Encaustic Mixed Media: Wine Corks, Playing Cards, Scrabble Tiles, and Letters

Wine Cork Mixed Media, Finished Piece

Recently, I was asked by a family friend do do a commissioned work of art for her husband’s sixtieth birthday. I was flattered, and excited for the prospect of a new project. It all began with a very large bag of corks from wine Buddy and Margaret (lovingly called Uncle Buddy and Aunt Margaret, as they have been a part of my family since my parents were in high school) had enjoyed over the last 30 years. She mentioned she liked my mixed media pieces, and hoped I could incorporate the corks into the work of art. It was easy having a client like Aunt Margaret, because she appreciates art, is open minded, and has amazing ideas that helped me work towards the final piece.

When the first package of corks arrived, ideas immediately began buzzing. We discussed prices and sizes, and settled on a large, 36″x48″ panel as the base. I decided I would use the corks, and I wanted every inch of the panel covered with them. They would create the base texture for the overall piece. Since I was working so heavily with corks, I opted for a wine theme, to bridge the material with the imagery.

While I was planning out a rough design, Aunt Margaret began discussing the project with family members. As they talked about the future creation, stories of Uncle Buddy began to be swapped, sand volcanoes on the beach, the endless search for sharks teeth, his love for all things boards games and card tricks. As the family reminisced Aunt Margaret decided she wanted a type of “Buddy search,” a bigger image filled with all things Buddy hidden in the layers and objects. Soon after, I received another package filled with sharks teeth, newspaper clippings of Uncle Buddy’s high school football career, and beautiful letters written between Aunt Margaret and Uncle Buddy, while he was in the military.

Wine Corks Stage 1 and 2

As we threw ideas back and forth, it began to take form in my mind, and become a reality on the wood panel. I started by cutting corks in half, and gluing them to the panel to create a pattern in the background. I used whole corks to form the wine bottles, to create a sense of depth between the bottles and background. I cut wine corks in strips to go under the wine bottles, and define a tabletop space. At the very bottom I cut wine corks into circular sections to create a wave like pattern, reminiscent of the beach, and Hilton Head Island where they have spent much of their time.

To reference Uncle Buddy’s interest in cards and scrabble, I incorporate both into the piece. I decided to make it appear as though scrabble tiles where pouring out of the sideways wine bottle, spilling over a card game. I also used the tiles in the background, and spelled out each name in their family: Buddy, Margaret, Andrew, and Aaron. I’m still not sure this is a part they have discovered yet, but I enjoyed every minute of creating this personal scavenger hunt.

Wine Corks Stage 3

Once the base layer was complete, I added thin, art paper over top. I knew from the beginning I would cover the entire piece with encaustic wax. When the encaustic is melted onto certain types of paper, it create a semi-transparent look. I often play with encaustic and collage, and I was excited to have the additional elements of the corks, tiles, and cards added. I used different types of paper to distinguish the different areas, tacked it down with hot glue, then began painting the many layers of melted encaustic wax.

Wine Corks Stage 4

As I layered the wax, I also began incorporating copies of the letters and newspaper clippings. Although Aunt Margaret encouraged me to use the originals, I couldn’t bear to essentially ruin these family memories. I made high quality color copies, to maintain the ink color, and match them as close to the originals as possible. I scattered the envelopes and letters along the top, bottom, and behind the wine bottles. I also decided to layer the wine bottles with ripped up sections of the letters to tone down the dark green and create an interesting pattern with the mix of handwriting.

Once I finally achieved a fairly smooth, wax surface, and was satisfied with the placement of the letters, I began painting. I added wine glasses, olives, and shadows to help define the sections further. A number of times I added something, only to remove it the next day. The piece transitioned from light, to a dark background, from one to two to three wine glasses, it was continuously changing and I couldn’t seem to find my stopping point.

After seeking out second opinions from my wonderful husband and mom, I decided to add dark shadows to certain areas to create more contrast. I finally began to strike a balance in the piece, I was finally seeing the end.

Bottom Details

I emphasized the separation between the table and the background with a harder, dark line. The shadows under the wine bottles were emphasized, as well as around the letters.

Detail, Letter and Scratching

I also began scratching into the surface of the wax to create crosshatched shadows.

Detail, Glass with Olives

I darkened the shadows around the wine glasses to help the white highlights pop. As I painted in the glasses and olives, I opted for a semi-transparent look. I left the olives with see through centers, and a more sketchy feel. I love the play between the background and foreground.

Wine bottle details

The wine bottles finally began to pop, the letters stood out against the background, and your eye was drawn around the piece. It finally felt complete.

Wine Cork Mixed Media, Finished Piece

I was very pleased with the end result and excited it was going to a family I already love so much, to be hung in their living room. I know they will look at it and appreciate it every day.

Wine Corks Ready to Ship

The most stressful part came when it was time to package and ship this very large, heavy, and delicate piece from Atlanta, GA to Denver, CO. Layer after layer of foam and tape was applied before my signature twine, card, and encaustic info was added on top. It shipped out in a very pieced together looking box, but it was enough to keep it safe to its final destination

Uncle Buddy and the Final Piece

Happy sixtieth Uncle Buddy!

Thanks for taking the time to check out my most recent commissioned work of art! Help me spread the word about my blog by sharing with others and on your social networking site of choice. Thanks for stopping by!


 

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Carving Encaustic: Negative Space Birch Trees

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For the past six months I have been experimenting with encaustic medium. After spending the last three years using encaustic as a medium to collage and layer with, I have decided it is time to take it a step further. My 3D and 2D interests were brought together when I began carving into the top layer of wax to create objects, and expose the collaged layers below.

The Chair_PanettaIt all started with my Hitchcock chair encaustic, read more about it here. I originally planned to “paint” the chair form with yellow encaustic, but when I realized I didn’t have enough control over the melting of the material to get the small details, I opted to carve it instead. I fell in love with the process and the look.

The antlers and cow skull followed the chair, and now, my latest and largest piece, is my birch tree encaustic.

I layered paper on the wood panel, planning out where each birch tree would be placed. I intentionally put neutral colored paper in the background, and blocked out the birch tree forms with a silver pattern paper. To break up the colors, I opted for the largest birch tree form to have a different pattern and color combination, with golds, bronzes, browns, and tans.

Once the paper layers were complete, I painted and fused multiple layers of encaustic medium until I had a smooth surface. Next, I painted and fused neutral white encaustic in the center of the piece. Once the layers were set, I took a knife and began the carving process.

I love the play between the positive and negative space. I look forward to continuing to explore this new process in the future with new pieces large and small. Be on the lookout for better pictures once I have it hanging in my house!

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Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog and my new artwork! Help me spread the word about art, encaustic, and crafting by sharing with others. Don’t forget to subscribe below for updates straight to your e-mail. Thanks for stopping by!


 

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17th Annual Wesleyan Artist Market


Print

For the third year, I am participating in the annual Wesleyan Artist Market, in Peachtree Corner’s, GA. They are celebrating their 17th year, with tons of artists, a children’s activity area, live performances, food trucks, and amazing local and handmade products. One of my favorite things about the Artist Market is a portion of the sales is donated to the Fine Arts department of Wesleyan School. As one of the art teachers at Wesleyan, I love this aspect of the market. It means that every year, each Fine Arts teacher gets to submit a “wish list” of items large and small they would like to add to their classroom. This funding has helped me start glass fusing in my classes, create a sculpture garden, and start saving towards a pug mill. They help our programs continue to grow and help enrich our students lives by supporting the arts.

With Mother’s day on the horizon, this is the perfect opportunity to pick up a few gifts, as well as spoil yourself. Items range in price from a few dollars to thousands of dollars. You will find baked goods, pottery, birdhouses, jewelry, oil paintings, mixed media, and photographs. Read more about the artists and schedule of events here.

The market will be open starting tomorrow!

5405 Spalding Drive, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092

Thursday, 4/30: Opening Night 7pm-9pm

Friday, 5/1: 9am-6pm

Saturday, 5/2: 10am-4pm

Artist market bootj

My set up from last year (forgive the blurry, dark picture). I have some of the same pieces, including my letter encasutics, letter prints, and mini 6″x6″ encaustics, and some new pieces large and small.

The Skull_Panetta

I have been experimenting more with carving into the encaustic wax, and I have a new carved birch tree piece that will be available at the market.

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This year I also plan to put out a few of my pottery pieces. Come check out my handmade mugs, bowls, and new slip cast pieces.

Clouds_Panetta

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog. Help me spread the word about my blog and the Wesleyan Artist Market by sharing with others. I hope to see you this week!


 

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2015 Whimsical Wares Spring Show

whimsical wares

 

After a very successful show with Whimsical Wares this past November, I decided to team up with them again and participate in their spring show. Debbie And Helaine have worked endless hours to find artists who offer interesting arts, crafts, jewelry, and other unique gifts. This show is just in time for Mother’s Day shopping and the upcoming wedding season. It opens today, located in Marietta at 255 Village Parkway, Building 500, Suite 580.

Show times:

-Thursday, 4/23, 10:00 am-8:00 pm

-Friday, 4/24, 10:00 am-7:00 pm

-Saturday, 4/25, 10:00 am-5:00pm

-Sunday, 4/26, 11:00am-3:00pm

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For this show I decided to include a mix of my encaustic mixed media, letter prints, and pottery. I love working with a variety of media, and I am excited to present the wide range I work in.

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This year, I started experimenting with slip casting after teaching a slip cast lesson to my high school, 3D Design II students. I fell in love with the process, and began making my own slip cast molds of antique milk jugs and mason jars. You can shop my new slip cast creations at the Whimsical Wares show, at Crafted Westside, located off Marietta Street in Atlanta, or at the Crafted pop up shop in Avalon, Alpharetta.

IMG_2437In addition to my slip cast pieces, I also have my usual flower decorated bowls and mugs. I also have a few saggar fired bowls, which creates interesting smoke like patterns on the pieces.

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I hope you find time to check out the Whimsical Wares spring show. If you miss it this weekend, you can also check out my artwork at the 17th annual Wesleyan Artist Market, opening next weekend, 4/30/15 through 5/2/15.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog and read about my latest art and craft endeavors. Help me spread the word about my blog and artwork by subscribing or sharing on your social networking site of choice. Thanks for stopping by!


 

 

 

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Visual Journal Page 7: What I Need to Teach

Visual Journal Page 7-What I Need to Teach

For the first two years of my art education career I struggled to get the supplies I needed to teach my classes.

For two years I begged, traded, sought out donations and grants, I even sold baked goods at lunch to raise money for my art program. Each year I found a way to scrape by. My students were still exposed to drawing, painting, and a bit of clay when the budget allowed. Occasionally, assignments had to be altered in the middle, when supplies began to run low. My sculpture class turned into a drawing/painting class towards the end of the semester, when I could no longer afford the supplies. But, we made do, and my students still created amazing works of art.

While the experience was frustrating at times, I did teach me an important lesson in conservation and waste. Suddenly, every sheet of paper was precious. When students hit the point of crumpling their paper in frustration, they would learn a lesson in perseverance. Instead of being thrown away, their paper was flattened, and they had to continue on.

In addition to learning how to conserve, re-use, and extend supplies, I also learned who the resourceful people in school were. A nice smile, a thoughtful gesture, and going out of your way to ask someone how their day is, is a simple thing to do, and it comes with its own benefits. By the time I left my school I had the janitors on the lookout for items I could use, teachers sending over random assortments of bottle caps and wire hangers, and I had the notoriously difficult to please bookkeeper on my side. While every person who sent over a stack of paper or extra supplies played an important role in keeping my program alive, the bookkeeper was the reason my final year there was a success.

I remember the very first day I started at that school. I was assigned a mentor teacher to show me the ropes, explain the grade book process, attendance, expectations, everything I needed to know to get by. While each of these pieces were essential to surviving my first year, one of the most important things she introduced me to were the school politics. Who you needed to be sweet to from day one, whose toes not to step on, and who really held the power in the school. I learned quickly Mrs. Bookkeeper was not one to mess with. People were moved to her bad list on a whim, and she was definitely the blood supply of the school.

From day one I was sweet to her. I always read her instructions twice, immensely apologized if anything went wrong, and made sure to get to know her, rather than just ask for favors. Over the years I learned she was married, with no kids, but loved her nephews as her own, was a big supporter of all the school sports, and was kind despite her tough exterior.

My third and final year I walked to her office, dreading the budget conversation. Each year my budget was reduced a little more, it went from $750.00 to $300.o0, for supplies to cover 150+ students. Rumors of further budget cuts were already in the air, and I expected them to say I couldn’t spend any money. In the back of my mind I already had pencil and paper only projects on hand.

We sat down, she shuffled some papers, and I couldn’t believe what came next. She explained she knew I had a tough couple of years and I had done a good job staying within my allotted budget. She knew I was extremely low or completely out of basic supplies. She said to make a wish list of everything I want, covering basic supplies and additional supplies I could never get before. She told me to hand over the list, and she would see what she could do. It was scary to think I may get some or none of my requested supplies, but I felt confident she would help me out.

I put together my dream wish list. I added everything I thought was feasible, and had nearly $2500.00 in supplies. More than double any budget given to me in the past. I prioritized the items and submitted it, keeping my fingers crossed that I would maybe get half. A few days later Mrs. Bookkeeper called me into her office yet again. “We are getting you everything on the list,” she said. I almost fell over.

Finally I had the tools I needed to teach my students the way I wanted to teach them. Finally I had the support I needed and the supplies I needed. Mrs. Bookkeeper played a very important role in making my final year at that school a good one. I didn’t go out with a bad taste in my mouth, full of resent for the public school system. Instead, I went out feeling like I saw a glimpse of what the school should be.

Thank you.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Mod podge
  • Paint brush
  • Laser printed images
  • Blue tissue paper
  • Ripped up book page
  • Black sharpie

HOW TO

Although this page may seem simple at first glance, this was a very long process. I decided I wanted to print pictures of all the supplies I ordered, and do a Mod Podge transfer directly on the book page of each item. This meant I had to plan ahead for what image would layer what, if dark colors would cover up lighter ones, and how many to do at once.

I started by printing out all of my pictures on a laser printer, a must for a successful Mod Podge transfer. I had to reverse all images that had text on them, Mod Podge transfers reverse the original image. I then cut each image out using scissors. Next, I began playing with placement. Because Mod Podge transfers create semi-transparent images, I had to be careful if any image overlapped. I had to place light colors together, and space out dark colors. Once I had my placement down, I began the Mod Podge transfer process.

First, you paint a  layer of Mod Podge on the front of each image using a paint brush. Allow the layer to fully dry. Paint a second coat, allow it to dry. Paint a third coat, and while the Mod Podge is still wet, place the image face down, and rub the back until it is completely stuck. After it dries on the page, wet the back of the image with water, and begin peeling off the white paper. The ink from the printer should stick to the Mod Podge, dried onto the book page, and all the white paper should come off. This creates transparent areas where there were light or white colors, and semi-transparent areas where it was dark.

Because I had to complete a transfer before layering another on top, I had to place images away from each other, finish them, allow them to dry, before putting the next image near them. It turned into a multi day visual journal page. When all the Mod Podge transfers were finally complete, I realized a lot of detail was lost, and a lot of the images blended together. To help bring the detail back in, I outlined certain images with black sharpie.

To finish the page I glued a strip of blue tissue paper with a strip of a book page on top of the background. I added the text using sharpie.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page about a person who helped you through a tough situation or a pleasant surprise. Use at least one Mod Podge transfer in your page.

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