The Process: Start

 
Encaustic cakes after mixing pigments

Encaustic cakes after mixing pigments

Fun shades of encaustic pigments

Fun shades of encaustic pigments

This stage of my process is full of a myriad of variables.  A concept that I have has usually been worked out in a sketch.  My sketch is quick, general and it may have color notes but is usually executed in my sketchbook with a plan ole' lead pencil. 

I used to approach a blank canvas with some sort of color wash to take away the preciousness.  It some how make the beginning less scary.  Now that my studio time is limited I don't have time for that fear and I am excited to begin, so I dive right in. 

detail of "Resonate" acrylic on canvas

detail of "Resonate" acrylic on canvas

Working on the encaustic painting "Conundrum"

Working on the encaustic painting "Conundrum"

It isn't until I begin to work that I begin to solidify my idea.  The general premise starts to become a bit more clarified.  This may mean that my original drawing comes to life, or that it takes an entirely different direction.  As I work the piece is influenced by the act of painting;  the conversations that marks have with one another and the way a color reacts to the hue next to it.  It is a physical act and the process to resolve a finished piece is fluid.  I am always balancing critical thought and letting go.  As the work begins to come together and I revisit scale and composition.  I attempt to decide if it is continuing in one direction or I need to step back and make changes. 

My painting palette

My painting palette

Each time I come to a painting the experience is different.  There are days that I am fully confident in each stroke, placement of line and composition.  I may even have a magical day when I make a decision to stop at just the right moment, before I go a stroke too far or hesitate to take it far enough.  It's a fine line to walk and I believe you get surer in that intuition.

This is the part of the process that is the most frustrating, rewarding and magical.  To walk into the studio and conjure up something that didn't exist before.  How amazing is that?  I am so grateful that I get to do this.   There is also the disappointment when something doesn't come together like I expect.  But there are these fantastic moments where the painting itself seems to guide me and I can be lost in the moment, in the paint, in the process.

Part III: Is it Finished? (coming soon!)