I learned a new form of creating art today among amazing women from as far away as Mexico.
encaustic is a a process of applying hot wax (beeswax, resin and pigment if you want color) to an absorbent surface. we worked with wood blocks that were primed with a gesso paint to be made ready for our imaginations to go wild.
the process is pretty simple – apply wax, fuse the wax (or reheat it to adhere – or fuse it – to the layer below), apply more wax, fuse again. you can do this until you’re satisfied. between the layers of wax you can add things to your piece – organic items, pages from a favorite book, charms, whatever you can think of! wax colored with pigment is awesome to add dimension to your work.
the women I worked with created the most incredible pieces. tissue paper printed with delicate pears and when encaused with wax the tissue disappeared and the pear was left floating in wax. there were pattens created in the wax by some and color blocking creations finished.
I, of course brought some of my favorite images to work with. I tested my understanding with two images from Paris. I didn’t get creative, I just wanted to make sure I understood all the steps correctly.
next I expanded to a few images from the water tank. I played with color and began to use the fusing process to push the wax around to mimic waves in the water.
my final stretch of creativity came with an image transfer into the wax while it’s still a bit warm. I made a photocopy of my image, prepped my board with paint and 3 layers of base wax. I even added some black marbling to the clear wax because I knew my image had that watery feeling to it. to transfer the image i burnished it face down into the warm wax (15 mins of rubbing) and then applied water to the paper to remove it. the process was long and a bit tiring and while going through it I had no idea if it was going to work. to my happy surprise, I ended up with a beautiful impression of the image in the wax. pretty cool!!
today I made art! in a new way, without my camera. it was a great experience and a great way to add a layer of difference to all of my favorite images!
do you ever wake up and remember your dream so vividly that it kind of scares you? like, was that real or a dream??
I don’t generally remember mine with a lot of detail and clarity – but last night was a doozy.
all I’ll say is there was police, illegal substances, foreign countries and my passport involved.
my love of film has awakened, again. I’m back. OLD camera (new to me), mechanical, noisy, lego-like in how it’s pieces fit together and I LOVE IT! first images from the Hasselblad are below. the detail, the textures, the depth and range of tones are rich and velvety. ohhh, hassey – I see a long future ahead for us. ❤
<click each image to enlarge and enjoy>
some days are just hard. challenges, roadblocks, obstacles have been popping up and try to bring me down all day. what is happening? I’m having the hardest time being a duck today and just letting this all roll off my back.
my first love.
if you’re old enough you’ll remember cameras that only took film, you’ll remember having 3-4 rolls or even bags of film from vacations to drop off to get developed. you’ll remember the wait and anticipation to pick them up days or even up to a week later. you might remember forgetting you had images to pick up, and they’d be there for you – your captured moments to relive months later. or you’d forget you had exposed the first half of the roll in the camera with no idea what was on it.
those are my memories of film as a child and teenager. the smell of the empty canisters, the naughty desire to pull the tab and just expose the roll to see what it looked like. the excitement to open the packages and see what came out and what didn’t.
in high school I modeled a bit and I remember getting film contact sheets to see my proofs. 8×10 prints from sessions shot with film. thinking back on it – that was pretty cool.
it was also in high school that I developed my first rolls. the darkroom was a magical place. the science, the waiting, the enlarging, the magic of seeing the paper release the images in the solution bath. I think that was when cupids photography arrow hit me. seeing an image come up on a “blank” piece of paper – and knowing that the image is something you wanted to capture is a moment you don’t forget. doing it now in a local darkroom with a full understanding of what’s taking place gives me the same childlike sense of awe.
while I love the instant ability to see and adjust my images with my digital bodies, there is just something about shooting with film. this weekend I rented a Hasselblad 503 cm, and finally loaded my own Mamiya c300. Swedish and Japanese medium format film cameras. I shot three rolls of 120 film – each has only 12 exposures. you have to think, plan and get it right, because what you’re working with is finite. the images will be square (yay!!) 6cm x 6cm, and the negatives can be scanned so that I can adjust my files digitally. while I love dodging and burning, and reprinting in a darkroom – I don’t always have time, and it can take a lot of time.
I love the very mechanical nature of both of these camera. the winding and loud “clunk – clunk” of the shutter on the Hasselblad. there is nostalgia and history baked into every shot.
I can’t wait to see what comes of my initial attempts, and to decide if the Hassy is a body the will work for me. cameras are like handbags – when is enough enough? teehee
film. it’s making a come back – but it’s always been my first love.