Monday, March 05, 2007

My Lost Weekend with Wax (or, More Painting)

I spent the entire weekend painting. All encaustic, this time; my fingernails are filthy and my hands have hot-wax burns all over them.

The floor is mysteriously clean, but the dog isn't looking so good. Huh.



This all started a few weeks back, when C and I decided to paint a nice big painting for our living room. There have been many many discussions about color. He gravitates to colors like earth tones: rich, sophisticated, go with our furniture. I gravitate toward colors that make your eyes bleed.

Common sense won out. After all, we don't want to be sued by our guests for bleeding eyes. So we went with a transparent burnt sienna for the underpainting - OK, it may look like Coke, but we like Coke.

Here's the underpainting - I had to use a metric ass-load of encaustic medium to make it transparent. Like 1 part pigmented wax to 4 or 5 parts medium.



I also dipped a brush into the pigment itself and then scumbled it over the panel before painting the transparent burnt sienna over it, and I love how it turned out. I think it could stand as a painting all on its own. Although of course, having dripped 80 different colors of wax on it, now that's sort of moot, but I'll remember it for the next painting I make.

Speaking of wax, do you know what shoes totally withstand all drips? Crocs. They make my feet look huge but they're comfortable to spend a weekend standing in.


What was I talking about? Oh right, painting. So because I cannot stop, I added layers to the painting. Many layers.


And each time, I had to fuse them, which means holding a heat gun right next to them until they get shiny, or downright melt.

That's fine when you're working small ,but when you're working on a 24x36 canvas, and you can only fuse 2 square inches at a time, it gets old. Fucking tedious, in fact.

And yet, there's nothing quite like spending your morning melting stuff.


Here's an action shot of the fusing. You can't tell, but the wax under the gun has become shiny, which means it's time to move on.


Or it would be time to move on if I wasn't taking a picture at the same time, which results in stuff like this:


That's bad. Luckily, I could just melt some more wax over it and call it "texture."

This is my hand, swollen from two days of being held over a hot griddle, hot wax, or heat gun. I'm holding the scraping tool, which which you can take a perfectly good painting and scrape the hell out of it so it looks like something archeologists discovered in Pompeii.
Scraping: my favorite part. Aside from wielding a totally badass heat gun.

Let's take a little break from the Official Living-Room Art. Remember the nice gold painting with the little turquoise river that I was going to call Nancy? Well, I couldn't wait until the oil dried; I stripped off anything that felt wet and slapped a coat of wax on it.
It didn't look too good. I slapped another coat of wax on, and fused. Cue "fusing is tedious" expression. Looked even worse.
So I slapped a couple MORE coats of wax on and scraped the hell out of it, and then made part of it look like a map by fusing and burning and rubbing and scraping, and here's what I came up with.
I can't tell if I love it or hate it. C hasn't put it on the wall, so I suspect he is also on the fence. That or else he's calling the people on the psych ward.

I'm now calling it Hot Mess, because Nancy was just too tame.
I think I love it, to be frank. I think I totally dig it. The bottom part is like the Girls in the Basement, our subconscious getting it on every night while we sleep - and the top part is our conscious, the part that makes meaning out of everything - the part that makes hospital corners out of everything, trying to patch it all together into a rational whole. Which as we know only covers up all the crazy crap that we all live with every day.
I fucking LOVE that painting. I'm brilliant. Hot damn!
Oh, and here is the final Official Living Room Art painting. I love this one, too. It's much more rational. My conscious mind is happy because of all the right angles.
Next week: How to smuggle encaustic equipment into the psych ward!

5 Comments:

Blogger Denise said...

I think you ought to put your paintings on eBay - I'd totally buy them!

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Eileen said...

I love the color.

6:39 PM  
Blogger jchevais said...

Encaustic looks totally cool.

1:55 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Holy crap that artwork is Great! I LOVE Hot Mess or Nancy or what ever you want to call it. Beautiful!

9:52 AM  
Anonymous ol' biddy said...

Yowza! I came over to look at the rosaries, which I can practically feel slipping through my fingers--and then saw Hot Mess. Yes! What a cool way to link The Girls and the World Upstairs.

Look, you're making my life difficult. I don't even have time to check the Cherry Forums these days, and here I am, wondering what other treasures are on your site...must work must work mustwork.

12:26 PM  

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