Category: painting

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

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.

Starting With Encaustic

Years ago I was doing freelance graphic design for a corporate art consulting company. The first time I entered their office I saw that they had a plethora of art scattered about and various large, less than inspiring paintings on the walls. Then I noticed something different, something I felt an instant affinity for. I was compelled to go to it and just stare. I had to know what it was and more specifically, what it was made out of. They told me it was a labyrinth by Cheryl Goldsleger and that it was an encaustic. I had heard of encaustics before, I did go to art school after all, but I guess I’d never seen one in person, and if I had, it certainly didn’t make the impression on me that this piece did. I was mesmerized.

“Encaustic, I must learn encaustic some day,” I said to myself. It seemed like an overwhelmingly daunting task to learn it at the time so I made a mental note and logged it into my “someday I’ll do that” list.

So, 14 years later, I wake up one morning and the first thing that pops into my head as my eyes open is “encaustic, I must start teaching myself encaustic—today!” I wasted no time getting to my computer to begin my research and by noon that day I had ordered supplies, a couple of how-to books and was acquiring a massive set of bookmarks to various  suppliers, artist’s sites and YouTube tutorials. Buying my hotplate was particularly exciting for some reason, perhaps it meant I was really going to do this, who knows.

The books arrived and I instantly devoured them. Then I saw the UPS man walking to my door with a box, I knew the wax was in there and I probably dislocated the guy’s shoulder yanking the package from his hand and racing it to the garage where I I had set up my new studio. Honestly, I don’t think I have ever been as excited to do anything before in my life. That was March 2011 and I have been obsessed every day since.

Here is my very first encaustic “experiment.”


I, encaustic on panel, 7.5 x 4.75"

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July 2018
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