Monday, September 17, 2018

An Encaustic and Cold Wax Adventure

This painting has been a long journey through the dissatisfaction with the prettiness of my first idea of a woman holding a scarf that is blowing in the wind. In my mind I saw the ethereal possibilities of the encaustic painting. The original background pleased me and from then on it was a struggle. I finally gave up and decided to destroy my figurative encaustic painting by painting over it with oil and cold wax medium. I almost gave up, but kept working. The end result has a wonderful, textured surface, Follow the sometimes agonizing process; It took over a month.


Encaustic under painting


laying in the figure in encaustic

I took out her knee and began refining the hand

I thought the veil might make it right. It didn't

I gave up and started mark making over it

layering on the cold wax and oil

Can you believe this is all the same painting

What happened?

More layers and a change of palette 

more and more layers

I decided to soften all the hard edge geometric pattern by painting a realistic flower in a circle

I softened the flower with two layers of clear cold wax medium and brought some balance in the composition.

It is finished.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Abstract or Figurative?

I am working in the Vandiver Gallery 5 days a week where I meet new art lovers. Many are Spanish speaking. I do live in Mexico, and it is my responsibility to speak their language.


Many of the visitors also speak English and they kindly ask me where I am from. My accent gives me away. I do go to a private Spanish conversation class once a week, but I still need a lot more practice. I have heard that leaning, or attempting to learn a new language prevents the onslaught of Alzheimer's disease. Let's hope!

Just when I think I have figured out what my collectors want, I am surprised.  I had been convinced that abstracts sold better than figurative, but my figurative paintings are getting more attention. I have 6 more weeks in the gallery. It will be interesting to see if this enthusiasm continues.

My classes are getting more interest, especially when I explain the encaustic process and cold wax medium. I look forward to teaching more workshops.

The images bellow are cold wax medium on canvas paper. I am switching to cradled boards now and I will post more when they are finished.








Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Painting With Cold Wax and Oil.SOLD

The finished painting

The second day

            The painting pictured above was sold before the paint was completely dry. 

My work is in the Vandiver Gallery in the popular La Aurora that is the largest concentration of contemporary art galleries and design studios in San Miguel de Allende. It is housed in the trendy Fábrica La Aurora, a remodeled raw-cotton factory on the north end of town. And I am painting there everyday for the next two months. It is a good thing that I can work and talk at the same time.

I am paintings on small pieces of gessoed canvas, that I put in a white mat when finished. I also am working on abstract pieces. I'll photograph them and share later.

I am there Wednesday through Sunday. Since the Internet connection in the  Gallery is next to impossible, I have been working on small cold wax and oil paintings. There ventilation is not appropriate to use encaustic. When a painting sells, we have to leave the gallery and go to the coffee shop so I can access PayPal.

Along with wpainting everyday, I am getting to practice Spanish with the gallery visitors. I need to perfect the Spanish explanations of the technical aspects for painting with wax. 

I realized that many of the Mexican visitors to the gallery speak English better than I speak Spanish.

I am looking forward to teaching more workshops in cold wax, and of course encaustic. Even though, at this time. I don't have much time to work on social media , I did get my workshop blog updated: http://ezshwan.blogspot.com  

Follow me on Instagram. I post everyday. @eschwanwinding

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, https://vimeo.com/251237255

and https://vimeo.com/ondemand/4167

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





Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Inspiration and Print sale

I have been int the States for 2 weeks and am just catching up with social media and gardening.

The first 6 days I was at a glorious retreat in Encinitas CA. It was a time of silence, mediation, and contemplation, right by the ocean.I had felt a creative void before I arrived. Slowly my enthusiasm to create came back and now I just have to find time to order more boards get into the studio.

I the mean time I am offering a 5 day print promotion o one of my favorite paintings. The original sold. https://fineartamerica.com/weeklypromotion.html?promotionid=232696






Saturday, June 30, 2018

How To Choose Art For Your Home.

A Williams Parks" oil in my bedroom
I worked as an interior designer for 10 years when I was the sole support of my three daughters and I always told clients that they should choose art as if they are choosing a friend. It will be something to live with for a long time, something that cheers you when you look at it, and is doesn't matter if it matches the sofa!

There are times when we outgrow our friends and our art collections. Both come from an increased awareness of what qualities we want in our associates and our homes. With art, often it comes with growing realization of talent, skill and message of the artist. You can learn about art by looking at a lot of it.

Whenever I was in a gallery or museum and encountered a painting that I didn't like, often I would sit down and study it. What was about it that put me off? What was this painter trying to say? What didn't I understand about it? Frequently, I changed my feeling about the work. Not always.

I share a home with a daughter who is also an artist and had been an art dealer in San Francisco for 18 years. She knows more about art than anyone I have ever met. We do confer about what gets hung in our home, and we know the importance of changing the placements of the art at least every 6 months. It is like seeing the art anew.
Here are some photos of the art in our home.
In the foreground are 2 of my cold wax paintings. In the background by the entrance, is an encaustic painting by Cynthia Hamilton

In the kitchen, yes art belongs in every room, is one of my favorites over a shelf. I do not remember the name of the Spanish artist, but I never get tired of looking at this moody piece. 

Living room. Left is an encaustic painting of mine. In the middle is an exquisite drawing of Arranz-Bravo, an artist from Barcelona. top right a Miró

Another of my favorites, "Carmen" oil on lead. 

An encaustic painting by Cynthia Hamilton in the guest bathroom.