cleaning the studio...

...and other adventures in art

The Daily Bird, Day 5

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

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

I’m not sure that this one is finished yet. Sometimes the wax and the panel get too hot to work and it’s best to just set it aside for a while. I’ll pick it up again in a few days.

The Daily Bird, Day 4

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

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

I’ve never done penguins before. They don’t even qualify as birds using my criterion of “ask a person what a bird does and they will answer, ‘fly'”. But, here they are. I like the abstract compositional qualities of this piece. These pieces are quickly becoming all about color.

red-yellow-blue

Today was primary-color day.  Red-Yellow-Blue.

It’s probably obvious that I love color, but I feel the urge to go wild with color with these small encaustic pieces.  There’s no risk…I can easily scrape the wax off if it just doesn’t work.  And color that might seem too bright for me in a larger piece can be quite appealing in something this small.

I like the idea of going towards jewel-tones for the overall effect of the grid of 49 pieces (plus one on the side). Next week, I’ll lay out a grid of nails so that I can start deciding the layout for hanging the show.  I can’t let the color fight between pieces.  This set of work could be titled “Plays Well With Friends”, or hopefully so, at least.

I worked on three pieces today, though I only finished the one.  But here’s the color palette of the three:

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

The Daily Bird, Day 2

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

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

I promise that tomorrow I will do a bird with a less streamlined shape than these first two days.

tedious, but it must be done

Prepping my 50 panels for encaustic takes some time:

  1. Cut cabinet-grade birch plywood into 6″x6″ panels;
  2. Sand lightly as needed;
  3. Tape edges to prevent glue from dripping (encaustic doesn’t like glue);
  4. Glue the photos;
  5. weight them overnight;
  6. Remove tape;
  7. Trim photos to the edge of the panel;
  8. Sand edges again if needed.
  9. Base coat of clear encaustic wax to protect photo.

Now they’re prepped and ready to go!

Barbara Downs, the making of The Daily Bird, encaustic series: 1. sanding

1. sanding

Barbara Downs, the making of The Daily Bird, encaustic series: 2. ready to glue

2. ready to glue

Barbara Downs, the making of The Daily Bird, encaustic series: 3. glueing the photo

3. glueing the photo

Barbara Downs, the making of The Daily Bird, encaustic series: 4. adhering photo

4. adhering photo

Barbara Downs, the making of The Daily Bird, encaustic series: 5. glued and stacked

5. glued and stacked

Barbara Downs, the making of The Daily Bird, encaustic series: 6. weighted overnight

6. weighted overnight

Barbara Downs, the making of The Daily Bird, encaustic series: 7. removing tape

7. removing tape

Barbara Downs, the making of The Daily Bird, encaustic series: 8. trimming photo

8. trimming photo

Barbara Downs, the making of The Daily Bird, encaustic series: 9. clear wax over photo

9. clear wax over photo

 

while I’m on the subject…

While I’m on the subject of birds and encaustic, here’s a 6″x6″ encaustic bird that I did last year.  This is similar to the 50 pieces I will be doing for the Sanchez Art Center 50-50 show.

The photograph of the bird was my starting point.  You can see that it’s not a particularly good photograph, but the blurred and hazy quality suit my purposes well.

I glued the photo to a wood panel, protected it with clear encaustic wax, and then painted over it with clear and pigmented encaustic paint. I incised lines, rubbed oil paint into the incisions, scraped and scratched the surface, and then polished the scarred surface to a sheen.

The photo is under there, somewhere.

stillness

Thanks to NBF (Non-Blogging Friend), I’ve been doing some thinking about the ‘still birds’ pieces.   I’ve done many drawings and encaustic pieces based on photos of either dead birds or taxidermied birds (which, regardless of how lifelike they are, are ‘still dead’).

NBF had some ideas about the many possible meanings of ‘still birds’. Here’s the definition of ‘still’ that she sent to me:

1 a : devoid of or abstaining from motion b archaic : sedentary c : not effervescent <still wine> d(1) : of, relating to, or being a static photograph as contrasted with a motion picture (2) :designed for taking still photographs <a still camera> (3) : engaged in taking still photographs<a still photographer>
2 a : uttering no sound : quiet b : subdued, muted
3 a : calm, tranquil b : free from noise or turbulence

And here are so not-so-still birds…

 Barbara Downs photo of birds