encaustic my next project

so, i’ve pretty much done with my learning about encaustic series, or shall i call it “my first encaustic painting” series. a dragon that turned out crappy, a koi painting that’s pretty cool, a little still life of my palette, an experimental piece i’m still not finished messing with, and a nebula that turned out just shy of good.

the world has suddenly turned into wax. spreaind butter on my sourdough bread. that’s like wax. rubbing my brush in a bar of soap, that’s like wax. watching the sunset, that’s like wax. oooh, wax. the seduction of wax. it just draws you in and you willingly go. it gets positively mystical.

jim gave me a great big book with lovely large format pictures of everything from our solar system to the farthest reaches of the universe (echo). the nebulas and galaxies are all waxable. but it wasn’t until i got to jupter that i went nuts. ooh the swirls. wax does that. look at those clumps of color. wax does that. half molten wax does that really well. if i could control it somehow.

so i got out a tiny little panel, smaller than the one i did the studio still life on. and i took a circumoplar view of jupiter and drew it in with a compass. it was too small, but i’m still practicing. or so i thought. jim was outright disappointed that i was confining myself to tiny. i was thinking the same thing. i need big panels to do this kind of detail, should i figure out how. big. not 5×7. that hurt to think about. but i was in a hurry to begin and figured i could build proper cradled masonite panels real soon now.

so jim made one for me. he found an old panel that was all bent and dinged, and found some 1×2 strips and glued them to the back and presented me with it yesterday.

there’s a fictional character named gully jimson, and he’s a painter. and when he sees a blank wall he has an overwhelming urge to turn it into an enormous painting. he stands there transfixed. “a wall.” that’s how i felt when i saw my board. 30×40 maybe, and heavy as shit. but large. especially for an encaustic. all the wax i plan to put on it is going to make shipping prohibitive, so i probably won’t be able to ship it to any far-off shows. should i finish it.

i had a picture i was going to use, the flyby of jupiter by cassini sometime in the past. i found it on the internet.

i wanted to use the panorama photo, but i’ve already tried it on a s carf. nobody could tell it was jupiter. but put a horizon in there and a couple of stars and even if i do a crappy job it’ll still be recognizable.

so i got out a piece of thread and a big chunk of graphite and drew a half circle. but it didn’t match the photo in curvature, so i did what i always do, and held the photo up in front of my face until it covered my view of the board, and when i had fixed my eye on a band, i whipped the paper away, noted where my eye fell on the board, and walked over there with my eye fixed on it, to make a mark. i did that for each band, and when i was done, i freehand drew the band lines all the way across the picture plane.

and this was fine at the time. then i mixed up some white, a lot of white, actually, and went and borrowed jim’s largest palette knife with a bend in it to keep it away from the freshly laid surface. i slathered white wax all over the whie bands in the mid lattitudes. then i mixed up a bunch of burnt sienna and laid it in. then it was time to come upstairs and get dinner. jim had gone up awhile before and made rice and fish, and had stomped on the floor to let me know dinner was ready. he’s so good. he works in the studio day after dy all day long, and it’s rather rare when i have studio time, sohe does nice things like bring me tea and make dinner. to tell the truth, i’d stay downstairs and not bother with dinner until my eyes were sore. when i get into my painting. but there are so many things to take care of that sometimes i don’t get to my painting. but i’m sure back into it at the moment.

this afternoon when i finally got downstairs, after watching an encouraging inauguration, the only time i’ve switched the tv on except to watch a video was today and i watched for hours. it was great. where were you when whoosie was sworn in, it’ll be a question everyone can answer for awhile because a majority of the people on the planet with tvs had them on today. pretty cool. rah.

anyway, something about the drawing of jupiter bothered me. i noticed it looking at it in the mirror. it was crooked. i figured it was the easel, got up from the rocer and straightened it, but damned if it wasn’t still crooked. finally i  got the measuring stick.

i had erred in my drawing of straight lines across the field by an inch in 36, which is a lot. that meant, if i wanted actual level bands, i was going to have to scrape off some wax and add other wax. i debated with myself awhile. some people would leave it as it was, maybe a degree off horizontal. maybe 2. but it continued to bohter me. if i had wanted it crooked, i would have made it 13 degrees crooked, or 23. those are deliberate crookeds. mine was bad drawing. so i got out the yardstick, measured on the one side, transferred the measure to the other side, put my ruler on both lines and scraped a new line. then white. then sienna.

i still hadn’t put in the poles. they were a dirty gray. i used the gungy stuff i had recently scraped off my palette and mixed with orange solvent. it was quite gooky and still full of identifiable colors, but mostly it was ready to use. so i mixed some more blue and some white pigments into it and slathered it on both poles.

and that’s what i did today. and now it’s dinner time.

i haven’t taken a picture of my first step yet, i left the camera upstairs again.


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