wabi sabi mixed media

I'm an artist (lower case, meaning non-specific; I do art). I mostly identify my arts as photography and poetry, but I've dabbled in almost everything I could manage to dabble in. (I haven't managed to do ceramics or sculpture yet, but eventually.) I spent the majority of my college/ university life training in music and drama (and then switched to poetry for my actual B.A.). The majority of the paintings in my house were painted by me, but I don't really identify much as a painter, since it has been over a decade since I last picked up my acrylics.

My mom, who is also an artist, is a painter (amongst other things). She used to work mostly in oils, but she's switched to acrylics lately. She doesn't do mixed media in her paintings, they are purely paint (thus far). She does, like me, do collage, but it's a different thing from her paintings, just as photography is for me.

Last week, I decided to shake up my own (self-imposed) art boundaries a little, and tried my hand at this encaustic mixed media piece. I just created it, without thinking much about it. Set up my materials, got down to it, and then scavenged around the house for more materials.

(As a side note, in college, one of the roles I played was an artist in Tina Howe's play Museum. I had this awesomely creepy monologue about foraging for bones in the forest. It was a really fun role to play and I got to make the bone sculpture that was my piece on set. I don't think anyone else made their own character's art, so that was also really cool, an acknowledgement.)

These days, I have a lot of (online) mixed media artist friends. I read mixed media artist blogs. And I have wanted to try my hand at a couple of different techniques for awhile now (mostly encaustic - that's melted wax, and photo-collage-painting). This piece combines those two techniques.

I started by mod podging some self portraits to my blank canvas. (I have no in process photos, so these are all closeups.) I made a collage of photos I thought I might want and printed them out with my (awesome) canon printer, on good photo paper. I ended up using black and white photos for this piece.

After I'd put on the base photos, I painted the background black. (Probably shoulda-coulda done that first. Whatever.) I have to admit, I used completely unknown "paint" here (it's quite possible it is thickened dye instead of paint). It was gifted to me by my MIL and there are no labels. It dried fast enough it might be acrylic craft paint and it doesn't seem to be running, so I'm happy with it. I just have no clue what it is exactly. And that's ok. I made this piece for process, not for end result (although I do like the end result, so far. I think there's a missing piece waiting to be done, but I can wait for it to come to me.)

After painting the black, I added more photos, just because. And then added some other paint colors (blues, orange).

Next, I wandered the house, searching for a texture to add. I have some tulle I dyed up (for tutus, which are fun gifts for kids). Voila! I added that to the edges and where it wanted to go. And then a fake orange poppy and some corrugated cardboard and seed pods.

(I used mod podge. A glue gun would have been smarter.)

And then I added wax, by melting down some shabbat candles onto everything. I used my kitchen torch and did this part outside because that shit is flammable! Adding wax was definitely the most fun part of this project, so I'll definitely be doing more encaustic pieces! I'm thinking straight photos on a wood or metal base with (clear) wax over the top. Hmmm...

I dripped wax everywhere I wanted it to go (the wax that landed on the flower didn't stick, which is fine. It's mostly peeled off now.) After it was mostly dried, I wrote "love is all..." and my name with a silver metallic ink pen. I think there may be more to write on the piece. We'll see.

And then I let it dry and took photos and then put it in my sunroom, where it is still siting on the bookcase-that-needs-to-be-organized. I'm thinking it will end up behind my desk, but it may take me awhile to get it up there. I have an idea, though, which means it will eventually get done. Maybe.

If I don't work on some other project first. Like organizing those books.