The encaustic medium is magical, vibrant and translucent.  My creative muse guides, inspires and feeds my soul through this medium, mixed media and collage.  Blessing me with endless moments of creative joy and harmony...providing those ahhaa moments about life.  Join me on this creative journey, spend some time reading my musings about this life, the blessed other souls that come into contact with mine, however brief or often, that can leave everlasting imprints on our journey....perhaps our lives might share some similarities, bringing us closer and more connected...and less isolated.

"I suppose there is one friend in the life of each of us who seems not a separate person, however dear and beloved, but an expansion, an interpretation, of one's self, the very meaning of one's soul." ~ Edith Wharton

Here's to finding those expansive moments.....

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Inner Works - An Altered Book Collaborative Journey, another round comes to fruition

For Jill's book, Designs in Nature, I chose to work on it using some new techniques I learnt at the Third Annual Encaustic Painting conference...I discovered the beauty of dipping paper from Cynthia Winika's demo at the conference...It is a great way to create delicacy ...I love Jill's theme, designs in there is so much beauty in nature to inspire creativity.  I have embedded elements of nature that I consider, shells, spirals, patterns are everywhere when we look...

Jill's altered book is called "I Lift up My Lamp" and it is about Emma Lazarus, who is pictured above, and her role in bringing about the Statue of Liberty in New York.  For more work by the Inner works collaborative artists visit the blog site here!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Some recent photos and student testimonies from teaching a 5-week encaustic program

Here are some comments from the students in a recent evaluation I gave out for this class....

- I liked everything about it, the format/demos.  Nice to have everything provided.  A great sharing of ideas.  You can completely loose yourself in the art form.

- I like how you divided the time between teaching moments and working time.  I appreciated how you made available to us all your supplies.  For gave me a rare opportunity to do something creative.  Because my mother died recently, it gave me the chance to pull together all these feelings and personal icons or symbols to represent something about her life and death.

- was all very informative.  Very in depth encaustic collage course, covering a large variety of techniques.  At the end of 5 weeks, a person could feel fairly confident to try pieces on their own.

-Supria is a lovely teacher - very talented, generous and helpful.  A great teacher!

- It was really extensive, covered so many techniques..I got to see what I liked and what I didn't like
- That it is a really thorough introduction and Supria's really helpful..when it comes to what you need, where to get supplies etc. Supria is a wonderful teacher.

- Everything, Transfers.  Awesome and mystical...You rock.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Third Annual Encaustic Painting Conference - Fifth Post Conference Report 5

I had the opportunity to attend Cynthia Winika's Paper Demo at the Encaustic conference..and  what a delight it was...she is a lovely person, and instructor...I learnt a lot about papers, dipped papers, pouring medium over a piece and much more....
Here are some shots from this demo....this is the last of my encaustic conference posts...I feel like I am finally finding my way back to the 'real' world....
Getting my groove back...had a productive time in the studio this week.

Cynthia Winika is the Education Director/main teacher for R&F where she has worked since 1993. She has been an artist/lecturer at Yale, Oregon College of Arts and Crafts, San Francisco Art Institute and other schools and art centers. Her encaustic book arts are in the collections of: The Harvard Fine Arts Library, Yale University, Skidmore College, Cleveland Art Institute and other artist book collections. Her paintings and technical info are featured in: The Art of Encaustic Painting by Joanne Mattera , College for the Soul by Paula Grasdal, New American Paintings vol.56. Encaustic and Fireworks prints on paper in: Installations and Experimental Printmaking by Alexia Tala She is represented by A.I.R. Gallery, NYC. More here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Third Annual Encaustic Painting Conference - Fourth Post Conference Report 4

Wax Libris - An encaustic exhibit celebrating the book, text and the written word.

Encaustic Altered Books above created by Supria Karmakar, " Guest House" 
and " Ah What then?" 2009

This exhibit was a small exhibition of artist's books, curated  by Joanne Mattera.  The following artists were invited to participate:  Catherine NashJeanne BorofskyRaymond PapkaCherie MittenthalCari Hernandez, Julie Shaw Lutts, Daniella WoolfSandi Miot, Supria Karmakar (myself) and there were some lovely pieces by Joanne Mattera as well.

Joanne's short essay on the exhibit follows below, with her permission, I am sharing this essay that expresses each artist's piece from Joanne's perspective.  I love the flow of the words in this essay, the text is poetic and conjures visual imagery of each artists work.  

For more visual examples of the artists work please explore their websites or blogs as linked here for you to enjoy.  I have added some graphics of the artist's work; however, some of these are not the actual pieces of work that were exhibited in the "Wax Libris" exhibition.  Unfortunately, I did not get to photograph images of the actual exhibit.  Anything in the body within (  ) is my additional comments.

I feel deeply grateful to have been included in this opportunity to exhibit some of my work with such fabulous artists.....and a special hats off to Joanne who manages so much in a short time frame...She is the director of the Encaustic Painting conference, which I can only gather involves a lot of behind the scene hive of activity, we will never really be able to comprehend the buzz of activity that goes into putting together a magnificent event like this... Thank you!

Wax Libris - Short essay by Joanne Mattera

This small exhibition of artists' books, organized to run for the duration of the Third Annual Encaustic Conference at Montserrat, is set appropriately in the college’s Paul Scott Library. The artists invited to participate, conferees all, have produced objects that reflect the entire history of codified information, from the earliest clay tablets, here as words and lines scribed into wax, to scrolls and handwrought pages, to modern bound books. Some volumes are newly constructed by the artists, others transformed from library castoffs—all into works of poetry, mystery, beauty and wit.

Catherine Nash is a maker of geographically resonant objects. Their boxes and compartments include pages of handmade paper and materials such as roots, stones and cactus from the Tucson desert. Nash commits thought to form in an allegorical language of time and place.

"Boat Book" - By Catherine Nash, this is another book by Catherine Nash other than the one that was exhibited...

for some more glimpses of her work check out her website.

In Supria Karmakar’s beautiful volumes, poetry is a physical object, magic a tangible fact. With their doors and drawers, shrine-like niches, and profusion of pattern, hers are books to feel with the spirit as well as much as to read with the eyes.

Using encaustic collage, Jeanne Borofsky creates objects that are both book and icon. There is no textual narrative—pages are cut to be illegible, or actual text is obscured—so the viewer, aided by symbols and objects, is given to intuitive deciphering.

"The Key Inside" - By Jeanne Borofsky

Raymond Papka’s altered books might also be seen as “altared” books,  icon-like objects meant to hang on the wall. Tapping into science, philosophy, music and math, Papka becomes a bit of an alchemist, turning tomes on those subjects into the embodiment of the ideas they represent.

"NewtonII" by Raymond Papka

With her handwritten narratives, Cherie Mittenthal, redefines the saints to fit her world view. In one of three works here, Ambrose of Milan, “patron saint of wax melters, encaustic artists and beekeepers ” is shown giving his blessing to a figure who looks very much like the artist herself.

"Patron Saint of Wax Melters" by Cherie Mittenthal

Cari Hernandez conjures the fiercest of longings from the simplest of words. A small handmade volume titled Permission suggests a minimalist prayer book. In it,  words like peace, courage, love  and surrender are by turns suggestion and supplication, mandate and meditation.  (Her book can be viewed here!)


Julie Shaw Lutts creates miniature worlds in a box. A “daughter” of Cornell, she has staked out terrain distinctly her own, whether recollecting a visit to India or looking to a reinvented past. What surprises here is a side trip into humor: altered books aswim with fish, overflowing with rocks.

Julie Shaw's Altered books above and below

Daniella Woolf  is a secret keeper. In two small collages, snippets of her daily journals are visible for all to see, but in their deconstructed compositions, the narrative remains known to the artist alone. Her small bound volumes exist entirely outside the literal, swatchbooks for visual thought. ( Her 'Rust book' can be viewed on her website under artworks - paper, here!)


While some artists make altered books, Sandi Miot makes what you might call altered paintings using cast-off books. Spines and pages seem to emerge from primordial thought itself, embodied here as a dense, dark field of graphite and wax. ( Check out her work here.)


My own work explores the formal and reductive elements of information: dot and line. Typically rendered in thread on wax, each “page” offers the viewer what I think of as tangible haiku.  (Joanne's gallery of work can be viewed here!)

It’s a lovely irony that as we enter into an embrace of Kindle and its electronic kin, the resolute materiality of artists’ books and texts remains engaging and deeply satisfying                                                           — Joanne Mattera, curator

Friday, June 19, 2009

Third Annual Encaustic Painting Conference - Third Post Conference Report 3

Linda working with a cookie cutter...

Linda working with a prefabricated bought plastic stencil...she also showed us how to work with a stencil made of paper and cardstock.

Linda using lace to add texture, with an iron....

Today I would like to highlight a conference demo given by Linda Womack, she is the goddess of stencil and embossing with encaustic.  Her workshop was refreshing and wonderful to inspire techniques which capture the luscious depth and texture of encaustics using stencils, stamps, lace, other found objects are some photos and a great link to her fantastic blog, Embracing Encaustic, which features her very own coverage of the conference.  She has also generously offered her notes on her workshop/demonstration as a PDF doc. for those who were not part of the conference but could still gain much valuable information from this generous gift.

Her book with her husband, Bill Womack, Embracing Encaustic - Learning to Paint with Beeswax,  is a fantastic guide for those learning this new medium...and I have found many of my students have really appreciated this book. 

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Third Annual Encaustic Painting Conference - Second Post Conference Report 2

"In the Round" is another exhibit focused on encaustic that will continue to show through June in the Hardie Building, 23 Essex Street, Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, Mass.  This show is the work of Kim Bernard and Deborah Kapoor, curated by Leonie Bradbury.

The vendors at the conference were wonderful, they had great tools, supplies and tips on creating lovely encaustic pieces.  Andrea Bird, one of our travel partners from Ontario, Canada, a wax diva in her own right, had her very own vendor booth and taught two wonderful demos on using the iron....I have to admit when I first learnt with Andrea back three or four years ago..I loved the thought of using the iron but only just got into it recently via a workshop she taught...and absolutely love the tool..I would highly recommend getting one from her ...she has a new encaustic supplies business, check it out called Waxworks

Rodney Thompson makes these gorgeous custom-made art panels and I can't wait to create on the two panels I bought which have these delightful shadow boxes crafted and recessed right into the panel.  It was lovely to get to know him and his partner more over dinner the nite before we left.  Check out his work and lovely panels, at

Of course, R & F were present..their colours are truly scrumptious...yummy to look at and they make you want to start painting right away.   I love their custom colours especially made for the conference too. 

Encaustikos was another vendor at the conference, and the variety of hot tools they have was awesome...I can't wait to use my batik writer...and see what East Indian influences might come out of me from using this tool.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Third Annual Encaustic Painting Conference - First Post Conference Report 1

We have arrived, Leigh, Andrea, Georgina, Jane and Myself (behind the camera) have arrived approximately 6:45 p.m. on Thurs. June 4th to the Third Annual Encaustic Painting Conference...after 9 hours or so in the van, taking turns driving, we have arrived safely and decided to enjoy first off, the Beverly, Mass. US. shore line and beach to mark our safe arrival - Yeah!!!.

This image above, and the two below, are created by a new friend, Julie Shaw Lutts, her work is divine...she creates both two dimensional encaustic magic and assemblage and book art encaustic collage work.  Her website is fantastic, check it out!

There were many lovely exhibits to check out, here is one of them "The Luminous Landscape", Hardie Building, Montserrat College of Art.  I will post more images of other exhibits and workshops, demos etc. in the coming days.
Check out the blog for the Third Annual Encaustic Painting Conference, there are many great links, free notes from the workshops and images to get you inspired and waxing away.

In the round images to be posted tomorrow...and some clips of the vendors at the conference.
Check it out tomorrow.