encaustic n+11

enc7-02

i’ve laid in the colors on jupiter. now it’s time to build the forms. all done with a palette knife. of course i’m not happy with it in this stage. who would be? but there’s more to come, and before long it’ll be a right mess.

enc7-031

using ultramarine blue and raw umber to make the darks, putting them in wherever i see them on the reference. the problem with me is that i don’t work dark to light or light to dark. i work with the colors i see and that attract me. that way i make a lot more work for myself by putting some color on that really should go on last over other colors. that way, i have to go around the color i’ve just laid in instead of working in ever smaller fields of color. when will i ever learn? hah.

enc7-04

it’s starting to begin to resemble jupiter. the colors are still way too harsh, but i’ve got a whole range of them now. from white and blue and gray to burnt sienna and red and yellow, and dark.

soon i’ll have to burn it in to fix the wax. this is the part that scares me. i already know that the darker colors will melt first and the white won’t hardly melt at all, so when i do go to heat it up i’m going to have a nightmare on my hands. some of the white has damar in it, which should harden it even further, but then, i want some lumps of white, especially in the white band above the red spot. i want that part to flow around the white lumps. we’ll see if it works.

but not now. i’m going to work the surface some moreuntil i have approximately all the colors in the right places. then i’ll burn it, and whoah nellie.

enc8-05

back to the icon. i see this is a little fuzzy. sorry about that. makes my eyes hurt to look at it. i’ve made all sorts of adjustments to the original design, because of the better reference photo i found. the brown fabric in the middle of the saint is there on purpose, it was evidently commonly found on the robes of the rich. fashion. the deacon has a sort of physical square halo, and to further bring it into physicality it’s got a cloth draped on it. why i couldn’t tell you. the shadows underneath the guys are green in the original, so i just changed them. seems foolish, but there you go. this is a very tedious way of proceeding, and i’m not at all fond of using tiny little brushes and a steady hand, which i don’t have.

enc8-06

this is it, finished. i stuck the saint’s name around his halo, and put in the details of the bible and the various drapery. it looks okay.

we took it down to our local orthodox church, where the priest, father jacob myers, blessed it for me. how very sweet of him. he’s got a lot of icons in his church, and jim and i were very pleased to tour the sanctuary. there were more icons in the holy of holies, and father jacob left us alone, so i could have snuck into it and had a good look. but i knew i probably wasn’t supposed to, and there were plenty of other ones to look at, so i didn’t. maybe i’ll ask next time.

i’m going to put a coat of wax and damar on it to protect it, and then put a hanger on the back, and off it goes to brother martin. and after that, i don’t know if i’m going to do any more icons. i’m not religious, so it’s not a devotional thing for me. and the technique, tho interesting, is way too nitpicky for my tastes. on the other hand, an icon-like style would be perfect for such portraits as i’d like to do, including one of father jacob, which would embarrass him and maybe even piss him off, and maybe one of my sister and brother and law, libby and liam. it might be even more appropriate to do one of my sister lisa and her husband otneil, who is a real life pastor down in brazil, but it might piss them off even more, as they’re not remotely catholic or orthodox, but born again protestant. who knows.

anyway, it’s done, and i had fun doing it.

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