Saturday, February 20, 2010

Art as "fun"?

Against my inner critic's advice, I took a one-day encaustic dipping workshop at R&F Handmade Paints in Kingston, NY today.  I haven't taken an art class in, oh, let's say a (really) long time.  I had no idea what to expect other than some instruction on how to dip paper into wax, which isn't rocket science, but as it turns out takes some skill and practice. 

But what fun!  I had forgotten, or maybe never knew, how enjoyable learning a new technique can be.  It isn't exactly a new technique, either.  I've just joined encaustic artists going back thousands of years.  The first use of encaustic was to seal and waterproof the bottoms of Greek ships.  Damar varnish is one of the ingredients in encaustic medium and paint.  It is a resin collected from the same tree whose sap becomes amber when hardened over time.  Much like the amber entombs bugs and plants for us to see millenia later, so does the varnish compound fix whatever is within it - in the case of encaustic painting and collage; pigment and paper. 

Early paintings were found on mummies, and even after being buried for thousands of years, the paintings are pristine.  Its learning things like that which make me feel a connection to people throughout the ages via art.  Art is a connector.  The mummies and the artists who painted them and I are as directly connected as my table mate and I were at the workshop, as are my sister and I as I create work based around her memory, as are you and I, dear reader, as you take a look-see at a couple of my experiments.

Truthfully, I'm finding it a little difficult to write about this experience, I think because I felt so in the moment while I was working.  I'll just leave it at this:  This workshop was fun and it leaves me wanting to do more.

Encaustic and mixed media on board

I Had a Very Itchy Back
Encaustic and mixed media on board

No comments:

Post a Comment