Sunday, 31 July 2011

Be Still ...

And know that I am GOD.

Encaustic on MDF: scripture printed on plastic vellum, fabric backing, found medallion, shell & semi-precious stones, pressed red clover. The clover was fused using refined beeswax, while yellow beeswax is used on the rest of the piece.

Encaustic Collage Workshop

My friend Debbi and her daughter Emily came round to learn how to do encaustic work. We decided that doing a collage would be fun, so they raided my collage collection, and using a couple of placemats, did their design work before waving hot wax around. They mostly used the yellow beeswax, (from Bees R Us) and you can see the lovely golden colour it produces.

The refined beeswax I'd ordered earlier in the week from Lotus Oils arrived on Friday. It was actually cheaper to get 'cosmetic' grade than 'refined' grade, which I thought a bit weird.

Because they used so many small pieces for their collage, I thought we'd try the dipping technique, using a pair of clamps from a surgical kit. This made it reasonably safe for Emily to use. A baking tray of wax is sitting in the electric fry pan in hot water. Because it was relatively cold, we had to keep turning the heat up. The two cans hold wax that's rapidly hardening.

Debbie's finished piece. She's even managed to preserve a piece of tree from the placemat image.

ADDENDUM: The delicious smell of hot beeswax attracted the makers of said product. A swarm of bees arrived in the house, filling the lounge, with some making it into the studio. As both Emily and I are allergic to bees, this was FAR TOO EXCITING. Mr B dealt with the bees in the lounge (although it took several attempts to get rid of everyone), and Deb evicted most of those in the studio. Fortunately they were very dopey and slow moving.

It's a bit worrying for summer tho - there are a number of beehives in the orchard over the road (about a kilometre away), but David thinks they came from closer than that. All the same - me and bees do NOT mix.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Holding on tight ...

far too early in the morning. Buzzy brain this morning, so got up just after Mr B left for work. Turned on all my encaustic gear, the radio, and the heater in the studio.

Printed off some text, and a woman's hands; grabbed some collage pieces, and set to work:

This is on a 12x12cm piece of MDF, undercoated with white acrylic. I coloured the woman's hands and dress with oil pastel and chalk, then started the layering/fusing process.

Spent a bit of quality time chasing little bits of paper around the desk from using the heat gun. Back in bed by 0700, and slept for 1 1/2 hours.

My thoughts behind this piece were that we all have dreams, which we hold onto tightly, but this can be best done with our hands open, as if we were holding onto something delicate, like a butterfly. In the end, it is up to Yahweh whether we accomplish these dreams or not.

Other Stuff
Got my grade from Laidlaw last night - A-minus for the first semester: both essays were A-, and the exam result was 31/40. Wow! Thank you Yahweh, Yeshua for your blessings - I do all things for your glory - thanks for sending some back down on me.

Went into Farmers and picked up a couple of nice knitted tops - one of them Merino, and spent the last of the vouchers.

Then popped into Gordon Harris Art Shop on the way back to work - sounds like no-one in Enzed stocks wax pigments for encaustic work! They offered me powdered pigment, which I declined - that stuff is far too dangerous, and you need special breathing gear to use it. Ended up getting a pack of 12 Honey Sticks - beeswax crayons made in NZ. Only $16.00. They're about 3/4" in diameter, and 2" long. They look like they have a good amount of pigment in them.

Boy oh boy they smell good enough to eat, lol.

Wet Shellac Burn - Fun with flames!

What does one do with one's daughter on a cold winter night, except set fire to 'stuff'!

I bought a small can of liquid shellac (mixed with turpentine), and painted it on a canvas I'd bought at a garage sale. Just the addition of amber shellac changed the 'moon over the sea' image quite dramatically:

Then we used the flamethrower to set the wet shellac alight. Arooooo!

Note: Do not repeat too many times, or you will burn thru the canvas - this is probably best done on a solid surface, as opposed to fabric, lol. Great fun, and an interesting result:

I've also painted some on a glass sheet, and let it dry, to see if I can create some flakes - so far, it's still tacky in the centre, despite the cold weather.

Next experiment will be a dry shellac burn.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Look - I did manage to do something ...

But first ... we watched 3 episodes of 'The Good Wife' back to back last night - what really despicable people feature in this programme - each time we watch one, there's something else that takes our breath away with disbelief. The third episode was the most disturbing for me, I think. A scheduled execution at a prison in Chicago. The warden was a stickler for the rules. The brutality wasn't callous as such, but so very, very calculated. Not justice, but revenge.

Sunday - had a bad nightmare; riding in the back of a truck, which was crossing a mountain road that had 'falling debris' problems. Sitting beside me was a fat old woman who was telling me what a bad person I was for letting my daughter play with the child of Muslim parents - "They're all terrorists, you know! And as for those Jews, well, you know what they're like!" I woke up from this at 0700, and got up and went to do some art for an hour before leaving for church.

I made a monoprint by laying a piece of gladwrap on top of a freshly painted canvas, (greens & yellow) then laying it on a 12x12" piece of scrapbooking paper. Later I repeated this with browns and reds:

It has a quite organic feel to it. And no, I don't know what I'm going to do with it. Yet.

Mr B & I did the worship audio this morning. I took my laptop to church with me, as the church laptop has reached the end of its life, and keeps crashing. It was very satisfying being able to do the powerpoint presentation - both worship and lesson - and record the audio. After church we went out to lunch with friends, to a place called Carriages - old train carriages that are placed between a garden centre and a pond - very pretty, and a good meal too. We then did a little retail therapy in the garden centre - only $4! After that, we were going to go wine-tasting - FAIL! the place was closed. Oh well, another day.

Came home, took the dogs for a walk thru Henderson Park - Tara went splashing thru the mud, so had to bath both of them when we got home. UGH.

Then - play time. I wanted to print some images onto tissue paper. I've never printed onto paper this fine before, and previously, just taping the leading edge of the lighter paper to a heavier carrier page has worked ok. Not tissue paper - printer ate it. Ok. Attempt 2. Put adhesive tape down the sides too. The result:

Tissue Print Fail
So, Google being my friend ... First one I find, of course, says stick down the edges. Tried that.

Then found a site that talked about using glue stick - yuck. Way too messy. Spray adhesive - now you're talking!

To summarise: * using a spray adhesive - I have some stuff from Arbee, colourless and fast drying - spray your carrier sheet.
* Use a larger piece of paper or light card or cardboard to lift off excess adhesive - pat down and lift off about 4 times, until the carrier sheet is barely tacky.

* carefully lay a piece of acid-free (lignin free) tissue paper on the carrier sheet. I had already cut the tissue to size.
* put sellotape along the leading edge, so you have a single layer. Previous experience has taught me that otherwise the feedrollers will try to separate out the two sheets anyway (there has to be something good about having been a printer tech!)
* run through your INK JET PRINTER - not a laser printer, because it will wrap itself around the heat/fuser rollers - watching its progress all the way.
* remove carrier sheet immediately - otherwise you risk a permanant adhesive!
* the youtube lesson was for decoupage use, so they used a spray sealer on the finished image. I'm using mine for mixed media collage, so want it to disintegrate a bit, so I won't be sealing it.

Except for the fact that my printer decided NOT to print blue/yellow (it's been ages since I used the machine, and I think the Melco inkpots haven't fed thru the tubes properly), I'm actually rather pleased with the magenta hue of the images:

A very satisfactory day.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Hooray, it's the weekend

And long overdue it is too.

A long and reasonably unpleasant week.

Good things - had my hair cut and coloured - looks good.
Had a great massage - felt good.

Had a lovely sleep in this morning, followed by scrambled eggs and bacon for brunch. Fenced the grassy bog off, so the floor can stay unmuddier and maybe even get cleaner - need to get some more pallets from work, which look really good as fencing.

Went to the mall to pay off a loan, have lunch, and spend some vouchers at Farmers. Becca now has her own pair of jeans and a pair of trackpants. She's the same size as me! Friday was mufti day for her - she wore my jeans, spare black sneakers, and navy blue polarfleece jacket. Scary. Got David two pairs of trackpants, which means we can throw the worst old pair in the rubbish.

Popped into Craft Out West - arrived at 1515, did a quick zigzag-check-the-stalls-in-each row. Went and got some cash, brought the items I wanted, did a slower mooch, and was ready to leave by 1600 - which was closing time!

Loot from the craft show:

Two "Australian Woman's Mirror" magazines, 1932 and 1934. Contains such scintillating articles as: 'Was Women's Freedom Brought too Dear?', 'Should you Wed Your Junior?', and 'Building Good Teeth by Edith Butler.' Oh, and then there's the ads - 'Now a thrilling lipstick for 9d', 'Backward Children - world famous treatment at the Bio-Chemic Institute', and 'Rhyvol - the great papaw (sic) indigestion remedy'.

The third is a prospectus: "The Happy Highway to Success", from La Paula Art Academy, around 1930ish as well - "... we can assure you that the La Paula Training can bring the happiness attained from a contented mind, free from the petty annoyances of everyday life."
These are for collage work, but I'll scan the pages - I couldn't bear to rip them up - there's great stuff on both sides of the page.

3 fat quarters, a packet of coloured metal leaf, and a cross on a rock (David did roll his eyes at that one!) I also got some pre-war flower-style trim, but that didn't make it into the photos.

As to getting any actual art done ... well, Becca's gone for a sleepover, it's a light dinner tonite (hash browns, bacon and fried eggs), and then maybe I'll actually do something!

Friday, 8 July 2011

Postcard from God

Found out that if you try and place 'lightweight' bits and pieces on your warm wax, and then try and fuse it with a heatgun, they blow away. Darn, I thought. I need an iron to fuse things like this. But not my good iron.

Back to the second-hand shops I'd visited yesterday, where I'd got an aluminium pot, knife, fork, cake slicers/pallette knives for the playing with of encaustic.

Listening to Christian Radio, and a guy called Tak Bhana talking about Postcards from God. "Please God, can you help me find a nice wee iron for my art?"

Sallie's shop - nada. SPCA shop - tucked up in a little baggie - "Hi, my name's Russell Hobbs, and I'm a travel iron. I want to be your special friend!" Thank you thank you thank you. That made me feel loved - it's the little things.

Tomorrow Blue goes to Animal Management for them to find him a new home. He's a lovely little dog, sweet, cuddly, affectionate ... when he's not being psychotic, and trying to bite either the dogs faces, or ours. He has a 'hard' mouth, and when he 'goes off' he throws himself against walls and furniture trying to bite.

Tonight's prayer: Thank you Lord for letting me have Blue for a week. Can you please find him a good home with people who will love him and take good care of him. Amen.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

'Encaustic' Pieces

Well, I finally got my studio to the point where I could shove what was left scattered on the floor into a couple of piles, clear the centre of the floor space, move my computer table back into the lounge, and find the small desk.

Got out 'Encaustic Workshop' by Patricia Seggebruch, set up everything I thought I'd need, and set to. Working on paper, newspaper or cardboard is not a good idea - but probably better than just working on top of a plastic sheet (hot wax, hot heat gun + plastic = ...). I need to put a big sheet of cardboard over the desk, under the plastic sheet, otherwise I'm going to ruin the surface. Changed to a glass plate for a working surface - the glass from a photocopier. I can scrape off waste wax, and clean up any mess relatively easily.

I'm using 10mm MDF cut into 12x12cm squares. I initially gave them a white acrylic paint undercoat, but now I know wax and acrylic don't mix well. Sandpaper is my friend.

I haven't added any damar resin to the beeswax - that will have to wait, and I understand you can get very good results without it.

This piece, a woman sitting at a cafe table, was a paper serviette, which I fused on; in addition, there's some sheer fabric, lace doily, paper tag with 'forget me not', and a dab of red acrylic paint, which I had tried to stencil on thru the lace, but when I tried to fuse it, it slid away across the wax - come back, come back ...

"God is the painter", has a blue/green fossil-batik print glued onto the MDF with PVA glue, a few layers of wax, piece of mussel shell, bits of semi-precious stone, and a found pendant. The quote is on 'vellum', which is actually a plasticised cotton, not paper, so just floats on the top. It's now been removed, and will be replaced with text printed on either rice, mulberry or tissue paper, so it melds more with the background. I think I'm going to put more wax in the centre, just to smooth it out.

This third piece is abstract. I think I'll call it "This Way Up". I wanted to try incising lines and shapes, then filling with colour. The rectangle was a right angle hex key, the circle part of a sewing spool, and the curve is from a French curve. I scratched the inside of the curves surface with a wire brush. I tried both Markal paint stiks and Reeves oil pastels. I don't know whether it's because the room is cold, the oils are old, or what, but it was very hard to make the colour malleable enough to go into the incised shapes. Really really messy. I used a blade to scrape off all excess colour, then fused with another coat of wax. I'm pleased with how this is going. There are a few more steps in this incising workshop, adding more layers. Updated photos to follow.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Another A- Thank you YHWH!

The results for my essay tracing the development of the Tabernacle and Temple throughout Scripture were posted tonight - another A-. I am so very very pleased.
Insightfulness, Critical thought and application were all "outstanding"; and structure, communication and presentation were "good".

The Marker's (Rachel) comments: Sue, overall this is a good paper. I can tell you worked hard to research and reference it. You cover the story well and speak at length about the connections in the bible surrounding your theme. You don’t speak as much about Jer. 31 as I would have thought--- our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit, and the presence of the temple/Jesus now resides in us. Also, you don’t speak about man as image-bearers--- which means that WE/HUMANS have been placed at the centre of the Garden of Eden/temple as God’s divine presence. This certainly has implications later as all of creation is redeemed. However, your paper is still very strong. Good work.

I've emailed her asking if she can explain a little more what she means - this is obviously very important, but I've failed to grasp it during lectures and in my reading/research. Hopefully she will respond to my request.