work did get made… I liked some of it better than others. The themes were announced with sizing. OMG, I had painted some work way too big. That’s okay… I took it to the Houston show. I was fortunate to get a painting into the juried show, SEVEN, chosen by Shawn Hill and held at Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill, and another in the A Gallery show titled RED, chosen by Adam and Marin Peck, owners of the gallery. I was really pumped with getting into two great shows during the conference.

Besides the exhibition opportunities accompanying the conference, there were SO many lectures, demos or workshops you could choose to attend. It is impossible to make everything. Not a one was a dud, I promise you.

I went to Nancy Natale’s Bricolage two day workshop before the conference started. I have a better understanding of how I might can add other elements to my work in the future. Nancy is a very generous, talented teacher as well as a nice person and a wonderful artist.

The other workshop I attended was Post-Con, Understanding the Curatorial Process, with Barbara O’Brien, director of the Kemper Museum, Kansas City, MO. I can say unequivocally that this kind of workshop is of the most value to anyone who has been an artist for a long time. Of course, it would be for someone in the earlier stages of their career as well as anyone wanting to challenge themselves. A time comes when it is not the technique you need to dwell on (unless you need a new one) as much as the inner journey you make as an artist. Sometimes you have to be forced kicking and screaming into do the thinking that goes with the art making………….the why, the why not, the who cares, the … you get the drift.

I was terrible at documenting the conference. I just had way too much going, doing and listening to do to remember most of the time to take pictures or make many notes. What I do have are disjointed. I leave you with a few photos and a heartfelt thank you to Joanne Mattera and Cherie Mittenthal for hosting such a wonderful event for all of us to come to every year we can.

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My apologies for not finding more photos right now… and I have to give credit to someone ( I know not who) who made the two pictures with Joanne in them. Let me know and I will post your name. Photo of me in the hat at the restaurant is by Helen Dannelly.



Texas Women With Brushes

There is a lot of excitement building around here at the ranch and in the studio. I have several exhibits coming up in the next month.

The next one is a two person exhibit, Texas Women with Brushes,  at Jack Meier Gallery, 2310 Bissonnet, Houston, TX on May 4, 2013. The artists reception will be 6-8 pm on May 4, with the exhibit continuing through May 25. Please come by and say hello if you are in the vicinity.

Between the two of us you will see a different perspective on the land of Texas. LaNell Arndt lives on a farm in the hill country, and I live on a ranch/farm in the northeastern part of the state. She is a realist and I am committed to abstraction. It will be interesting to see the juxtaposition of the differing views of the land.

The largest painting I will be exhibiting is titled, Renewal, 48 x 96 inches, acrylic on two canvases.



Front-Meier_invite Back-Meier-Invite

Day Inch Counting

Some interesting information about numbers, numerology, astronomy, the earth, time and landscape have been occupying my mind lately. In this encaustic painting I have been using some of this information to address some of the symbols of numbers, and the counting methods used in megalithic astronomy. Just one interesting site is Sky and At one point I found sites and books that tell you so many things about numbers you can become very confused……….especially since they do not all agree.

For my purposes in this painting I used the color green and a coppery hue sine I remember reading that was a metal associated with the number 7.  My style of painting usually has a land or landscape feeling so I wanted incorporate the land/landscape and symbols of time, numbers, etc.

I used the previously mentioned colors on a 24 x 24 x 2 inch cradled panel and used encaustic paint, medium and some oil paint sticks. Since in the megalithic times, time has been counted by using stones and tally marks used as stones, etc. to mark periods of time (day, month, year). The 7 small rectangles represent 7 of these time periods and the tally marks also the same.

Of course, no one needs to know this information about the symbols in this painting, they might just appreciate it for an abstracted landscape. Apologies…this image is a little too blue but the other one was a little too pink…it’s just too cloudy today and this is a photo from my phone. It also has a haze over it that is not there in person…maybe needs more scraping and polishing and a brighter day.



Counting Time  encaustic/oil 24 x 24x 2″

Jeff Hirst workshop report

FANTASTIC…. Jeffrey Hirst is a fantastic teacher, artist and I hope new friend. The workshop with him at the Encaustic Center in Richardson, TX  the past few days was a delightful experience.

We explored how an artist can screen print into waxed surfaces, make collagraphs to use in waxed paintings or all on their own. I don’t know if I will use the collagraph process that much since it is one that needs a press and I don’t have one. I do plan to see if I can gather my own materials to use the screen printing process into my work…….whether in acrylic or encaustic. I think his methods will work well for my own personal art/painting personality.

Jeff processed some line drawings/images for us before the workshop from our own work………..and showed and gave us instructions to do this on our own in our own studios in the future.

Here are images of some of my work from the workshop………….The ones with the green are 12 x 12 inch squares on wood panel…others are small panels or paper.

workshop2Panel workshop3ScreenPrint workshop4SreenPrintSquare workshop1Panel

New oil painting in progress

Working some days now in encaustic, I suddenly had the urge to paint with oil again. I got all the supplies I needed set up and started adding layers until I just couldn’t add any more since they were too wet.  I did make a lot of marks by inscribing into the paint and just playing around with marks and the brayer.

Today the work had set up some so I set out to add more paint…. same old, same old….. you add paint, you make marks, you cover them up and you make more. If you aren’t careful (and even if you are) you make mud. Well……….there is good mud, beautiful mud and just mud.

I was afraid I had the ‘just mud’ without enough contrast or spark there. SO it is time to take a photo with the handy i-phone and go back to the house. These are the pics I took without any lighting on them…just the light from the windows coming in but not strongly….. the full painting and a top and bottom detail shot.

36 x 24 x 2 inch oil on wood panel


oil in progress Bottom   oil in progress TOP  oil in progress full painting

In the studio with encaustic

I’ve been in the studio heating up the encaustic medium and paint again. I kept thinking of what I might take to The Encaustic Conference , in Provincetown, MA so I am playing with encaustic on paper and the hot box………..but I am also thinking of ways or concepts for using the theme ‘7’.  I dreamed of ways and got it half way in my mind……….then I would think about it again and think my concept was too literal and not really like I paint. SO……..I just set it aside.

That said…….I did set up of this idea up on a small 12 x 24 panel. Within 30 minutes I could tell, this just was not going to work for me although I had some of it all drawn out on two panels.

I just started mixing paint and before I knew it, I had the 12 x 24 covered with my landscape oriented work again. The encaustic really slows me down. That has it’s good points and bad points. By the end of the day, I decided that next session I would just add a bottom to a multiple panel or diptych piece 24 x 24 and see how that went.

It’s a nice painting….fresh and not over-worked. I’m still looking for something to challenge me but not in such a way as it is not my work. I want the slower evolution of my work to become better and better.

If I come up with something for the ‘7’ show to enter, I’d love it, but if I don’t I will at least have a whole lot of new encaustic paintings in the studio.

This is the untitled diptych painting (taken with i-phone camera)………36 x 24x 2 inches on wood panel, encausticdiptych_36x24x2

Encaustic paintings complete

Yesterday I finally decided that I was finished on the two 30 x 40 x 2 inch encaustic paintings. As I mentioned before they are painted on cradled wood panels. My goal with these works was to be able to get gestural drawing into the mix with all the beautiful surface that encaustic paint brings to a work.
This is probably more drawing than I usually use in my acrylic paintings since I spent a lot of time concentrating on the drawing aspect over the shape aspect. When my other paintings it is more the opposite.

While these are considered fairly large for work with encaustic, they are not large compared to my other work. SO, this was also a goal of mine to make larger paintings. It is not as quick a process as with application of acrylic or oil since you are working with heavy panels and a medium that will run all over everything if you pour it on………I ended up not doing any pouring. I do think I will continue to use India and Sumi ink in some of my work. It lends a watercolor like quality to the work that I like. I think I need to go see if there are other colors of India ink though as not always will I want it to be this black.

There is something to be said for the slowing down of the process. You can get really lost in the process. Although you can get lost in other media as well, this is somewhat different in that I am mostly painting horizontally and having to put the panel up at the end of the session on the wall to come back later to see what I have. Working between the two panels therefore took a good bit of time. A LOT of viewing and determining if there was a need to add or  subtract more. I’m hoping that I have edited out enough. When I got to the point where I didn’t want to take anything out, soften something or add something then the painting is done.

With my next paintings I plan to use the hot pen to see where it will take me mixed in with the ink and wax………Stay tuned.

The titles are not set yet………. These remind me of my work called “Johnson Creek Summer” but they also make me think of the one called “Beneath The Surface”.

UPDATE:   I am considering the title “Efflorescence”, although efflorescence is more of a white or pale growth…for my purposes, black and gray can do……………

30x40encaustic_1 30x40encaustic_2

Encaustic panels, continued.

I said I was going to put that panel up and work on the other one…………I did, but first I decided to add more gray and black in the lower part of the panel as I thought it looked too much of a vignette.
I then started adding paint to the other panel……….I always need to get enough paint on a canvas or panel so I can work from there.

I’m having second thoughts on all these blacks, whites, grays………..but I am continuing.

I have to face the fact like usual at some point that I am going to have to quit making lots of little nuances and just negative paint the hell out of the painting. When that time comes it will work or it won’t.

I think I may have to go find some small sauce pans so I can pour some large amounts of paint.

bothGestureEncausticPanelsIN_Progress 2ndPanelIN_Progress


Encaustic painting progress

gesturepanel1-detail2-2ndstage gestureEncaustic1stpanel-2ndstage. detailPanel1-2ndstageI’ve spent a few sessions working on one of the 30 x 40 wood panels now. Not to procrastinate, I decided to start with the gestural drawing start of the one I considered not as successful for some reason.

So, far, I have not used anything else but encaustic paint and medium. I have limited my palette to grays, whites, black………but ended up with some areas of warmth in some of the whites. Due to the coolness of the other color, it almost looks ochre. Amazing what relationships will do with color.

I drug my convertible BEST easel into the encaustic room to get a little closer to the hot medium and paint. So far, I have gotten a good amount of paint layers on this work……..and a good bit of scraping back. I think I am going to have to go looking for a lot of small pans with handles so I can haul the hot paint to the panel instead of trying to get so close to the paint.

I am now going to put it aside and work on the other panel so I can get them both to a similar stage of finish before going in to work more.

There are two details and one of the whole panel shown here. I posted another detail on FB yesterday.

New Encaustic paintings started

Toward the end of 2012, I had a few really large acrylic paintings going…… for a commission. So due to the holidays, I finished them up.

Still in the back of my mind were those two 30 x 40 x 2 inch wood panels over in the corner waiting for me to come and work on them. I had been considering oil with cold wax medium or encaustic. One day I just decided I would prep for encaustic since I had an idea for something I wanted to do with them. Not a real ordinary thing for me…ideas ahead of painting even one brushstroke. I do now and then though and have had to give in to the idea that sometimes ideas just don’t live up to your expectations. I find that just letting the painting go where it wants is good, whether or not I really have a firm idea or not.

What you say is the idea?  Those gesture ‘drawings I did back some time ago as just fun exercises on some large paper I had……..they are 30 x 44 inches………I used black and white paint and a little pencil, ink, and even some pastel……..One night I thought they might be just the thing to try out on the wood panels with encaustic. It would definitely be a challenge as encaustic paint just does not move like acrylic and liquid mediums generally speaking.

SO… right after the kids were gone from the holidays and I had rested up a little and got some errands and appointments over…………into the studio.

I now have two 30 x 40 panels with sumi and india ink brush drawings on them………..added pencil and any other thing I thought would be compatible under encaustic………….they were first coated with encaustic gesso (Holy Grail) from EvansEncaustics. There are other companies out there but Hylla made the first and I love using it.

I also have a layer of clear medium over the surface of both of these pieces and fused in………..ready for the next layer in the next session.


Below are just the photos of the beginning drawings……..gestureOnEncausticGessoStep_1_WEB GestureOnEncaustic 2ndPanel