Friday, April 20, 2018

Why Do I Keep going Back To Encaustic?


I have been going in several creative directions this year. I haven't settled on a series yet. You can see the variety of work that I have made at: http://www.ezshwan.com/2018-paintings.html

Finishing a portrait in oil last month, I made some more cold wax paintings, but my favorite, so far has been the "Really Red" encaustic painting. See above, alongside the Tattoo painting. The red painting is really hard to photograph because of the many layers of shiny red encaustic. I did contrast the shine with mat cold wax.

It was over 20 years ago that I fell in love with the encasutic technique when I saw it in a gallery in Portland OR.  The surfaces of the abstract paintings were like nothing I had ever seen. I left that gallery thinking, “I must find out how to do that.” There was little technical information about encaustic available at that time. I went to a Barnes and Noble, bookstore searching the shelves looking for information on encaustic. I realized later that the technical information that I found was wrong. It was the formula for cold wax, lots of stuff that should never be heated. I made mistakes, even using acrylic gesso on the supports and then having whole paintings slide off the surfaces when I returned to my Oregon studio on a sunny day.

Now we are inundated with encaustic info, some of it illuminating and beneficial, and some of it just wrong. I shutter at some of the “how to” encaustic videos I have seen. Anyone can post a YouTube video, or an online class after taking a workshop and become an instant teacher, but some of these people are not making archival work or using true encaustic. Just another reason that I love teaching encaustic workshops.

I am sorry that I can now longer access my workshop blog, so please check out the class workshop on my website, if you are interested: http://www.ezshwan.com/classes-and-workshops.html

I meet people on the street and am often greeted by, “You’re Ezshwan the encaustic artist!” I smile and avoid explaining that I can do more than paint in encaustic; however I am also flattered that I have made a name for myself with my exhibitions and classes.