project: encaustic sunflowers

this is one of the xmas presents i’m working on.  it’s small, so i can actually finish it.  i found a nice frame, and a gessoed panel that exactly fit it, and dug out my sunflower photos from last summer, or the summer before, and laid it all out in conte crayon.

i would get jim a set of conte crayons if i hadn’t already gotten him a set, probably last xmas.  so hard to shop for men.  i mean, he loves barnes and noble gift cards, and there’s always utrecht gift cards, but really, when it comes to art and music, he’s got everything he ever needs, in duplicate.

i’ve combined the backgrounds of two of the pictures to be my background.  i love the big hill in the bottom photo, (which is already too far into the background to make sense in this photo) beneath which the line of trees is a tiny dark line, and the flowers just come streaming out across the landscape from the hole in the line of trees.

what you see in the pastel drawing is a vague green mountain range with healthy hills in the middle distance and some sort of field in the foreground.

the only excuse i can give for the nastiness of the sketch is that the ground is dark gray, and puts the colors off.  but anyway it doesn’t matter because it’s all going to get covered with wax.

and this is how it looks with the first layer of wax, spread on with a palette knife.  it just so happened that, except for the dark green, i already had all these colors mixed up and sitting in airtight cups on my palette.

see the little plastic cups right there in the middle?  yes, well, i can tell where everything is.

i used a tiny little palette knife i borrowed from jim, because the palette knives i could find around my palette are too large, and have recently been used for other things (as knives, on the dolphin project).  i slashed on color, filling most of the spaces, and didn’t really worry about placement, because heating destroys even the most carefully laid lines and sections.  happy accidents rule.

this is what it looks like mostly heated.  mostly, i mean all but the very lowest left hand corner and a smidge of the right hand corner, because i was interrupted and had to put it away and go off.  and this is okay at this stage, because i’m not trying to make a uniform surface.  this is only the first layer.

i was liking the sky until too much of it started separating.  i’m going to have to hit it with more sky.  and the hills aren’t the right shade of green and don’t convey distance, and of course the flowers are merely indicated and the grass isn’t grassy.

lots of work.

other presents i will be working on are a batch of sea turtle scarves, and perhaps a dragon scarf that i need as a demo for an idea i have for silk wall hangings.  and since the grandson has just come back to us for the week, i’m going to be upstairs in fabric heaven all day, and can easily set up production there.

as long as i’ve decided to make things, i’ve been meaning to get around to a little something in a picture frame for my kid, which isn’t a painting, okay?  and something with a basket that showed up here one day.  and i’ve got a painting to frame for a real kid who suggested the scene i painted, at the beach.  all this stuff, and only 8 days before xmas.  wheee.

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