Pre-Show Craziness

encaustic, Uncategorized

I admit I am a procrastinator. I also eat too much chocolate and drink too much coffee, but that is another post entirely. The holiday season always sneaks up on me and this year was no exception. Only this year I had also committed, last minute, to doing a show beginning the third week of December. So the usual Christmas frenzy ended in complete chaos. Not only did my stress induced self eat most of the holiday candy in the house, but my eight year old caught me trying to steal chocolate from his advent calender. Try and talk yourself out of that one!

With the holidays over and some perspective gained here are a few pictures of our pre-show preparations….and come see the actually pieces at Fosters in Durham if you are around for the next few weeks.


The making of an Icon


I have always wanted to try my hand at recreating an icon in encaustic. Using the medium icons were originally created in gave me greater insight and understanding of iconography and an appreciation of the meaning and symbolism of religious imagery. Having said that, I realize that there are specific documented ways to create iconography that I know nothing of, so I apologize in advance to those whose knowledge exceeds mine. Part of the challenge that I enjoy in creative endeavors, is finding my own way through the maze. If this leads to a dead end, then I have learned a valuable lesson, if I manage to muddle my way through, I become a better artist.

My functional work space…messy and comfy.

The icon that I chose to work with is “The Ethiopian Madonna and Child” brought to the west by Constantine in 1046. According to church tradition, she was painted by the Evangelist Luke. My first step was to apply general color on a 8by10 clay board using an encaustic iron and a selection of waxes.

Once the wax is cooled, I use a sharp metal rod to draw an outline of the icon into the wax. This can be one of the most difficult step for mistakes are hard to undo.

Now that I have the figures in place I go back with the iron and redo the background and any additional areas that do not match up with the drawing.

Once this step is completed and I am happy with the result, I heat up the encaustic stylus and start creating a general color outline.

As the icon starts taking form I add and remove layers of wax to create color, form and texture. If I get stuck I usually take a break for several hours or work on something else to give myself a fresh perspective. Sometimes, asking my 8 and 5 year old boys what they think, can be productive and at times humorous! Over the course of several days the icon takes shape.

Once the icon representation is what I have envisioned,  I add the highlights and shadows. The last step it to take a soft cloth and polish the wax into a shine.

This icon was followed by several others. There is something beautiful and serene about recreating icons. These images were a bridge for the common man to experience the divine. I feel connected to the images and hope that I in some way can bring across just a glimpse of the original intent.


Final Show of 2008


My final show of the year 2008 has come and gone. All the excitement, anxiety and stress are over with, at least until the next show in early spring!  It’s been an interesting year in the art world. With the economy struggling, it’s been difficult for many artists to make a living. But it is also an exciting time. Change is in the air! Who knows what this next year will bring?

“There’s no retirement for an artist, it’s your way of living so there’s no end to it.”

Henry Moore

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The Post Show Blues


This is the season for art shows and runny noses. I usually do several art shows around the Holidays and just finished the Watts Hospital-Hillandale Art Walk here in Durham, NC. The show has left me tired, a bit out of sorts and a little raw. This was the best one day show that I have ever done and yet it leaves me feeling exposed and vulnerable. I know, I know, it makes no sense.

I spend weeks sometimes months getting ready for a art show, putting so much time, effort and energy into creating work that I become emotionally attached to but end up having to sell

I am feeling the post show blues! I love my work and I love giving it or selling it to people that I know will appreciate the work that went into it. I want people to know what my encaustic work means to me. I bear my soul, my deepest feelings, its all there out in the open for everyone to see. Maybe that is what bothers me about art shows, the knowledge that I am opening up my inner thoughts to the world.

“Here I am ..Look at me, naked, flawed, and trying so hard to find my role in this world, mother, wife, lover, artist, friend, daughter and sister.”

Every artist needs to learn how to deal with criticism. I do not deal well with it. It is a flaw that I can’t really afford as an artist.

“You don’t like my work that I have poured my heart into? Well screw you…no one says you have to buy it!” The immature part of my nature rears its ugly head.

Both boys and I have a nasty cold. The two year old is having a difficult time nursing. The five year old stays home from school. So the three of us have been holed up amidst the show displays, canvases and boxes that are waiting to be unpacked, we watch the Wiggles, read books and build castles.

I finally got a chance to read the latest Motherverse and Juno Magazine that had been waiting for me. Apparently I am not the only crazy mother out there that is trying to find a creative outlet! It’s a good feeling knowing you are not alone!

Here are a few of my favorite pieces from the show.




                  Hidden World