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Unglazed porcelain form - 2009 - work in progress

This is a form before I began to work on it – just the way it came out of the kiln. The pieces look so raw and simple this way. I love the look and feel of unglazed porcelain. I should have the art for the show wrapped up in the next couple of weeks so I can begin photographing it. It is so exciting for me as an artist to combine the use of encaustic with a new material. Please mark your calendars for the show opening in Seattle on November 5th, 2009, at the Pacini Lubel Gallery.

Summer Dance Detail - Encaustic w/ Mixed Media 2009
I have had several inquiries regarding my process used to create this painting - Summer Dance -2009. I just found out that it has been sold so it reminded me to comment before the memory fades. This painting is encaustic with a monotype collage element and mixed media. I started with a gessoed panel (*please see my additional comment on the gesso) and layered in some tones around the edges with pigment sticks and ink. Then I brushed down a couple layers of wax to prime the surface and embedded one of my mono print images of a blue leafy branch near the center. More wax layers were then built up and distressed around it. I then painted and scratched in the foreground branch with encaustic and oil and I used a Bernzomatic torch throughout to fuse all my layers.

*I have been experimenting with the new encaustic gesso from R & F. My summation is: that unless you are working on a dark surface or doing extensive under-painting with mediums other than encaustic, it seams a bit unnecessary to gesso. I was hoping it would give me a smoother surface but it really only added an additional step to an already labor intensive process. However, I could see the benefit of this step if you wanted to paint a detailed under-painting image on the gesso first in a medium that’s compatible with encaustic such as oils.
I hope you find this informative and I will post more observations on the gesso as I work with it in the studio. If anyone has tips on working with gesso as well as hints for taking successful photos of encaustic art please share them here!


Nancy Natale said…
Thanks for posting about your process, Alicia. I agree that the gesso doesn't seem to be worth it but some people like to work off a really white surface. I always end up adding so many layers that it's a waste and/or if I want the white, I glue down some paper.

I haven't used a torch yet and think it won't come in too handy for me because of all the other materials I use with the paint, but it does give a beautiful effect as you have shown in your work.
layers said…
I did not know encaustic gesso existed. I have taken two workshops but it has been at least a year and I have not done much in my studio. I always go in and start working with my acrylic and collage mediums and the encaustic side of my studio remains empty. I would like to find out more about it.
Interesting stuff. I like your mix of image and thought over process. There is a resonance here... I adore Nick Cave work!
Flo said…
I have experimented with Evans Encaustics gesso, "Holy Grail", and have had similar results. My wax scooted around on the gesso more than it does on unprimed wood panels. The effect was not bad, but it seemed unnecessary. In most cases I use many layers, obscuring whatever surface I use. I use it now, if my wood panel has a flaw that I can't use as an opportunity.

I photograph my own work and my best results are in indirect daylight with the camera focusing a bit to the side - so the flash doesn't create a glare - or a washed out spot.