Five Things

Its safe to say I spent the majority of the weekend playing in the (encaustic) studio. And I have FIVE noteworthy things to tell you about – if you happen to be interested in all things encaustic…


I found a new medium that I loveClairvoyant Medium – cool name, huh?  I happened to be looking through the source section of Daniella Woolf’s book, The Encaustic Studio and saw reference to it. I ordered a 1 lb. bag to try it out ( and am definitely going to re-order.  The medium comes in small cubes, which I find extremely handy – it heats up quickly and is great for those working smaller, which I happen to be.  No need to wait around for the larger container to heat up…and the surface is lovely; silky, creamy and smooth – yummy!

TwoGet an anti-fatigue mat to put by your table.

Three.  Consider CFL lights (compact fluorescent light) – they’re available in ‘natural daylight’ and come in different wattages.  REALLY makes a difference if you have ‘light issues’ like I do.  Nice, cool, clean, natural light.  (5000K) *Note: There are clean-up requirements for these bulbs; be careful with them (they contain mercury).

Four.  Make sure you have the proper type of fire extinguisher in your studio.  There are extinguishers for different types of fires.  Read the label and get the extinguisher you need for the area you work in (i.e. workshops), if your studio contains solvents.  It makes a difference!

And, Five.  

Check out the ‘heated palette’ I got for 19 bucks!! Remove the serving dishes and frame and you’ve got a perfectly flat, square surface to use as a palette or (and the reason I wanted it) for monoprinting!  The instructions said the warmer would only reach temperatures of 170 degrees.  I knew that wouldn’t be enough…but (being the savvy shopper that I am), figured since it was cheap, it probably wasn’t too accurate either and I was right!  I bought a surface thermometer and it reached 250 degrees! There is a temperature dial – so you can adjust it – it works great!

And here’s a tour of the space…(I couldn’t resist more images of my palette)

The Power of the Container

The Power of the Container

I love this

This is taken from the ‘new’ book, The Encaustic Studio: a wax workshop in mixed-media art, by Daniella Woolf – that I just got the other day.

She says…

“I have been gifted with a wildly fertile, actively creative mind.  I look at an object, a pattern, a tree, whatever, and my mind goes to town and morphs, morphs, and morphs.  I love to be in that creative place; maybe it’s similar to the experience of meditation for some.  However, if I don’t put a harness on it, it can run away with me or paralyze me.  I have learned to limit my options, perhaps by color, pen, or medium, but there must be some parameters for my work.

I call this having a container.  In some ways, it doesn’t really matter what those parameters are, but simply that they exist.  If I give myself free reign and infinite options with which to create, I can’t move.  The world is too big.  But if I give myself a few limits, I am golden.  I can soar and fly and go completely wild within this container.

(I used to) pick a project or give myself an assignment for the month, with limitations that would force me to explore new territory.  For example, one December I put these parameters in place: I would work only with black pens, white paper, and two paper shredders.  With these simple implements, I developed a new vocabulary for myself.  My handwriting and mark-making looked different with just a change of the gauge of the pen or the scale of the work.

Challenge yourself to work with limits.  Whether you restrict your selections of materials, colors, or themes, see how far you can go in your art with fewer inputs.  Limits create a container for your work that will allow you to explore ideas in depth and go beyond what you think you know about the things you have at hand.

I don’t know about everyone else but this is so true for me.  (I have the same problem when I’m standing in front of my closet and haven’t already decided what I will wear that day).

I plan to put this process to work this weekend – I’m expecting an order of supplies tomorrow (hopefully) …so we’ll see!

I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Image of my (glass) desk top taken with my cell phone and the ‘roidizer’ app.