Encaustic Techniques: Masking for Metal Leaf and Glitter

In creating new photo encaustic mixed media works, I often apply embellishments to the surface of the wax. Careful and controlled application is done through the use of custom stencils I make from scratch. To contain an area to add gold leaf, I need to block off or mask areas to leave untouched. This can be done by cutting out shapes from paper and laying them on top of the wax and taping in place. I use blue painter’s tape, as the adhesive is designed to release easily. It also doesn’t damage the wax at all. The hole (of whatever shape) created in my stencils allows me to add the metal leaf cleanly, then lift the mask away. The second method is to use tape to outline an area free form. This can take longer, and I often need to get creative with the application around curved and organic shapes. I often use this method when gilding narrow tree branches.

In the few times I’ve used glitter, I take much more care in preparing the surface to mask off every area not to be covered - the prep work needed is significantly more than when working with metal leaf. Glitter is notorious for being hard to control and going everywhere. Luckily, both metal leaf and glitter are fairly easy to remove with blue tape - the adhesive picks it up without damage to the wax surface.

When the mask or stencil is removed, the embellishment needs a final heat set to get it to remain more permanently on the surface. I do this by rubbing - friction both pushes it into the wax surface for a better bond, and it also causes the wax to warm and helps with the adhesion. A heat gun or torch can also be used, but there’s a fine line before the surface heats up too much and it starts to move and break up. Due to the glitter being such a large size, I typically finish with a very light application of a heating gun, but rarely use an external heat source for metal leafing.

Featured Exhibition at Columbia City Gallery

I'm pleased to introduce a new series of minimalist botanical imagery now up at the Columbia City Gallery, the cooperative gallery that I'm a member of. The opening night party will be from 5-7 pm on Sat, Sept. 30 (the last Saturday of the month) in South Seattle in downtown Columbia City. These are very large works - the images are 32x32" framed (that's almost 3 feet!). The large scale works well to highlight their graphic quality, and really immerse yourself in the color and feeling. I've included a few snapshots of the work, on the left, the final framed piece, and on the right, testing out matt colors and framing samples to decide on a final presentation. 

This series brings my exploration of photographing the natural world full circle, from my origins as a landscape photographer, through my explorations of layered and colored encaustic mixed media works, and back to straight photography. In this latest iteration, I bring a conceptual and graphic sensibility to botanical subject matter. The exhibition runs September 27 - November 12 (Weds-Sun, 11am - 7 pm).

The event is open to the public - feel free to bring friends and family (all ages). There will be light refreshments and wine servied. Make it a fun evening out and explore the many unique restaurants, music venues, and movie theater in the neighborhood. If you haven't been here before, it's a gem!.



And the results are in!

I've gotten film developed from a few recent trips to the Palouse area of Eastern Washington (close to Pullman), taken late May through August. After shooting super minimalist images in Seattle for the past several years, think lots of negative (ie, empty) space and overcast skies, it's been a shock to see such strong vibrant colors show up on my film. 

Getting film developed is just as excited as opening Christmas presents. I've enjoyed going through so many rolls of landscape images and trying to pick my favorites. I've scanned a few and cleaned them up for some summer exhibits, but I have so many still left to get to. It will be fun dealing with them when Seattle turns to the ever-present grey rain clouds this winter and I need a dose of saturated color. Full size images are in the Landscapes gallery. 

Palouse Photosafari

It's been several years since I've done landscape photography, being busy with developing the photo encaustic series, Imagined Places. Earlier this month I caught the road trip bug and took a trip out to the Palouse area of Eastern Washington (that's the bottom right corner of the state). I've been there before, but never so early in the year. It was so beautiful that I decided I had to go back a second time, during Memorial Day weekend, for a quick trip. It feels like coming home, being out in the eastern side of my favorite state. 

There's nothing like the great silence, the hot sun beating down, the clouds slowly rolling across the sky, the sound of growing wheat shushing in the wind. The drone of an insect is all that disturbs the silence. There are so few cars and people out there. I love going out on those primitive gravel roads, getting lost, and seeing such beautiful country. 

Here are a few quick images, while I get my film developed and scanned. Images are also posted on my instagram feed.

Holiday Sale at West Seattle Art Walk - December 8

A quick announcement: I'll be participating the West Seattle Art Walk on December 9, 2016 in the Windermere office in the Alaska junction, from 5-8 pm. I'll have greeting cards and prints available for sale. All work priced very inexpensively for gift giving. And if you get something for yourself? Who am I to judge. 

I have cards available including several from the Botanical and Imagined Places series. Prints available as 5x5" and 8x8", which work well with many standard framing sizes.