After school started last fall and I got hit with the FREEDOM!!! Stick, I went a little crazy with plans for all my wide-open hours. One of the biggest downers in my life is the lack of time for creative pursuits - I used to make jewelry and sew and paint and constantly make stuff - and I determined that this year I would make different use of my free time (i.e. not spend all of my days volunteering in the schools) and do some stuff just for me.
In typical Velma fashion, I have managed some spotty success. I tend to stop and start most of my projects, and while I can legitimately blame some of that on family life most of it is just how I'm built. Cough cough *ADD much?* cough. One of the things I picked up last fall, in addition to my Curves membership and a renewed dedication to household organization, was a beginners encaustic painting kit, because it just seemed so different from all the other painting I've tried.
Long story short, I love it. I love the smell of the beeswax, the brilliant colors, and the immediacy of the painting. In a strange way it reminds me of the silversmithing I did long ago - something about the process of manipulating the medium through heat, I suppose. I love the opportunities for texture and color and mixed media, and I love the way the paintings feel after I buff the wax - smooth and thick and substantial.
I love the way you can turn on your heated pallet and be ready to paint in 15 minutes, and if the phone rings you can just turn off the heat and walk away. If you forget about it for a couple days (or in my case, weeks) it doesn't matter. No open paint tins to dry out, no brushes ruined by not cleaning them in time. You just turn the heat back on and the wax re-melts. Most of all, I love the way the beeswax hardens within seconds of application - no waiting for paint to dry, no taking forever to build up layers.
So, this is a detail of one of the paintings I'm working on:
This is an autumn landscape I've been working on for a while... like, since last fall when the changing leaves inspired me. Knowing me, it won't be done until next fall, but I think keeping at it is an important reminder for me to enjoy the process more than the results.