Starting Point I am working on Creative Workbench Encaustic Wax Pans.  This new Creative Workbench features an encaustic artist painting bench.  If you are not familiar with encaustic paintings, they are paintings made with hot colored blend of beeswax.  The wax is painted or dripped onto the surface and built up in layers.  It is a fascinating medium provided intriguing results.  The artist workbench is from Shary Bartlett, and she graciously is allowing me to use her reference photo.   Underpainting In order to preserve the white or light highlights on the pans, I put mastic fluid everywhere that should remain white.  That shows up on the image as a teal blue tint.  Once that was dried, I used a neutral tint paint to define the areas of shadow.  This underpainting will help the color appear darker and create contrast. Glazing With the underpainting in place, it was time to add color.  I started by adding thin layers of color, this would still be considered light values.  Later I will move into mid-tone values, but you will have to check later to see how this project progress.  I will add new images of the progress over time. Midway I am about

A couple of months ago my son jokingly sent me a message with a photo of his work space.  It was just full of stuff,  some in-process work, tools, along with some adult beverages.  I laughed when I saw the photo, knowing that my son is extremely inventive, but tends to have too many projects at varying stages of completion.  When I saw the photo, I thought the workbench was a visual interpretation of the many synapses firing in his brain.  Too many to control requiring the need of some fluid refreshments to slow down the impulses.  It was a crazy photo, but after a while I thought wow, wouldn’t that make a great painting. This started me down the path of a new series I am calling Creative Workbenches.  It will be an intimate look at a variety of work spaces from a diverse group of creative sources.  I have enlisted the help of a jeweler who fixes watches and clock and a fly fisherman who ties his own flies.  I hope to recruit additional artisans over time.   One thing I am learning about creative work spaces is how intimate this project is becoming.  How a person lays out

In November I was extended the opportunity to exhibit some of my artwork in a Reedsburg Bed and Breakfast.  I didn’t have enough available pieces to meet their entire needs, so I started coming up with ideas of what would be interesting for their guests.  One of the attractions in this area is the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, WI, so I thought it would be interesting to paint a crane.   I checked out their website and they had some wonderful photos, but there was one that really appealed to me and that was the Siberian Crane in the drop wing threat pose.  I thought how appropriate to paint a threatened species in threat mode.  I asked permission to use that image as a reference photo and they kindly agreed. I was a little intimidated at first because I typically paint small pictures (less than 10 inches on the longest side) and this was going to be 18 x 24 inches, which is huge from my perspective.  Facing the big, blank piece of watercolor paper started all kinds of negative thinking on my part, it took me several days to figure out how I was going to sketch out the

August Work in Progress In June I attended a birthday party for my grandchildren at a farm outside of town that had a menagerie of animals that the children could play with.  It was an older farm that wasn’t being actively managed and some the garden areas had been neglected.  Near one of the outbuildings was a grouping of peonies that were competing with the bull thistles.  My step-daughter and I immediately  knew this was a special opportunity to show the “beauty and beast” of life. I started to paint this picture in July, but I am not very skilled at painting white flowers.  Trying to get the soft shading on the petals and still have the flower appear white was hard and I ruined the first attempt.  I guess that will be called the practice painting.  So I regrouped and I made the picture a little more defined, trying to show the thistle pricks more clearly and came up with a better layout. The first wash of the new painting started out pretty well and I was liking the detail. I have added more intensity to the thistle at the this time, but now I have to move to