May you feel as happy and sated at this woman appears today.
There’s a single painting conference I look forward to every year whether I attend in person or enjoy vicariously through social media, the International Encaustic Conference in Provincetown, Massachusetts (a.k.a. the Conference). Two of the things I love about this conference are how its offerings reflect what’s happening in the larger art world (this year’s keynote by gallerist Kenise Barnes is about materiality), and how it draws artists from around the world.
It’s a pleasure to announce that I’m presenting a talk there, “Selling Material in a Digital World,” in June. Here are just a few of the people whose work I’m excited to see when I’m there.
Meditative and aqueous, Paula Roland’s monotype demo is the one Conference demo I feel like I could watch all day. This year she’s presenting a demo called “Secrets of Using Graphite.” It looks fabulous.
Sharon Lauden, author of the new book, Living and Sustaining a Creative Life, is presenting a talk of the same name. I’m excited to get a signed copy of this book which sold out its first run.
I’ve been a fan of Nancy Azara’s work in encaustic and metal leaf since I first saw images on the pages of Joanne Mattera’s book, The Art of Encaustic Painting. Azara is a Conference panelist this year. Topic: “Who Says a Commercial Gallery is the Only Place to Show?”
Wayne Montecalvo is doing interesting things with portraiture, digital color separation and encaustic. His demo, “Photographic Color Separation for Collage,” also looks fabulous.
It’s been fascinating to watch Laura Moriarty’s work transition from painting to sculpture. I hope to catch a glimpse of her latest geo-inspired objects at one or more of the Conference shows.
Interested in what professional artists working in encaustic are talking about nationally? Check out ProWax Journal, an online publication produced by members of ProWax, a Facebook group organized by artist Joanne Mattera, producer of the International Encaustic Conference and author of The Art of Encaustic Painting. Mattera, a prolific writer and contributor to social media, has a reputation for unapologetically taking boosters in the encaustic community to task for short term or self serving thinking about the growing medium. Here’s an excerpt from Mattera’s description of ProWax, the group.
What we view as the “encaustic community” is in fact comprised of several groups, some professional and some not, which attract artists working at all levels of experience and achievement. As a professional artist who has worked seriously in encaustic for two decades, I was particularly interested in the conversation that might take place in a small collegial group whose experience was similar to mine.
ProWax Journal’s inaugural feature article, “The Artist’s Give and Take” by editor Maritza Ruiz-Kim, offers a thoughtful take on the different types of sharing happening in the encaustic community from good to bad. An excerpt:
As professional standards are assumed among a group of trusted colleagues, the freedom to share work and define the best practices for an art material such as encaustic can be achieved. Without this kind of artist community, the widespread understanding of the fundamentals of this specific medium can be misunderstood by professionals in each sector of the larger art world. With this kind of community, a healthy give and take occurs and high standards are discussed in a collegial manner, supporting us to make our best work.
ProWax Journal is a bi-monthly production.
The first in a series of three panel discussons about art and tech I’m moderating in Boulder, Colorado is postponed while our community recovers from the flood.
UPDATE, October 3, 2013: The ARTology team – Sarah Kinn, Catherine Pistone, Ali Schultz and I – met last week to talk about rescheduling. We’ve postponed the inaugural ARTology panels until January through March 2014 so we can host three consecutive events without bumping into the holidays. I’ll let you know when the dates firm up.
It’s my honor and pleasure to introduce a new project, ARTology. ARTology is a collective that has formed to produce events about art and technology in Boulder, Colorado.
Our first event is a panel discussion about the role material art objects play in an increasingly digital world. Join me and panelists – Nora Swan-Foster, Jungian analyst; Trudi Horowitz and Susan Knickle, cofounders, Art Movement Colorado; Laura James, fine art mamager, Art + Soul; and David Raddock, collector – for an evening of conversation about collecting and living with art.
ARTology 1: Collecting
Thursday, September 19th from 6:00 to 7:00 pm at Capitol, 1701 15th Street, Boulder
1. Office Paper
The roughed-up/tattered-edge look in the image below is characteristic of photos transferred onto an encaustic surface from office paper. They can have a vintage charm.
2. Baker’s Parchment
You can get a range of effects from crisp to ghostly by transferring images from baker’s parchment.
3. Rice Paper
A quick and simple way to incorporate small chunks of photography into your encaustic work is to print your images on rice paper and embed them. Since bubbles can be an issue (they get trapped under larger pieces of paper) this is a technique best suited to those who enjoy working with discrete pieces of imagery as opposed to whole sheets.
4. Printmaking Paper
Photos printed directly on an absorbent fine art paper like Stonehenge and mounted on a rigid panel can integrate beautifully with encaustic. The drawback to this technique is that it positions the photograph on the bottom layer of the artwork whereas transfers can happen on any layer.
These are just a few of the techniques I demonstrate in Encaustic Transfer. The next Encaustic Transfer workshop at my studio in Boulder, Coloardo is happening on Saturday, September 21. See the link below for more details. Sign up here.
Alone Together by Sherry Turkle is the most thought provoking book I’ve read this year. It explores how the internet is changing our relationships to objects and each other. Here’s a passage about authenticity that got me wondering about painting.
In late November 2005 I took my daughter Rebecca, then fourteen, to the Darwin exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. From the moment you step into the museum and come face-to-face with a full-size dinosaur, you become part of a celebration of life on Earth . . . .
At the exhibit’s entrance were two giant tortoises from the Galapagos Islands, the best-known inhabitants of the archipelago where Darwin did his most famous investigations. The museum had been advertising these tortoises as wonders, curiosities and marvels. Here, among the plastic models at the museum, was the life that Darwin saw more than a century and a half ago. One tortoise was hidden from view; the other rested in its cage, utterly still. Rebecca inspecte the visible tortoise thoughtfully for a while and then said matter-of-factly, “They could have used a robot.” I was taken aback and asked her what she meant. She said she thought it was a shame to bring the turtle all this way from its island home in the Pacific when it was going to sit there in the museum, motionless, doing nothing. Rebecca was both concerned for the imprisoned turtle and unmoved by its authenticity.
It was Thanksgiving weekend. The line was long, the crowd frozen in place. I began to talk with some of the other parents and children. My question – ”Do you care that the turtle is alive?” – was a welcome diversion from the boredom of the wait. A ten-year-old girl told me that she would prefer a robot turtle because aliveness came with aesthetic inconvenience: “Its water looks dirty. Gross.” More usually, votes for the robots echoed my daughter’s sentiment that in this setting, aliveness didn’t seem worth the trouble. A twelve-year-old girl was adamant: “For what the turtles do, you didn’t have to have the live ones.” Her father looked at her mystified: “But the whole point is that they are real. That’s the whole point.”
I always thought of painting, especially material-conscious encaustic work, as safe from loss of value through digitization because there’s no way to capture the full-on materiality of an original painting in a 2D image. I am wondering, though, as authenticity loses its value and 3D printing advances, is there a value problem in store for artists who sell what they make for a living?
Skeptical? Check out the classical art reproductions this guy is cranking out on a 3D printer:
Alone Together by Sherry Turkle
Art Museums Better Hurry Up and Get Ready for the Future of 3D Printing
Sherry Turkle: Connected but Alone, TED talk (video)
You’ve heard the news. Honeybees are in decline. Yet the price of beeswax has remained relatively stable these last few years. Is there a secret behind the stability? How long will artists who work with beeswax continue to enjoy feel-good prices on their materials?
Beekeepers harvest beeswax from two different areas of the hive. There’s cappings wax that’s culled as part of the honey harvest. And brood comb that beekeepers pull and recycle on a rotating basis from deeper in the hive. While cappings wax is sensitive to fluctuations in the honey harvest, brood comb becomes more available as bees die off and beekeepers reduce the numbers of colonies in their apiaries. So a bad honey year or a high mortality year doesn’t necessarily mean we’re in for a bad wax year, at least not immediately, although enough bad years in a row will disrupt supply.
So what’s the beeswax forecast for 2013?
I was at a talk in Denver last Saturday presented by USDA bee researcher Jeff Pettis, and while the numbers are still coming in, it’s his hunch that the winter of 2012 – 2013 will go down as the most devastating year to date for bee mortality with some commercial beekeepers reporting losses of 75% or higher. The official numbers will look better than that once they’re in due to how beehives are counted. Regardless of counting methods, this has been a tough winter for the bees.
Interestingly, according to the USDA’s National Honey Report, many beeswax sellers are holding steady on their prices even though stock is low.
Current wholesale prices quoted exclusively for white, cleaned beeswax are steady and for 1lb block units at $5.50 to $5.75 mostly $5.50 and for 50lb block units at $4.50 to $5.00 mostly $4.75. Price quotes taken for bulk orders above 50lbs are $2.20 to $3.50 mostly $3.50 for white/light, cleaned beeswax. Retail white and cleaned beeswax prices reported are $16.00 to $20.00 per pound mostly $18.00. Many beeswax sellers have held their prices however, are showing very low supply inventories.
In other words: Stock up.