Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Ignorance sometimes is bliss

It's not a Debbie pun.
A couple of weekends ago I attended a one-day encaustic workshop. Encaustic is a process of layering beeswax mixed with resin on a panel (preferably wood). You can create collages covered by the medium, or mix the medium with colors, scratch into it and fill the scratches with oil pastels. There are a lot of possibilities and one of the reasons taking this class for me was that I wanted to create images like these. I've seen Thea Schrack's work in person during the Hunter's Point Open Studios here in SF (this was a yearly event that sadly will no longer happen as the area is being transformed into new housing). They are really stunning, and the color seems to be glowing from within. Very ethereal, hence perfect for the romantic Craftoholic. I had brought a bunch of photographs I took in India(copies of them, as the beeswax won't stick to photo according to my teacher) and a lot of excitement which got toned down when I realized that I wasn't going to do what I thought I would. Working with the medium is extremely difficult as you're holding a heating gun in one hand to keep everything warm, and a brush with the hot medium in the other. It's very hard to produce a smooth even film, which didn't seem to be the purpose though. I tried to work on some collages, but couldn't get into the groove of it. As I got increasingly frustrated with my lack of creating that perfect piece of art in my mind's eye, silently berating myself for having spent money for this when I could have bought yarn and beads instead, something snapped in my head. I decide to just have fun. To not care to make it beautiful, to keep the oil paste neatly in the ridges, to not worry about whether this would look like my imaginary 4-year old had drawn it. I slopped on the wax, carved and mushed paint into the grooves, and stopped thinking.
It was the most fun I've had in a while. Letting go of the thinking and just enjoy the doing.


eastern white said...

i love it! the little bird one is really cute!

Anonymous said...

I'm so impressed that you tried it and were able to let go and enjoy the process as you did!

I think they look great!

Anonymous said...

encaustic sounds like a lot of fun--and that little chickie is adorable!

valentina said...

Friggin' perfectionism. I hear you. Glad you decided not to let it bother you and enjoyed the process. You can now practice and you'll get where you're trying to go eventually. Or you'll end up someplace better.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I like what you are doing. Maybe we could exchange tips on Mind Building. You can have a quick look at so we can exchange ideas.

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