Monday, October 30, 2006

Encaustic Anniversary

My wax birthday/anniversary is today. I don't know the exact date, so I use October 31 as my anniversary. I saw my first encaustic painting (except for all the Jasper Johns-which I didn't even know were encaustic) in 2001, at a Day of the Dead Show up on Whidbey Island at what was then called the Bayview Gallery. Two paintings by Lynn Hayes with poured surfaces in which she had embedded bone and her father's clairnet reed. They also contained dried sunflower petals and some "writing" on the surface of the wax. I had a visceral reaction. My mouth was agape (with the mouth wide open, as in wonder, surprise, or eagerness-this accurate definition from, and my arm outstretched hand reaching to touch the surface. My solar plexus vibrating in delight. I blurted, "What is this, and how do you do it?" Fortunately, Lynn was there and said, "Oh it's wax, and you use an iron or a heat gun." Immediately I went home, got out candles and an iron and began dripping, ironing, smoking and coughing, using the hairdryer and trying to collage down papers. It was pathetic. I wish I still had those early experiments. They were atrocious (shockingly bad or tasteless; dreadful; abominable-this also perfect definition from When encaustic artists get together and we tell our "first stories" how we remark that 99% of the time, the story is all about the SURFACE. How it drew us in with it's seductive color and skinlike texture. How luscious and luminious. Oh don't get me started, or I'll have to stop writing and paint!
These past five years have been an amazing journey. I know now that my body has such wisdom, far greater than my mind, and if she is giving strong signals, I know that I must follow. In these short wonderful 5 years, I have found:

1 comment:

kate said...

I didn't know Jasper Johns works were encaustics either and I've loved them forever. In fact, I have a giant poster of "Green Target" - one of my favorites - in my kitchen and have had it for years, never knowing ...