Monday, June 14, 2010

Sunday at the Conference

Man, this blogging on a schedule stuff is hard work! I've set a precedent for myself that I'm finding hard to keep up with. It's life vs. blog and I think life is winning.

Sunday was another fabulous day at the conference. I began by giving my presentation on art blogging, for which I created a blog called All Info on Art Blogging. You can link to it here or use the permanent link in the sidebar to the right. The blog was meant to replace a hand-out and designed to contain all in information you would need to set up an art blog. The presentation turned into a kind of fiasco for me when I discovered that Blogger had changed its design format in the previous couple of days and I was unfamiliar with the new setup. Awkward! But friends who witnessed my embarrassment told me that at least it provided comic amusement so it wasn't a total loss.

Taking Your Show on the Road

Reni Gower, Fragments: CC, 2009, 59"x65", canvas, acrylic, cheesecloth, plastic, aluminum screen, rug-hold, wood.

Next on the docket for me was a wonderful presentation by Reni Gower called "Taking Your Show on Road". Reni is a professor in the Painting and Printmaking Department at Virginia Commonwealth University and spoke about organizing four traveling exhibitions that she has curated and participated in as an artist. She shared valuable information about choosing artists and art, finding venues, putting together a budget, shipping and insurance, communicating with artists and venues and many other items which only a vast amount of experience has provided.

I took copious notes on her six "Checkpoints" of organization. I have always wanted to organize a traveling show and now I have at least the basis for considering it more thoroughly. I know that after you have had the experience of putting one show together, you realize that the amount of effort it took should really be spread out over more than one event. Unfortunately, by the time I have gotten shows off the ground, I am usually so exhausted that I never want to hear about them again. But maybe Reni's presentation will help me in the future. I can only hope.

Patterned Effects and Visual Texture

After another tasty box lunch and a meeting, I was very happy to finally watch a demonstration by Greg Wright that I had been looking forward to since the conference roster was announced.  Greg is a master of texture in his encaustic work, and demonstrated various materials that he uses to get those great effects. What was so wonderful about the demo to me, besides the technical information, was Greg's enthusiasm for the work and excitement about creating and appreciating the happy accidents that occur repeatedly. We were all wowed by the effects he is able to achieve - mainly with powdered pigments plus water and/or shellac - and shared in his admiration for the materials.

Greg Wright showing a sample board

An important part of Greg's presentation was demonstrating the methods he uses in his own studio to reduce the hazards associated with powdered pigments and shellac. He is extremely careful and always conscientious about minimizing his exposure. I was very wary about using these materials prior to his demo, but now I am considering them after seeing how they can be handled in an appropriate way. Wait till I show you some of the sample boards with textures that Greg demonstrated. These textures are what really won me over.

Powdered pigment and water over Titanium White encaustic with Indian Yellow encaustic on top

Powdered pigment and water with encaustic under and over

The varied effects are achieved by varyinig the thickness of the application of pigment/water and the amount of time that the mixture is left to dry.

While extremely leary of it, I was also interested in the use of shellac with encaustic. I knew that it had to be lit on fire, but didn't really understand the material or process. Greg explained that Shellac was composed of lac from the Asian lac beetle that was dissolved in denatured alcohol. The denatured alcohol is what burns off when you light it. Fumes from the burning alcohol can give you a headache, he warns, so this process should only be used in a very well-ventilated indoor space or, preferably, outdoors.

Greg applying the torch to light a sample board where shellac has been applied over titanium white encaustic

A flaming panel - it will extinguish itself when all the alcohol burns off, usually a matter of seconds. NOTE: Don't try this unless you know what you are doing!

A sample board showing amber shellac after it has been burned

Another board with shellac and powdered pigments. If a second coat of shellac is applied after the first coat has been burned off, it will darken in color.

A sample board with water and shellac mixed with charcoal and powdered graphite

Greg showing another demo panel prepared with various techniques

Closeup of the sample board he is holding above. (Transfer and collage with various techniques on top.)

A closeup of texture on one of Greg's finished paintings. See more of his work here.

Conference Wrap-up

You can imagine that after taking in all this information and interacting with many friends and new acquaintances, I was exhausted. However, I did get a second wind after resting with my feet up for a while. I managed to stay awake for the Conference Wrap-up where Joanne summed it all up for us and a name was drawn for a free entry to next year's conference.

Here's Eileen Goldenberg at left doing her pre-drawing dance in which she's putting the spin on the juju (or some damned thang).

The winner of the drawing was Suzanne Arnold. She is the one with the giant smile and a reddish scarf near the center of this photo. Congratulations, Suzanne! See you next year.

More to Come

Today (Monday) is the first day of the Post-Conference Workshops. I am taking Miles Conrad's workshop, Off the Wall: Encaustic in Three Dimensions. Here are a couple of images of 3D encaustic pieces Miles made using the techniques he will be teaching today.

Miles Conrad, Orbs Series

A hairy-looking Orb


Pamela Farrell said...

Wow!!! Thanks NN for doing all this hard work and blogging the conference. I had a great time at my BFF's wedding, but at the same time I knew I was missing some really great wax stuff. Your blogs have been a wonderful way for me to stay informed.

Thea Schrack said...

Thank you so, so much for taking the time to enlighten us folks that are not there!

jane longman said...

Hi Nancy,
I was unable to make it to this years conference, thank you for offering such a comprehensive window on this years events!
All the best,

layers said...

hello. while you were at the conference I was down near Lincoln City, OR at Sitka where I took a workshop from Elise Wagner on encaustic and monoprint-- I have taken 2 previous workshops on encaustic and I sometimes will cover a collage with clear beeswax-- anyway Elise told us about the conference and your name was mentioned. thanks for the updates.

Sharon Barfoot said...

Thank you for taking me on the journey. I intended to get to this conference this year but life/work got in the way. I will be sure not to miss it next year.

Nancy Natale said...

Pam, we all missed you and so many people said to say hi to you. Next year, no excuses.

Thea and Jane, thank you so much for commenting. I hope you both are there (here) next year.

Donna, how nice to hear that you are studying with Elise Wagner. I don't think that we have ever met but so many speak highly of her. Of course I am familiar with her beautiful work. I hope you're enjoying working with encaustic and expect to see you at the conference next year, too.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Nancy!
Thanks for sharing all the stuff about the shellac and pigments in water. And attending your seminar on blogging WAS hilarious; I really suffered with you because of blogger's tripping you did a great job under the circumstances.
It was great to meet you!
Until next year,
P.S. I try to blog too at the end of each day and know how brain-dead I can be by that time. Your posts are still beautiful and coherent...;-)

Leslie Avon Miller said...

I love your reports Nancy! "See" you after you get some rest!
And as an artist with a very sensitive respiratory system I suggest burning be done outdoors. Also respirators are your best friend around fumes. The effect was stunning!

Nancy Natale said...

Thanks so much for commenting, Zappha, Thea and Leslie. Hearing from you all is what makes this worthwhile. It's just great to know that people are reading. And I love being able to tell those not able to attend about our wonderful encaustic conference. I hope you all will make it there next year. It only gets better and better - thanks to the incomparable Joanne Mattera.

linzyarnott said...

Wow this is amazing! Where is this conference held? I would love to attend if there is another one!! Thanks so much for sharing!!!