Behind-the-Scenes : Art Workshop

I had the privilege, recently, of meeting one of the artists who inspired me to try working with encaustic wax in the beginning, Alicia Tormey. I attended a 7 day art retreat in western Ireland. Three days I was taught by Alicia (check out her amazing work here), and three days I was taught by encaustic wax portraiture artist, Lora Murphy (check out her amazing work here). I had not heard of Lora before this retreat, but realised I had been using the brand of encaustic wax colours that she helped to design.

Each class approached working with wax in such different ways, and opened my eyes to the versatility of this medium. Being self-taught, they also taught me a lot about ways I have been working that might not be the most effective.

In Alicia’s class, I learned how to use a propane torch to melt the wax into a beautiful fondant-like texture, and then add more wax, textures, printed transfers, and stencils for brilliant effects. Plus, I learned how to burn shellac onto the wax into stunning organic structures.

In Lora’s class, I learned how to use a paintbrush to paint with encaustic wax onto wood, paper, and fabric. We all painted portraits, and I had chosen self-portraits. I never painted a portrait before, and most of my current work doesn’t look like anything recognizable, so this was a huge challenge. Lora has been classically trained in portraiture, and could easily spot places on our portraits that needed that little extra shading or lightening or blending. By the third day, I was finally feeling like something clicked in my mind, and I was finally able to see the shadows, half-tones, and most of the many colours that are in a person’s face and skin tone.

My fellow workshop attendees were all encaustic wax enthusiasts, all in different places in their journeys with encaustic wax, some professional, some not. All of us brought a lot of talent, kindness, and laughter to the magical setting of the retreat studios.

Here are a few photos from those days.

Melted encaustic wax colours waiting to be used.

 

My first attempt at torching shellac over wax. I love the organic cell-like effects!

 

 

Me, and my torch.

 

A close-up of the shellac effects, beautiful!

 

Image transfer technique practice.

 

The inspirational views from the Essence of Mulranny Studios, where the retreat was held.

 

My practice boards from Alicia’s class.

 

The results after Day 1 of my portraiture class with Lora Murphy. Encaustic wax on birch board.

 

The results after Day 2 of my portraiture class with Lora Murphy. Encaustic wax on paper.

 

The results after Day 3 of my portraiture class with Lora Murphy. Encaustic wax on Belgian linen. (This one was my favourite, as it looks ancient and like it was uncovered at an archaeological dig!)

 

 

 

 

 

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Process : ‘Last of the Lazy Mornings’

Don’t you love it when artists share their processes, and the ways a painting gets started to where it ends up? I am a big fan of layers. I like to work on at least 5-6 paintings at once, all at different stages. That way, there is always something new to work on, my layers have time to dry before I start the next one, and if I don’t like something I did, I can cover it up with the next layer.

Here is the next in my series, showing how my paintings grow from their beginnings, through their ‘rough’ phase(s), and to the finished painting.

This is from my finished painting, ‘Last of the Lazy Mornings’. This was one of those paintings that went through so many incarnations, as it just didn’t feel like it was ever coming together into something coherent.

© 2017 Kimberli Werner, ‘Last of the Lazy Mornings’, encaustic wax, embossing foil, collage, pastel, on card stock, 10” x 12”.

I started it on a piece of cardboard that I had used in a drawing class (trying to draw a nuthatch on a log, if you look closely!), and wanted to cover up and recycle. I started out in my usual style of adding a lot of collage to build up some texture. I added some embossing foil and let it dry, then peeled it off for a little depth.

It got set aside for a bit as I worked on other pieces, and when I came back to it, I thought it needed more (and more!) collage. After adding all that extra collage, and all that extra texture, I painted over it completely with Titanium White.

Time for a do-over.

The next time I worked on it, I sprinkled some papercut remnants on it, and once again, covered it up, this time with silver encaustic wax and white paint.

This time around, something started to come together! I started rubbing paint into the new texture, pulling out the blues and oranges, for some pretty amazing results.

Phew, finally!

 

 

Like this painting? You can buy a print, or other products (throw pillows, rectangular pillow, floor pillow, notebook, greetings cards, framed art, wood wall art, carry-all pouch, or a tote bag), here

 

 

 

 

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Product : ‘We Shared the Same Sky’, prints and more

 

© 2017 Kimberli Werner, “We shared the same sky”, encaustic wax, collage, pastel, on card stock, A3 size.

The original of this painting, ‘We Shared the Same Sky’, is an A3 sized painting, and you can buy it in prints, or even a framed print, wood wall art, or as a throw pillow, rectangular pillow, or floor pillow, greetings card, tote bag, notebook, or carry-all pouch!

 

 

 

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Behind the Scenes : SCAF Emerging Artist Award

‘Just Around the Corner’, 60cm x 60cm, framed, acrylic, encaustic wax, pastel, collage, embossing foil, marble dust, watercolours, on gypsum board, £1200.

On September 19th, I attended the Artist Preview and Award announcement for the SCAF Emerging Artist Award that I entered last November. While the 10 finalists’ entries were so varied in media, story, and inspiration, all belonged in the room.

Having never gone through this exact sort of process before, I didn’t know what to expect. I chatted with some of the other artists and a few of the judges, and made my way around the exhibition, pausing to look up each artist in the exhibition catalogue and read what they said about their piece.

I didn’t win the top prize in the competition, but the Foundation will be hosting the exhibition from 21 September until 7 December at Ornham’s Hall in Boroughbridge, then it will travel to Rural Arts in Thirsk from the 2nd to the 14th of March.

They will also be promoting our work through social media, the traditional press, and events, to broaden the audience that will see our work.

Who knows what this can lead to next?

Check out this link for a list of all the finalists. Scroll down below the banner, and when you click on an artist name/photo, it will take you to a page that has photos of the artwork and also a little bit about the artist.

 

 

 

 

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Process : Video

Here’s a short video, showing a bit of playing around. I dripped some alcohol inks directly onto a work in progress, then sprayed water onto it to see what would happen. Excellent effects!

(Ignore the shaking, I was trying to hold the camera, drip the ink, and spray the water, all at the same time.)

 

 

 

 

 

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Product : ‘Spirit of Celebration’ prints and more

The original of this painting, ‘Spirit of Celebration’, is an 8″ x 10″ sized painting, and you can buy it in prints, framed prints, wooden wall art, or as a throw pillow, rectangular pillow, floor pillow, greetings card, tote bag, notebook, or carry-all pouch!

© 2016 Kimberli Werner, ‘Spirit of Celebration’, encaustic wax, acrylic, pastel and collage on canvas, 8” x 10”.

 

 

 

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Process : ‘Mantra’

Don’t you love it when artists share their processes, and the ways a painting gets started to where it ends up? I am a big fan of layers. I will be working on at least 5-6 paintings at once, all at different stages. That way, there is always something new to work on, my layers have time to dry before I start the next one, and if I don’t like something I did, I can cover it up with the next layer.

Here is the next in my series, showing how my paintings grow from their beginnings, through their ‘rough’ phase, and to the finished painting.

This is from my finished painting, ‘Mantra’. It is one of my favorite paintings, so far. This one was, at the time I painted it, the largest painting I had attempted, at 12″ x 24″.

I started with adding a lot of collage to cover up the white space. Some of that collage is made of the paper towels that I used to clean up my paint spills, some old maps, and some embossing foil.

In the second photo, you can see where I peeled off the foil, leaving a shiny abstract landscape. I was having a yellow color moment, in the third photo, and I covered it mostly in a Cadmium Yellow, straight from the tube. Then, came a bit of green and a bit of red, and some etching of squiggles through the paint and layers. On top of all that, I added some gold encaustic wax, spreading it around randomly. And, finally, I added some white paint on top of it all, rubbing it in with my fingers so it appeared cloud-like, and also so you could see the layers below it.

'Mantra' painting process

'Mantra' painting process
‘Mantra’ © 2017 Kimberli Werner, encaustic wax, collage, pastel, on gypsum board, 12″ x 24″ (30cm x 60cm).

Like this painting? You can buy a print, or other products (throw pillows, rectangular pillows, floor pillows, notebooks, greetings cards, framed art, wood wall art, carry-all pouches, or tote bags), here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you want to hear more about my artwork and processes? Sign up here…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Behind-the-Scenes : Art Workshop

One method I use for inspiration, and to sometimes kickstart me into painting again if I have hit a lull, is to attend a workshop. Recently, I attended a workshop called “Landmarks” with Alice Fox, at Lund Gallery near Easingwold. It was three days of immersion into the landscape, drawing, walking, rust printing, eco-dyeing, mono-printing, fabric dyeing, stitching, mark making, and then finally, tiny-book making. My fellow workshop attendees were from all walks of art-making, which provided fascinating conversations and approaches to the projects.

Here are a few photos from those days.

Rust printing
Rust printing, using rusty metal objects and watercolour paper, with a layer of waterproof tissue on top to keep everything damp.

 

Eco-dyeing bundles
Each of these bundles was created from silk fabric with leaves and plants smashed between the layers, then steamed and/or dipped in tea for the amazing colours.

 

Mark making
Some of the marks I made while walking, on rust printed pastel paper.

 

Leaf prints, eco-dyeing
This is one layer of my results from my eco-dyeing experiment.

 

Tiny Book
This little book, was the end result of my three days in the workshop. Each “page” holds a little bit of everything we tried – rust printing, mono-printing, mark making, drawing, eco-dyeing, and more.

 

Class Projects
This is an overview of the results from the rest of the class ~ lots of stories in there.

 

Close-up of a Butterfly Wing
While this looks like it could have been eco-dyed, it is actually a macro photo of a butterfly wing I found during class.
Birch bark
This is a macro photo of curling birch tree bark, from a tree near the workshop.
 
Feather Detail
This is a macro photo of a feather I found during the workshop.
 

 

 

 

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Product : ‘It Simply Happened’ prints and more

The original of this painting, ‘It Simply Happened’, is an A5 sized painting, and you can buy it in prints,  a framed print, or as a pillow, greetings card, tote bag, notebook, or carry-all pouch

‘It Simply Happened’
© 2015 Kimberli Werner, ‘It Simply Happened’, encaustic wax on khadi paper, A5 size.

 

 

 

 

 

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Inspiration

Inspiration finds me at odd moments. I usually try to carry my camera with me to catch these moments, but sometimes I just have to remember. A lot of times, it is a colour that I will notice that I want to try to replicate. Or maybe the way the light is hitting a leaf or branch. Or maybe I just want to see what happens when I dribble some ink on the paper and take a roller over it, and I can enjoy the randomness and chaos of the results. I also really like macro photography, and try to take macro photos of my work-in-progress, to really see what is happening at the inner levels of the painting.     

Abstract Greens Photo
© 2009 Kimberli Werner
Close-up of painting showing similar brush strokes to photograph above
Close-up of Work in Progress, © 2018 Kimberli Werner
Close-up of gate at the Guggenheim Collection, Venice
Close-up of gate at the Guggenheim Collection, Venice, © 2015 Kimberli Werner

 

Close-up of Work in Progress
Close-up of Work in Progress, © 2018 Kimberli Werner

  

 

 

 

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