Hidden & Revealed

I’ve started a new series of work called Hidden & Revealed. It emerged out of some of the last paintings I made for my show in April in conjunction with the shadow work I’m doing that Debbie Ford teaches. So far I’m really happy with it, however, I seem to have so many ideas popping into my head at the same time I don’t quite know what to do and often end up sitting there staring at blank panels doing nothing.

Hidden & Revealed, encaustic & mixed media on panel, 15.5 x 23.75"

Hidden & Revealed, encaustic & mixed media on panel, 15.5 x 23.75″

I think part of the reluctance to dive in is that I’m working much bigger now and I have this problem being stingy and not wanting to waste expensive materials. Previously, if I made something that I thought sucked, it was not much of a loss.

I just finished reading Debbie Ford’s The Dark Side of the Light Chasers so I know I have to do some work on my stingy, cheap, afraid to not have any money shadow self.

If you have never heard of Debbie Ford and have no idea what this shadow is that I refer to, here’s a little blurb I pulled off Amazon summarizing the concept: We know the shadow by many names: alter ego, lower self, the dark twin, repressed self, id. Carl Jung once said that the shadow “is the person you would rather not be.” But even if you choose to hide your dark side, it will still cast a shadow, according to author Debbie Ford. Rather than reject the seemingly undesirable parts of ourselves, Ford offers advice on how to confront our shadows. Only by owning every aspect of yourself can you achieve harmony and “let your own light shine,” she explains. “The purpose of doing shadow work, is to become whole. To end our suffering. To stop hiding ourselves from ourselves. Once we do this we can stop hiding ourselves from the rest of the world.”

Hidden & Revealed III, encaustic & mixed media on panel, 24 x 24"

Hidden & Revealed III, encaustic & mixed media on panel, 24 x 24″

So I’m heading down to my studio now and it is my intention to actually use some paint today. Fingers crossed!

Don't Stop Me Now by Queen on Grooveshark

Dismantling the Show

This weekend we took the show down and brought it all home. It marks the end of my first year of learning encaustic and now I am on to phase II. I’m going to work on figuring out how to make larger paintings and getting my artistic mission solidified. I think if I have an intention that is a little more focused it will help me a lot. This first year I was just trying to learn how to paint with encaustic, learn the technique. My mission artistically was basically “try not to make it ugly and horrible.” I think it’s time to move on from that idea now.


Home by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros on Grooveshark

Below the Surface : Recent Encaustics

My current exhibition at the Pagus Gallery in Norristown PA, Below the Surface, represents my exploration of and transition to the medium of encaustic throughout this past year.

Works on View: April 1st through April 30th 2012

Opening Reception Sunday April 15th 1:00pm to 4:00pm

Pagus Gallery
619 W. Washington Street
Norristown, PA 19401

Three, encaustic and oil on panel, 8 x 10.5"

Three, encaustic and oil on panel, 8 x 10.5"

Falar do Tempo by Bebo Best And The Super Lounge Orchestra on Grooveshark

Local Wax

I recently decided to start making my own encaustic medium. After almost a year of paying a fortune for the ready-made stuff, I thought I’d save some money and make it myself. It was definitely a good decision but then I started thinking that I could perhaps save even more money if I bought the wax from a local bee keeper. I knew it wouldn’t be the refined white wax but I’d been wanting to try the natural yellow version anyway so I contacted Walt’s Swarmbustin’ Honey to see if I could come over and get about 10 lbs of wax directly from him. The answer was yes and it was going to cost $5/lb versus the $10-15/lb for plain wax that I was currently paying online (not counting the shipping costs). The added bonus was that I could pick it up the next day and not have to wait forever for a shipment to arrive.

It was a lovely drive into the farm country of Chester County. All the trees were in bloom and the hills were a glowing green.

Chester County Scenery

Spotted this magical landscape on the way to the farm.

We turned onto a long driveway/road and knew we were in the right place when we started seeing these colorful beehives along the way.

Walt's Swarmbustin' Hives

Walt’s Swarmbustin’ Hives

I met Walt at his house and got my box of treasures. 10 lbs of wax, raw honey and some bee pollen. The wax smells absolutely divine.

10 lbs. of wax, some honey and bee pollen.

10 lbs. of wax, raw honey and bee pollen.


Walt (on the left)

I began making a new batch of encaustic medium as soon as I got home. It turned out very well and I have been using it for a couple weeks now. My paintings never smelled so delicious.

Finished encaustic medium.

Finished encaustic medium.

Golden by My Morning Jacket on Grooveshark

My Panel Maker

I thought I should share an important piece of my paintings — the beautifully constructed cradled panels.

When I started to learn encaustic I used any old piece of wood that I found in Lowe’s scrap bin. Soon it became obvious that what I painted on really affected the painting itself. The cheap plywood had a deep grain that was hard to overcome and the pieces were heavy. I started to look at the different substrates that were available and found that the cradled artist panels available for purchase were pretty costly and that I would also be limited to the sizes that the manufacturers had available.

Well, lucky me, I happened to be living with a person who was familiar with woodworking and was more than willing to help me out. She did a little research, bought some new gadgets and tools (probably her favorite part), took over the garage and started to crank out some fabulous cradled panels.

Thank you Marcy, without you my paintings wouldn’t be what they are and couldn’t be what they will become.

Life Is Wonderful by Jason Mraz on Grooveshark

You Never Get to Nirvana

“Something like art is a little bit like the donkey and the cart — and the artist never reaches the carrot — you never get to Nirvana, it’s not possible — because your concept, your ambition is always greater than what you’re able to achieve. You’re trying to, in a sense, imitate God, because you’re trying to be creative…”

~Sean Scully
Sean Scully Nirvana video link

Sean Scully Nirvana video link

I really have a problem with never feeling satisfied with what I’ve created and I appreciate hearing an accomplished artist such as Sean Scully essentially saying that I’m trying to do something that isn’t possible. I need to stop being so disappointed in what I didn’t achieve and see the virtue or merit in what I did create.

I’ve often wished I could see my paintings through someone else’s eyes. What does it really look like? What does another person see without knowing what I was shooting/hoping for and without my list of “that line isn’t straight, that color isn’t dark enough, why didn’t I think of x, y or z, oh there’s a scratch—damn, etc.” running through their head.

Obviously, I’ll never know, but my goal now is to start to show some kindness to the things I make and stop seeing them as something that fell short of the mark. If I don’t, I’ll never go anywhere with this because it will become so disappointing the joy will be sucked out of it. It would be like telling your child they’re a worthless waste of oxygen their whole life and then wondering why they never amounted to anything as an adult.

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