Tuesday, April 16, 2019

What Have I Done?

I just got these two big boards from the carpenter. When I ordered them, 100 cm x 150 cm, ( 39 1/2" x 55") , I did not plan ahead. I went to pick them up Saturday and found that they were too big for my little car. I ordered a truck for Monday morning. When I got to the carpenter's workshop, the driver wasn't there. Not surprising in Mexico. I drove home and my daughter offered to use her larger car to retrieve the boards. They are now in my studio, overwhelming everything else, including me. The first free day I have this week, I will start with a few layers of white milk paint.

I wonder if I had been feeling very creative when I ordered them, or just ridiculous. These will be the largest encaustic painting I have ever made. Finishing the 48" x 48" Tetraptych was exciting enough to make me take on the challenge of creating an even bigger encaustic painting, or two. I will post process photos.

The last creation of the Lightness of Being series 48" x 48"

Sunday, March 24, 2019

I Am Not An Encaustic Artist

I have lived in San Miguel de Allende for over 14 years and have and have taught the encaustic technique here for almost that long. My earlier gallery shows were concentrated on encaustic painting, but I am ever seeking to expand my artistic visions and as of late I am incorporating encaustic with other compatible mediums to push the boundaries.

People still introduce me a the encaustic artist and I have been correcting them saying, "I am an artist and use/or have used used most other techniques and often use encaustic." Of course I still teach and am happy to instruct beginners on how to paint in encaustic as well as taking other, more advanced students in an exciting journey using many advanced techniques.

Here are some examples of some of the techniques I have used over the years:
oil and collage in the background

scratch board, album cover


encaustic and shellac

encaustic with taped edges


acrylic mural

casein, done 65 years ago

welded steel, about 50 years ago; I also carved in wood and stone and lost wax cast in bronze 



ink sketch

charcoal pencil

oil and collaged border
cold wax and oil

cold wax and oil

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Nobody said it would be easy

I want my latest series to look spontaneous and free flowing. It is not easy for me to do that. I work for days, sometimes weeks to finish the larger of the Lightness of Being series. http://www.ezshwan.com/new-work.html

A couple of weeks after a painting is finished, I forget how hard it was for me to accomplish the result I want and start thinking about the next one.

So far I have made about 14 paintings and I have ordered 4 more boards from the carpenter. So if a diptych is two panels and a triptych is three than what is a four panel piece of art called? TETRAPTYCH (I had to look this up. I had wondered for years, but Google gave me the answer)

Here is the beginning stage

A couple of weeks later.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Private or Group Encaustic Classes

Noreen. After the close of her 2 day private workshop

working with the hot encaustic paint, oil sticks and transfers 

Learning how to use the torch

   14 years ago, when I was new to San Miguel de Allende, a guest on my studio excitedly said, "You work in encaustic! I am taking encaustic classes at Bellas Artes."

    I responded, "What is the formula that you are using?" She told me and I was horrified. It really was the recipe for cold wax that contains solvent that should NEVER BE HEATED.

   "That could kill you!" I said and explained that was undoubtedly the reason she was getting headaches after the class.

   She said, "Why don't you teach?"

   And that was the beginning of 13 years of teaching the encaustic workshops.

   I am privileged to have shared this exciting technique with hundreds of students, some of which have become dear friends.

  At this point in my life, I no longer post dates of the classes. I ask that interested people choose dates that work for them and brings friends for a group class or choose a private workshop.
Of course I can share more techniques in a private class and guide the participant to create what has the most interest for the participant.
    For more information on the classes:http://www.ezshwan.com/classes-and-workshops.html

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Is It Something In The Air?

Some people have expressed surprise at my newest series, "The Lightness of Being", since it seems like such a departure from my previous work.

I have asked myself, 'Where did this come from?" I go back and forth from figurative to abstract, but these paintings are encaustic and mixed media with a lot of mark making,

The work in this series does change with each painting as I incorporate various techniques. It was a new direction for me; then I began to see similar work online; very similar, but usually painted with acrylic rather than encaustic. Is the energy and inspiration for this style in the air, the cosmos? These other artists do not live close to me, nor would I have ever seem them if it weren't for Pinterest and other art sites.

I remember seeing an exhibit from the Society of Layerists about 15 years ago in the Southern Oregon University and thinking, "Perhaps that is what I am - a layerist. The Society of Layerists in Multi Media describe their artist process as:

"SLMM’s late mentor, expressed an idea that is relevant to Layering: "Energy that connects everything is a cosmic web— this includes information from the collective unconscious, the metaphysical as well as the physical."..."The society reports that many members follow a personal path of aesthetics combined with an active interest in wholeness."'..

I now claim to be a layerist. I don't feel the need to join the society, just keep painting.

Below is a painting from a series that I made several years ago. Very different, don't you think?

I still love painting figuratively, but I want to keep painting abstractly for the time being.

Here is the finished work. The Lightness of Being #11, It is heavy with encaustic

This was a few weeks ago. 

This was after many days of work where I was getting frustrated and covered everything with muted white encaustic

Monday, January 28, 2019

Process of an Encaustic, Mixed Media Painting

I was looking forward to working an a larger board for the latest "The Lightness of Being" It is 47"  x 35 1/2 "

It all started out well. After a couple of layers of milk paint, I added the watercolor and diluted inks. I begin each painting in the series this way. I continued for several days building the under painting; adding and removing until I felt it was ready to be encompassed in a couple of layers of clear encaustic. After I applied and smoothed  the clear and white encaustic, I did a lot of scraping and added stenciled patterns.

After more than a week of working on this, my energy faded and my eyes stopped seeing. Each painting in this series has its own life, but this one seemed to be getting darker and heavier. I stopped, hung in on a wall and will live with it for a while, and see if I feel more comfortable with it and move on to the next one in the series.

The first day.

The third day

5th day



I did received a surprise award this week for another painting in this series.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

New Year, New Work, New Students and Adventure in Mexico City

New bigger boards.
 The holidays were quiet and enjoyable. I finished a couple more "Lightness of Being" mixed media and encaustic, while waiting for the carpenter to make some bigger cradled boards for me.

Last weekend we went to Mexico City to absorb exciting visual experiences, and culinary taste treats.
Came back to clean the studio and welcome 2 delightful women to an introductory encaustic workshop.

16" x 16"

10" x 10"

Graciela Iturbide photo from the exhibition at Palacio Cultura in Mexico City

Palacio de Cultura where the exhibition was held

Sunday morning music, breakfast and books

encaustic workshop

Ellen. She had never painted anything before


Royal roasted salad at the CedrĂ³n restaurant in Mexico City

Here's how they serve the wine

Casa Lamm in Colonia Roma, Mexico City

Mirrored maze installation outside of the Tamayo museum