Daddy's Christmas Angel

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Encaustics Versus Cold Wax

"Turbulent Universe" Encaustic Painting ©Mary Montague Sikes
When Karen Eide introduced me to encaustics a few years ago, I was immediately hooked. I enjoyed manipulating the hot wax and pigment with a heat gun. I loved the way everything moved around on the surface, creating mysterious images that resembled other world and new universes.

Karen explained the dangers of allowing the wax to get too hot and creating toxic smoke that when breathed in could cause permanent lung damage. Because of those warnings, I hesitated bringing encaustic materials into my home studio. Instead, I took more of Karen's classes, including one she teaches in Virginia Beach that enabled me to work on larger pieces. Eventually, I bought a large flat grill, a heat gun, wax medium, and encaustic paints, expecting to battle the insects and work outdoors. I still haven't used them.

Karen Eide demonstrating encaustics techniques. ©Mary Montague Sikes
Now, I am wondering about painting with cold wax. I have tubes of oil paint from years ago that I might revive to mix with the cold wax medium. I've watched several YouTube videos about cold wax painting and am ready to try it. Some of the cold wax paintings I've seen closely resemble those created with the hot wax process I find so appealing.

I'm also working on three paintings now in which I plan to combine the Robert Doak watercolors with encaustics. I started the paintings with a 10" square center, using encaustic paints. One painting is on a wooden cradled panel. I have it ready to apply the Doak watercolors in my studio later this week.

I'm excited about the possibilities of using new methods in my paintings. Encaustics versus cold wax, does anyone have experiences to compare?

Starts with Encaustics ©Mary Montague Sikes

Monday, September 12, 2016

Teaching an Artists Workshop on Hilton Head Island Is Inspiring

Last week, I taught a three-day workshop at the Art Academy in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and I found it inspiring. Hilton Head is special to me. We have owned timeshares there for years and travel to the island once or twice every year.

"Island Club Tennis Courts" ©Mary Montague Sikes
It's amazing how much Hilton Head has changed since we first visited in 1980. At that time, there was one grocery store and not much else. We fell in love with the tennis at Island Club and still believe it's the best place for playing with friends. There are many tennis activities, but fewer these days as interest in the sport has appeared to dwindle everywhere. We loved the Dennis Van Der Meer Tennis University from the first day we found out about it and took many workshops at the facility. We played with both Dennis and his wife Pat. It was part of the island adventure.

I also fell in love with the art galleries and found my first representation with Red Piano Gallery. The little house in the trees was enchanting, especially with the red piano displayed prominently in the windows of one large gallery room. After ownership there changed hands, I discovered Pink House Gallery which sold my pastel paintings. Later, Wexford Gallery came along and represented and sold my large acrylic works. I was thrilled and excited. Some of my work went into million dollar homes located on the island. Then, spaces and people moved, 9-11 happened, and everything changed in my art world. I also became an author, devoting more time to writing and promoting my books. Ironically, my first book signing for my first book was scheduled for 9/11/2001. Of course, that signing was cancelled. The timing for both my careers was wrong.

Perhaps that is why teaching artists' workshops on Hilton Head Island is so special to me. I feel a connection to the
"Giving a Demo at the Art Academy"
island and to the people who find it a special place to live or to visit. This year, my workshop was called, "Painting with Texture and Color". I've discovered that building texture with thick gesso works as well as using the heavy-bodied gel mediums. The students did a beautiful job creating with texture that way. We also worked with the glorious Robert Doak watercolors that become magic when used on Yupo.

It was a beautiful week with perfect weather. I wish we could have stayed longer.