I've been blessed with some time recently to explore creatively. And I'm finding that with Encaustic mixed media, there is no end to my creative exploration...
Here are two recently completed pieces.
Keeping Time, 6" x 6", Encaustic & Mixed Media on wood block
"Why does 'decay' seem negative, and 'preservation' a virtue? This attitude arises again from the story...in which humanity's destiny is to transcend nature, to triumph over entropy, chaos, and decay..."
-Charles Eisenstein, Sacred Economics
That beautiful piece of bark, found on the sidewalk while on a walk with family one day, started this entire piece.
(Similar to nature's inspiration for this piece.)
That, combined with having recently read the above quote in Sacred Economics, shaped the entire structure of the piece before I'd even began. I followed intuition the entire way, laing down the antique book text, using the torch to burn edges, stamps to imprint the numbers, several layers of wax for color and depth, and a final wax inscription.
This piece asks us, how do you keep time? Do you watch the clock...Or the seasons? Do you cling to the ticks and the tocks and do everything you can to make them last forever....or do you acknowledge the decay that is part of the cycle of all of life?
Close up of Keeping Time
It also challenges the notion that art pieces are supposed to last forever. Everywhere these days you see "archival", "guaranteed for 100 years", etc. Like the Wabi Sabi perspective, perhaps there is beauty in allowing all materials to follow the laws of nature. Perhaps we could place our attention and our love in the creating instead of the holding on.
Untitled, 6"x6", Encaustic and Mixed Media on wood block
Waste not, want not.
One thing I feel guilty about with encaustic work is that I use a lot of paper towels. (I can't wipe wax off of brushes or the griddle with a rag.) I usually use a paper towel until it is completely saturated with wax.
While doing so, I've noticed that many of the towels become colorful works of art in their own regard. I decided to incorporate this beauty into a more durable form.
The base of this piece is one of those paper towels adhered to the wood block. I let the colors on the towel (previous wax colors) guide its creation. From there, free-flowing design and text was etched in, then carefully filled with a white wax. Final layers of oil paint sticks were rubbed in for unity.
The text speaks for this piece, but also hints at its creation. All of us are reminded to let go of our attachments to the outcomes, to let go of our expectations and trust in the beauty of the world. Artists are reminded to let go of our preconceived notions of what is "art-grade material" and what isn't...and to embrace the beauty of something as simple as a paper towel.