Marfa – and wax on black exploration

In the 1970s, minimalist artist Donald Judd moved to Marfa, Texas, where he created giant works of art beneath vast desert skies

I’m back from a week in West Texas and the beautiful Davis Mountains. One of the best parts of the trip was visiting Marfa and connecting with minimalist artist Donald Judd’s vision. There’s a great NPR article about this – click here. I love the quote by sculptor Campbell Bosworth“You just come out here and you feel like, I want to make something; I want to do something!”

Maybe it’s the minimalist influence, but it must be true. The Marfa getaway ignited my creative curiosity, and as soon as I got back, I went into the studio and started working in black and white on an experiment with black substrates and beeswax.

I wondered what would happen to the translucent layers of beeswax when they were applied over a dark background.

I used an absorbent black paper and added some white markings with different kinds of media – crayon, stamps, paint:

I added a layer of beeswax – it made it kind of glossy, and did penetrate into the paper, which had been a concern. You don’t want it to just sit on the surface of the substrate:

More experiments – black and white (and a bit of walnut ink):

Like all experiments, some of the techniques worked well, and some were definitely “learning opportunities.” But there is a certain potential for interesting effects that are both chalk-like and smokey. I am going to push these ideas a little further and see what develops (like old black and white film).

Now that I’ve been “Marfa-ized” and infected with some new ideas, it looks like I may be spending more time at the studio, perhaps even developing a wax on black workshop!


14 thoughts on “Marfa – and wax on black exploration

  1. Really fun to see, Lyn. And you’ll be more in the strudio!!! Can’t wait to seewhat you’ll create.
    You know how much black and white I do. Usually black on white but also black with white.
    Did a bunch of digital images last week with mostly black – and white – and then color added. It was interesting and I like the effects.
    Have a ton of joy playing.

  2. I’ve been to Marfa multiple times & I love the wide open space & light. As for Donald Judd, I’m still not sure “I get it”. I always chuckle a bit & wonder if artists in that genre were telling an inside joke.

    • Maybe – but when I stood in that west Texas field and looked through Judd’s concrete structure that framed the spare landscape, it made me appreciate it in a new way!

  3. This is extraordinary to learn of! I never new of such sculptures in Texas. The Bees wax produced stunning results outside my anything I imagined.

  4. I was pleasantly surprised by the white and wax on black results during your workshop … great to see you pushing the envelope.

    And the NPR link about Marfa led me to submit my own “favorite art town” narrative about Wimberley.

    • Thanks, Liz – and how cool to find that link to submit your own art town. Who doesn’t love Wimberley?? So many wonderful galleries and artists – yay!

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