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Tag: felicia touhey

From Photo to Photo Encaustic

In my previous blog post I mentioned a talk I gave last week to a group of people looking to pursue art, writing, and other creative practices after retiring from “regular” jobs. Several of the participants expressed interest in what the my images looked like before becoming encaustic paintings so I thought I’d post a few examples.


This leaf is actually a solar print made during a printmaking class a few years ago. I scanned the print and made a few minor changes in Photoshop, including making it a bit more contrasty and truly black and white.


(Encaustic work is always best seen in person. It’s got fabulous texture, luminosity, and dimension that just doesn’t show up in a photograph or on a screen.)

This piece is called “Rescue Work.” I won an honorable mention with it at the Dayton Visual Arts Center last year!


Here are a couple more before-and-after examples:



I took this photo on a trip to Uluru in Australia. I was blown away by the clear blue sky and the red sand. Visiting Uluru and the Red Centre was an unbelievable experience.


This piece is one of the first encaustic experiments I ever tried. During an encaustic workshop with my friend Felicia Touhey, she suggested incorporating collage elements into our encaustic paintings. I found some bark paper at the craft store and had a go at recreating the photo.



Transforming photographs and prints into encaustic paintings can be a lot of fun! The possibilities are endless.

A Waxy Weekend in Provincetown

Susan in Provincetown

I recently returned from Provincetown, MA, where I attended the Sixth International Encaustic Conference. Over the course of three days, attendees are overwhelmed with information, art, and good food.

This is the second year I’ve gone to the conference, and the best part for me has been catching up with Felicia, who got me started with encaustic in the first place. Two other members of the Newport Encaustic Posse, Judy and Kathy, also went this year. It was so much fun to catch up with them during the weekend. Here Judy and Kathy are enjoying dinner at Napi‘s, a quirky restaurant with delicious food and great service. I highly recommend it!

The conference itself was a mixed bag. Many of the presenters seemed reluctant to share information about their process. In the words of Suze Orman, “Are you kidding me?!” My work will never in a million years look like another artist’s work, no matter how hard I try. Also, there always seemed to be a few technical difficulties in the main room. For example, the microphone slowly slipped down to waist level for every demo/presentation I attended. And the camera over the work surface is a great idea, with a giant screen allowing everyone in the room to see what’s happening. Except that the lighting on the surface was terrible and you couldn’t see what was happening.

I loved Mo Godbeer‘s talk about encaustic artists in Australia. She played some Men at Work and had a sense of humor about things. It occurred to me that more than a few conference attendees took things a little too seriously. After all, making art is supposed to be enjoyable, right?

Supria Karmakar‘s altered bookmaking demo was also terrific. Talk about contagious enthusiasm! Her work is so appealing: her color palette, the imagery she uses, the textures, and the dimensionality are so wonderful.

The lunches on Saturday and Sunday were much better than at last year’s conference. The Provincetown Inn, where the whole event took place, provided a fantastic buffet of salads, cheeses, coldcuts, breads, desserts, and drinks. It really was very nice.

The weather was grim for most of the conference, except for the first day. Friday night was perfect for walking from gallery to gallery for all the openings. Many of the galleries had encaustic works in their shows, but there were lots of other media, too. Felicia got two pieces juried into “Confluence: The Embrace of Water and Light” at Kobalt Gallery. Here’s Felicia with her two works:

Felicia Touhey with two of her encaustic paintings

(The photo of me with the whale at the top of this post was taken during a visit to P’town in 2010. Thank you, Wendell!)

One Thing Leads to Another: How I Discovered Encaustic


I recently joined Felicia Touhey for her three-day encaustic painting workshop and now I can say I’m officially in love with encaustic.

My interest in working with encaustic began a couple of months ago when I was in New Bedford, MA, for the first time and came across the Judith Klein Art Gallery. Ms. Klein had a couple of encaustic-over-photo pieces hanging on the wall of her gallery and I liked them very much. (Unfortunately I don’t remember the name of the artist.) I’m always looking for interesting new things to do with my photos.

I did some Googling and got a couple of books at the library and decided to give encaustic a try. Luckily, the workshop came along at about the same time.

Which leads me to one of the things I enjoy most about pursuing creative endeavors: I have the chance to see and enjoy other artists’ work, learn from them, and even become friends with them. During the workshop I met sculptors, painters, printmakers, and other photographers. And that’s not even counting all the wonderful people I’ve met online! These kind and talented artists have been completely open to sharing their experiences with a complete beginner like me. I really appreciate their generosity.

The small encaustic piece above started out as a solar print made during a printmaking workshop I did in Australia. I was never all that excited about the print for some reason, but I scanned it and reprinted it on Hosho paper using my inkjet printer. I used it as the basis for this encaustic painting and I like it much better!