encaustic n+14


well, yesterday i thought that all i needed to do was find a place to hide my signature, but as i was sitting in front of the easel in my rocking chair, the dog sleeping in my lap, i saw what i needed to do.

more color. i saw red all over the reference photo. i saw purple. i saw green. i saw loads more whites.

uh oh.

i’m a wimp when i start a painting. i’m very tentative, very pastel, very frightened to make a mistake. and i don’t know why i bother, because by the end of a painting i’m using big bold strokes, expressive slashes of color, drips, splats. painting with enthusiasm. painting like a spastic.

don’t let anyone tell you painting with wax isn’t messy.

there i’d gotten to the end stagees of this painting, when i shadow the right side, and then put coatings of clear, that is unpigmented, wax over the whole surface and buff it to a furniture-shiny shine.


dioxazine purple.  red ochre and naphthol mixed into the dark palette scrapings to make a rich plum. orange, and i couldn’t find a single-pigment orange in the collection (except for cadmium, which it is said turns brown while burning in, and thus i’ve avoided it on hearsay rather than testing the validity of it). the yellow i used for orange has some funny name, a chemical, and i can’t bring it to mind. th- something. made by perma-color paints of charlotte nc which is defunct. lo these many years likely, because they’re from his stash, which goes back the 50 years he’s been painting.

i burned in the purple, which i used as my all-purpose dark, and then my sienna and red and pink and orange. i still have to do the whites.


but i got sidetracked before doing the whites by the poles. my polar area has been so far undeveloped, and when i look at the polar projection or the panoramic map of jupiter, i can see lots of things going on there. it must be as cold at the poles as it is here. i think of my poor friend renee freezing to death mere yards from the north pole, and my poor sister susie freezing to death in sodden frigid ireland. thank god they’ve got central heating in the back of beyond like they are.

i went around and put gray all over the poles. i’d noticed when contemplating the photo yesterday morning that the white circles near the bottom of the left side had another whitish band beneath it, and all i had was dark. i think it tilts up as you go to the right, tho, so i’m going to have to fix it when i go downstairs in a few minutes.

i ran the gray around the left edge of the planet and out into space for a couple of inches. and then i took the rest of the scrapings and the gray and mashed them all over the blackness of space, so now there’s streaks and orbiting bits of dust (like my house) flying everywhere. i like how it looks.

the whole thing has got a lot of atmosphere on it now. close up the texture is way fun to look at, and i’m really enjoying the painting of this picture. it’s coming along well, also, which helps, but there’s something about using wax to paint with that gives the whole experience a sense of physical joy. like the slight weight of the water makes you more aware of your muscles when you first get in the pool.

but am i done yet? no. i’m going downstairs now and jump in, and i may not be done when the light goes in the studio this evening.


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