Making My Own Paradise, encaustic/oil/mixed-media on panel with rust-patina steel frame, 56″ x 81″ x 3″, 2016
I finished this piece,
Making My Own Paradise, a few months ago, but, although I’d taken a lot of in-progress photos, I didn’t post many of them. It was a complex creation and assembly process…it took over a year from start to finish…but I am happy with the resulting piece.
Here are plenty of pictures and some descriptions of what it is that I’m showing you. Click on that first photo and you can scroll through the rest of them with captions. And more photos of the finished piece can be found
here, along with other pieces from the Iceland/Ísland series.
It all started with this photo of a barn in Iceland.
I knew I wanted to work large, so I returned and took many more photos, details too.
Different skies, same angle.
I shot the sky...
I planned my finished piece to be twelve panels, each 16"x20".
Using the original photo as a guide, I combined the higher-resolution detail photos in Photoshop to create an underlying image, which I knew would be mostly obscured by encaustic.
I printed each of the twelve sections individually on an archival printer for the 16"x20" panels. I don't care about my clunky Photoshop skills because I'm going to cover almost everything up with encaustic anyway.
The panels were prepped and the photos were glued onto the panels.
Here they are in the grid as I'm completing the glueing process.
The finished grid of photos on panels, but with no encaustic yet.
Here are some of the encaustic paints that I used for the sky.
I started to work the panels a few at a time.
I would lay them out side by side on my easel.
Then I had multiple rows stacked on my easel.
I had to make a backing panel so that I could pull out individual panels more easily.
And then I needed to paint the panel because the color of the raw wood was interfering with my color sense.
Here's the finished easel backing panel.
This allowed me to easily remove one piece at a time.
I started playing around with framing ideas. After seeing the piece in three rows, I liked the separation between sky, horizon and land, so I decided to split it that way.
But for Open Studios in 2016, I did not have the frame completed, so I cleated each panel individually to hang the piece.
Once hung, I added a temporary frame made of tar paper, partly to show the piece and partly so that I could ensure that I liked my framing idea before I ordered the metal.
Once Open Studios was over, I did drawings for the frame and ordered the metal. These are the instructions for the metal fab shop who sheared and drilled the frame for me, as well as my own notes for spacing from the wall.
Here is the frame before the rust patina, short sides and long sides.
Painting the reactive mixture onto the long sides.
The rust patina took several weeks to get right. I use a chemical process to speed the rust.
Drying the short panels outside.
Assembling the finished frame onto the piece.
Several panels with partial framing completed.
Here is what the back looks like. These panels are solid! They now hang with just two cleats on each panel. That's my studio neighbor Jamie Abbott in the background.
I made crates to pack up the pieces for the stARTup Fair in LA in January of 2017. Each panel has its own crate.
The pile of crates, in my studio before stARTup.