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Hot Off the Palette: Two New Photo Encaustic Pieces

Shady Side

Photography is my first love and I enjoy it immensely, but sometimes it’s fun to expand on photography and take it in new directions.

Recently I’ve been working a lot on combining photographs with encaustic. I’ve been printing photos on Hosho paper and then embedding them in clear encaustic medium. I’ve also printed them on watercolor paper and used acrylic gel medium to adhere them to the board before covering the photos with encaustic medium.

Neither of those processes excites me much.

Summer Glow

Then I tried transferring a color laser print of the photo onto the wax surface and fusing it. Called a “water transfer,” in this process the toner becomes part of the layer of wax. After a couple more thin layers of clear encaustic medium, I enhance the piece with watercolors and oil sticks.

Now that’s a LOT more exciting!

So for the past couple of months I’ve been experimenting with photo transfers and encaustic. I’m calling them “photo encaustics” for lack of a better term.

Garnet Ghost Town

I was in Missoula, Montana, last year for a photography workshop at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography. We were so busy during that week I didn’t have a chance to explore the area as much as I would’ve liked.

Last week I headed back to Missoula with Wendell to have a look around. In reading up on Missoula and that part of Montana, I discovered Garnet Ghost Town: “Montana’s Best-Preserved Ghost Town.” And it IS very well preserved.

There are two routes that’ll get you there from Missoula, and one of them is a heck of a lot easier than the other, something we found out the hard way.

Once you arrive, you walk down the path toward the town, which sits below the parking area. There’s a self-guided tour of the buildings that are still standing, and the setting is beautiful. The Well’s Hotel is particularly interesting because of the peeling wallpaper, decrepit furniture, old beds, and other objects inside. It’s difficult to imagine living and working in that little town, mining the gold and enduring so much hardship.

If you’re ever in the area, Garnet Ghost Town is definitely worth the visit. Just be sure to take the easy road.

A New Encaustic Photo Transfer: This Time It’s a Rooster

I’ve been working on some new encaustic pieces during the past two weeks. Inspired by the image transfer demonstration I saw at the encaustic conference back in June, I’ve been trying my hand at a few of these “water transfers.”

The process requires patience, which isn’t really one of my strengths! It’s worth it though when the paper is rubbed away and the image has transferred nicely into the surface of the wax.

I started with a cropped version of one of the photos I took during the 2011 Fields Project. I added layers of wax, oil stick, and even used a paper doily to add texture.


Grant’s Roosters, I, will be included in the Power of Color III show at Gallery West. The show opens on Wednesday, August 3, 2011, with an artists’ reception on Saturday, August 13, from 5 to 8 pm.

From the Shenandoah Mountains to Cape Cod

I spent the July Fourth weekend in the beautiful Shenandoah Mountains again this year. Our friend has a house there and it’s one of my favorite places to spend time.

There’s an old farmhouse on the property and it’s so much fun to photograph. I feel like I can never do it justice.

old farmhouse

In other news, I’m finally back in the studio working on some encaustic painting. The Fifth International Encaustic Conference I attended the first weekend in June In Provincetown, Massachusetts, recharged my waxy batteries and gave me lots of cool ideas to think about.

I enjoyed the talks I attended at the conference, too. “Taking The Leap” by Jhina Alvarado was all about selling yourself as an artist and getting work into galleries. Tania Wycherley gave a presentation on Advanced Image Transfer that was terrific. She demonstrated how she divides images up in Photoshop so she can transfer larger images to a prepared encaustic surface.

I left Cape Cod champing  at the bit to try out some of the techniques I saw. The Old Farmhouse photograph is one of the images I’m going to use in an image transfer.

So, back to work I go.


(Sub) Urban Knitting: A Tree Cosy Commission

I stopped in Ohio to visit my family on the way to and from the Fields Project in Illinois. My Mom saved an article from the local paper about yarnbombing. She really liked the idea and so she commissioned me to knit a cosy for a tree in the front yard.

The neighbors are completely baffled by the whole thing. Just about everyone asked, “What’s the purpose?” My parents just laugh. Guess that’s where I get my nutty sense of humor.

I’ve got a couple other pieces in the works for my parents house and hope to have them finished and installed by mid-September.

All the photos from the front-yard tree cosy commission are at Knits da bomb, a set on Flickr.