Saturday, August 25, 2018

Not Every Painting is a Masterpeice

It has been a while since I have posted on this blog. One of the reasons is I have not been painting for a while. That always signals problems and difficulty getting back in my grove.

The painting I started a couple of weeks ago got worse and worse everyday that I spent hours working on it. Finally, after about a week of struggle, I realized that it couldn't be fixed and I would paint over it.

I get frustrated when I am in a creative funk. I look at paintings I made in the past and think. "I used to be able to paint. What happened?"

I was listening to a podcast about artists, including musicians and writers, who often don't recognize their "masterpieces". Time and other critics will decide. Shakespeare did not think his Hamlet was one of his greats. Beethoven also did not revere his most accomplished compositions. So we artistic creators maybe should not to be making final decisions about the quality of our work; however, I live with another artist, my youngest daughter and she has a qualified and experienced eye, and she agreed that this recent painting was not going to be a masterpiece.

See for yourself:
The figure in this encaustic painting was flat, too pretty and boring.

I added the veil and that didn't help at all

First layer of old wax and oil

Next day. I disliked the colors

I am stopping here for a while. It is not finished, but I hope to get some inspiration after two weeks of gallery sitting for a friend.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Contemplation and encaustic painting

As I mentioned in my last posting, I was in Encinitas CA for a spiritual retreat for 6 days. It was a time of meditation, contemplation and silence. After the days of not speaking, I thought I could live in silence forever; however, a daughter who lives in Scottsdale AZ, picked me up after the retreat and we talked for hours, catching up on everything since our last in-person visit a year ago.

But while in silence, I thought deeply about my life, past and present. I have been a working artist for many years. My first job as a professional was for a publishing company, right out of art school in 1955. In August I will be 84 years old. That's a lot of years of making art. I did take time off to work as an interior designer when fate offered me the opportunity to support my three daughters completely on my own. Now I am asking myself, "what do I really want to create in this last chapter in my life"?  The subject closest to my heart is painting people. I almost didn't make it out of 5th grade because I preferred to sketch my classmates than complete my math workbook.

I have worked in encaustic for 20 years, making both figurative and abstract art. I have taught encaustic workshops for 13 years. Should I quit working in encaustic? After more thought, I realized I do not want to be classified as an encaustic artist, I am an artist using many mediums, but I love using encaustic in mixed media and I do not want to stop giving classes. I get to meet wonderful people that I wouldn't otherwise.

I have some ideas for a new figurative series that probably will include encaustic and/or oil and cold wax.
I wouldn't want to stop sharing all that I know about encaustic with enthusiastic people

If you can't make it to San Miguel de Allende, I offer online classes,


Here are some photos of what I consider heaven on earth. the SRF retreat in Encinitas CA:

Here are some of the resent sales of my encaustic paintings: figurative and abstract