One of my favorite teaching gigs is the online summer Art Retreat called Artful Gathering. It’s an international gathering of artists, teachers and students who come together to “find their wings.” I’ve been teaching classes there for the last five years, but this session has to top them all.
The class is called Natural Expressions. I designed it to introduce the process of combining beeswax, pigments and hand-enhanced papers with vintage photos, particularly of families. Well, wowzers! Did they ever find their wings with this project!
I’m sharing (with their permission) some of the work these students are doing and the notes they are making about these very personal pieces pieces. You will be inspired, as I was.
This first portrait collage with beeswax is by Theresa Kent of her grandson, Ezekiel.
Theresa writes, “Here’s my first attempt. This is my grandson, Ezekiel. I used the stencil with walnut ink on rice paper. I added a piece of lace with encaustic and then waxed the outside to add deeper color. Then I added the final touches. Love this process and will be working on more soon. I’ve got lots of vintage photos I want to play with. “
Next is a gorgeous piece by Lorelei Crandall.
Lorelei says, “This is a portrait of my daughter. I manipulated the photo a little in Photoshop to remove the background, then made it a sepia tone. The numbers are glued on and are made of cardboard and painted. I used prismacolor pencils, inks, stamps and stencils on the photo and the frame. I waxed over the raised numbers ( ended up removing some excess wax), and fused all of it”
What great ideas!!
Here’s another piece by Lorelei – I think she’s found her medium!
She writes: “Here is my first attempt using a family photo of my husband’s grandfather when he worked on the railroad in Iowa. The numbers represent the numbers on his cap. I added a collage of train tracks ( printed on tracing paper) from Flikr commons, and a conductor’s watch. The frame paper is rusted. I used stamps, etching into the wax, inks, and adding color to the encaustic medium.”
Next is a very poignent piece by Kate – not a relative, but a person from the past whom she was touched by.
Kate says, “The photo is copyright free, of a woman in Clonmel, Ireland. It was taken in 1937 by a doctor. The woman, perhaps named Mrs. Casey, had a skin condition called Pellagra. Her face haunts me, and I created this piece in honor of her.”
Catherine Howe is creating a series of family collages with beeswax and mixed media, each one unforgettable.
Catherine says, “This is my dad Estes (child that looks like a girl) with his two brothers. The quality of this photo is very poor. I did the best I could do with it. I loved the little overalls and hats on the older boys. Very few pictures were taken of my dad’s family. So what I have are very precious. They lived in rural Colorado and their father was a stockherder (word used on census). He was a real cowboy raising cattle to sell in Denver, CO.”
This is Catherine’s mother, Billie, when she was a little girl – notice the wonderful textures on the mat.:
Another great piece from Catherine:
She says, “This is a picture of my mother’s Uncle Byron when he was little (on the right). Byron was really like a brother to my mother. This was probably taken in Nebraska. I do find coloring the picture does help to highlight the images.”
Kim Smith did this piece – she works kind of like I do, using the process as a series of studies to explore the possibilities.
Kim writes, “This is a 5×7 collage on mat back with stamping, ink, pencil and beeswax. Working on several of these and will make frames for one I like best. Great class, thank you!”
Aren’t these pieces amazing? There are more to come – I’m in awe of (and inspired by) my students.
There’s still more than two weeks left in the class, enough time for you to jump in if you’re interested. We have many lively discussion and lots of tips to share as we work. Just go to the Artful Gathering link to check out this class and all the others.
I’m also teaching an assemblage class called Sacred Serendipity in the second session which starts July 16th.
Now I’m headed back to the studio where I’m working on some indigo-dyed paper wait till you see what that looks like – it’s coming up! Stay cool!