cleaning the studio...

...and other adventures in art

The Daily Bird, Day 13

Original artwork by Barbara Downs, The Daily Bird, Encaustic/Oil/Photo on Panel

Day thirteen of the Sanchez Art Center 50-50 show, 50 pieces in 50 days. Encaustic/Oil/Photo on Panel, 6″ x 6″

‘Where’s the bird?’, you ask? If you look closely, you’ll see the names of several birds in text. And there is actually a bird under there–a photo that I shot of a great blue heron in a natural history museum, stretched out flat on a display shelf.

This piece was stubborn. I added wax, hated it, scraped it away again, added more, scraped more, and eventually ended up with more wax off of the piece than on! In the end, I think I’ll be satisfied with it. The edges still need to be finished after I replenish my butane supply.  (I promise I will post some details about my encaustic process in the next few days!)

Below is a detail of the upper right, with some bird names visible:

Original artwork by Barbara Downs, detail of The Daily Bird, Encaustic/Oil/Photo on Panel


 

The Daily Bird, Day 11

Color, pure and simple…

 

Original artwork by Barbara Downs, The Daily Bird, Encaustic/Oil/Photo on Panel

Day eleven of the Sanchez Art Center 50-50 show, 50 pieces in 50 days. Encaustic/Oil/Photo on Panel, 6″ x 6″

the third dimension

A friend asked why I photograph the Daily Bird panels on an angle. Three reasons:

  1. The diamond-shaped photos look better on my blog page.
  2. Encaustic is difficult to photograph. These represent the pieces better than if I shoot them straight-on. I’ll leave that to my photographer.
  3. I think of my encaustic work as being three-dimensional. Many of my encaustic pieces have barbed wire, nails and other materials sticking out from the surface, and the surface is often scraped and gouged, or polished to a shine. The medium is physical and sculptural for me, and shooting at an angle affirms the three-dimensionality of the piece.

If you think about it, we rarely see a piece of art solely from the front. That’s only for reproductions. In real life, we approach a piece from the side and then align ourselves in front of it. This idea is integral to my handling of the surface and edges on my encaustic pieces.

Here is an example of a larger encaustic piece with barbed wire, photographed straight-on and from an angle.  The angle shot shows the scraped and scratched surface.

 

The Daily Bird, Days 9 and 10

I didn’t post a Daily Bird yesterday due to camera troubles, but today you get two!

An injured hummingbird, taken to the rescue facility. Of course I had to shoot photos first.

Original artwork by Barbara Downs, The Daily Bird, Encaustic/Oil/Photo on Panel

Day ten of the Sanchez Art Center 50-50 show, 50 pieces in 50 days. Encaustic/Oil/Photo on Panel, 6″ x 6″

 

Original artwork by Barbara Downs, The Daily Bird, Encaustic/Oil/Photo on Panel

Day nine of the Sanchez Art Center 50-50 show, 50 pieces in 50 days. Encaustic/Oil/Photo on Panel, 6″ x 6″

The Daily Bird, Day 7

Original artwork by Barbara Downs, The Daily Bird, Encaustic/Oil/Photo on Panel

Day seven of the Sanchez Art Center 50-50 show, 50 pieces in 50 days.
Encaustic/Oil/Photo on Panel, 6″ x 6″

This piece seems to be the strangest thus far in terms of composition. It feels off-kilter to me. And the image itself is quirky. It’s probably not that clear here (you have to come to the show!), but the underlying photo, shot in a natural history museum, is of a small hummingbird that is mounted on a wall with a very heavy-looking, awkward bracket. Were they worried that the hummingbird was going to escape?

(um, more birds)

I do more than birds! Really! I’ve been focusing on encaustic birds in these posts because I have to produce 50 pieces in 50 days, on the theme of ‘still birds’, for the Sanchez Art Center’s 50-50 Show.

But I also do painting and sculpture.  You can see some of my paintings on my website, or at Artslant, where I just won a showcase award.

And I have several sculptural pieces going into a show next week in Palo Alto, CA at the Pacific Art League.  These three pieces are all based on (what else?!?) birds.