“Encaustic: Mud to Miracles” Encaustic Workshop (Dec)

“Where did this color come from?”

This can be a frustrating question, brought on by that all-familiar mix of color on the palette: “mud”. This usually results in a trip to the art store to buy a new color of encaustic paint. Sound familiar? This shortcut becomes a costly crutch, which artists of all mediums find themselves leaning upon.

Take the guesswork out of color mixing and gain color confidence! This 3-day encaustic workshop helps to develop an understanding of color characteristics and relationships in order to mix the color you want. The first 2 days will be spent creating a variety of color swatches focusing on 2-color and 3-color mixing with a limited palette. The roles of white and black will also be examined and practiced. Lecture-demo’s will be given throughout the workshop on color temperature, tinting and shading, and mixing techniques. All core elements needed to achieve color harmony. On the last day we will tie all the practiced techniques together by painting a simple step-by-step landscape.

A basic understanding of color is the beginning to creating rich, mature and cohesive works of art. More importantly, confidence in mixing color brings enjoyment and ease to the entire painting experience. “Mud” will show up on the palette, learn how to transform it into a miracle!

All encaustic materials provided.
Students to provide an 11 x 14 pad or notebook of thick paper able to take encaustic paint.  Bristol paper (vellum surface) recommended.

Register today!

All registration is done through Wax Works West.

Looking for a place to spend the night?  No problem – lodging information can be found here.

“Encaustic Basics” 1-day Encaustic Workshop (Nov)

Basics_I

“I love the look of encaustic, how do I get started?”

In this introductory class we begin with safety, the most important component in learning encaustic. Ventilation is addressed, correct working temperatures, and the proper use of equipment. You will learn about the composition of encaustic paint, appropriate supports and grounds, palette and studio set up. We will teach you how to size a panel, the many different ways to apply paint, fusing options, brushes, color and color mixing.  You will also learn how the paint looks at full strength versus glazing, and focus on how to achieve a smooth surface. We also introduce you to one of our favorite tools: the hot stylus pen!

paletteThis workshop will be held at Wax Works West, a magical state-of-the-art encaustic facility. It is more inspiring than you can ever imagine. Everywhere you turn there is art, art, and more art. When I first walked into the workspace my eyes opened to what was possible in an encaustic studio. The infamous sisters of Wax Works West, Judy Stabile and Wendy Aikin, generously open their doors to teach a variety of sought after encaustic classes. The professional facilities and diverse backgrounds of the guest instructors allow individuals to explore, express, and excel. Located in beautiful Corralitos, on the Central Coast of California, Wax Works West provides students with a foundation upon which they can safely experiment, while pushing the boundaries of their artwork.
gardensgallery

“Hot Mess to Success: Unlocking the Encaustic Abstract” 3-day Encaustic Workshop (August)

A River Runs Through It

Cactus Flower LakeAahhhh abstract art…Easy, huh?

If you cringe a little on the inside when you hear this, then you hold the key to unlocking the abstract. Similar to a foreign language, abstract art can be elusive, beautiful, inspiring, or possibly jarring, frustrating and confusing. Would you like to learn French or just walk around speaking in a French accent? Abstracts and encaustic are a natural pairing, however these paintings can easily be overworked and then the question arrises, “When do you know where to stop?” This 3-day encaustic workshop will illuminate the importance of core elements that tie abstract art together. We will will focus on composition, color palette, focal point, movement, and above all simplicity. In addition to the technical elements of abstract encaustic painting we will also explore the intuitive aspect of the abstract process. We will examine a selection of abstract art and discuss what makes them successful, confusing, stagnant, or engaging. During the first half of the workshop we will create sample boards using various techniques to practice the core elements. The second half of the workshop will be used to complete a larger final encaustic piece.

Abstracts can simply be an exercise to loosen up. However embracing the art of abstract is a lifelong journey and a way “lose oneself” in the painting process. No matter what, encaustic abstracts are an adventure down the rabbit hole. If you don’t have a flashlight it can get pretty hairy…

  • All materials are included.
  • Prior encaustic experience is necessary to attend this workshop.
  • All registration is done through Wax Works West
  • If you are looking for accommodations click here

    A little about Wax Works West

paletteThis workshop will be held at Wax Works West, a magical state-of-the-art encaustic facility. It is more inspiring than you can ever imagine. Everywhere you turn there is art, art, and more art. When I first walked into the workspace my eyes opened to what was possible in an encaustic studio. The infamous sisters of Wax Works West, Judy Stabile and Wendy Aikin, generously open their doors to teach a variety of sought after encaustic classes. The professional facilities and diverse backgrounds of the guest instructors allow individuals to explore, express, and excel. Located in beautiful Corralitos, on the Central Coast of California, Wax Works West provides students with a foundation upon which they can safely experiment, while pushing the boundaries of their artwork.
gardensgallery

“Wax Works West Encaustic Scholarship Program” (WWW.ESP)

materials

Wax Works West Encaustic Scholarship Program
WWW.ESP
5-Day Summer Student Intensive

For the exceptionally inspired Christian Brother’s High School teen.

July 11 – 15
Max 8 students (We’ve reached our max)

This is  private scholarship program established from the overwhelming student interest at Christian Brother’s High School.  After demonstrating my encaustic technique for the AP class I was blown away by the response from the students.  When the art teacher spoke with me a couple days later and told me that the students were actually setting up their own encaustic starter studios I knew something had to be done…

Wendy, Judy and I began talking about the experience at CBHS and the idea just snowballed.  We see the WWW.ESP as an opportunity to impact the lives of not only the participants of this program, but of the world.  These students, you,  are the future, the new wave, the next gen.  By passing our knowledge of encaustic to you, you carry the torch forward.

Welcome to WWW.ESP!

Spend 5 days with artist Jaya King and her encaustic fairy Godmothers, artists Wendy Aikin and Judy Stabile at their state-of-the-art encaustic facility: Wax Works West. We are calling this the “Wax Works West Encaustic Scholarship Program” (WWW.ESP) because Wendy, Judy and Jaya are donating their time, materials and use of facilities at no-charge. This program grew out of the CBHS student interest for the encaustic medium and we are thrilled to spread this knowledge to our future generation. This is a life-changing opportunity!

Over the course of the 5 days students will have a chance to produce multiple artworks and experiment with a wide range of techniques and materials. Lecture/demo’s will be given throughout the week along with individualized one-on-one instruction. We will have multiple group discussions regarding your art, where you see it going, and what it will take to get there.

promo image 1

Here are just a few topics that will be covered:

  • History of encaustic
  • Safety: We address ventilation, correct working temperatures, and the proper use of equipment.
  • Materials: We explain the composition of encaustic paint, appropriate supports and grounds, palette and studio set up.
  • Beginning an encaustic painting: How to size a panel, the many different ways to apply paint, fusing options, teach you all about brushes.
  • Color and color mixing
  • Specialty tools and techniques: the hot stylus pen
  • Encaustic collage
  • Encaustic mono-printing

A LITTLE EXTRA & EXPLORE

We think it is important to see encaustic artists in action so we’ve arranged studio and gallery visits with seriously masterful encaustic artists.

Explore the surrounding area! We’ve planned a couple half-day work periods to give students the opportunity to play: Santa Cruz, the redwoods, Monterey and the aquarium are just a few local extra curricular activities that you can organize.

THE SMALL PRINT

Lodging, transportation and food are not included. This area is a summer vacation destination so the sooner lodging can be arranged the better the rate!

Don’t worry – WE HAVE A CHAPARONE! A CBHS parent will be accompanying the group as the parent.  Parental supervision is required outside the studio and during field trips (studio and gallery visits).

Any additional parents that would like to volunteer their time would be greatly appreciated!

RELEASE OF LIABILITY

We require a release of liability signed by all students and parent/guardians before the students walk into the studio.

Download 2-page  Wax Works West minors release

“Encaustic: Mud to Miracles” Encaustic Workshop (July)

mud

“Where did this color come from?”? This can be a frustrating question, brought on by that all-familiar mix of color on the palette: “mud”. This usually results in a trip to the art store to buy a new color of encaustic paint. Sound familiar? This shortcut becomes a costly crutch, which artists of all mediums find themselves leaning upon.

Take the guesswork out of color mixing and gain color confidence! This 3-day encaustic workshop helps to develop an understanding of color characteristics and relationships in order to mix the color you want. The first 2 days will be spent creating a variety of color swatches focusing on 2-color and 3-color mixing with a limited palette. The roles of white and black will also be examined and practiced. Lecture-demo’s will be given throughout the workshop on color temperature, tinting and shading, and mixing techniques. All core elements needed to achieve color harmony. On the last day we will tie all the practiced techniques together by painting a simple step-by-step landscape.

A basic understanding of color is the beginning to creating rich, mature and cohesive works of art. More importantly, confidence in mixing color brings enjoyment and ease to the entire painting experience. “Mud” will show up on the palette, learn how to transform it into a miracle!

All encaustic materials provided.

Students to provide an 11 x 14 pad or notebook of thick paper able to take encaustic paint.

All registration is done through Wax Works West.  Looking for a place to spend the night?  No problem – lodging information can be found here.

“Photo Inclusions & Transfers” Encaustic Workshop (May)

image transfer

Integrating photo imagery into an encaustic painting is the beginning of telling a story. In this workshop you will learn how to incorporate printed photos and image transfers into your encaustic paintings to make them more personal. Step-by-step instruction describing the elusive image transfer process will make transfers a breeze! We explain the do’s and don’ts surrounding traditional photographs, magazines, and copyrighted images. Other photo inclusion methods using specialty papers will also be covered. Lecture-demo’s will be given throughout the day with plenty of work time to play and create.

All materials included along with a special workshop bonus:

Wax Works West is happy to assist with the printing your images on select papers. Please contact the studio so we can make your images as successful as possible for you!

  • All materials are included.
  • Prior encaustic experience is necessary to attend this workshop.
  • All registration is done through Wax Works West
  • If you are looking for accommodations click here
  • A little about Wax Works West

paletteThis workshop will be held at Wax Works West, a magical state-of-the-art encaustic facility. It is more inspiring than you can ever imagine. Everywhere you turn there is art, art, and more art. When I first walked into the workspace my eyes opened to what was possible in an encaustic studio. The infamous sisters of Wax Works West, Judy Stabile and Wendy Aikin, generously open their doors to teach a variety of sought after encaustic classes. The professional facilities and diverse backgrounds of the guest instructors allow individuals to explore, express, and excel. Located in beautiful Corralitos, on the Central Coast of California, Wax Works West provides students with a foundation upon which they can safely experiment, while pushing the boundaries of their artwork.
gardensgallery

“Encaustic Basics” 1-Day Encaustic Workshop (May)

Basics_I

“I love the look of encaustic, how do I get started?”

In this introductory class we begin with safety, the most important component in learning encaustic. Ventilation is addressed, correct working temperatures, and the proper use of equipment. You will learn about the composition of encaustic paint, appropriate supports and grounds, palette and studio set up. We will teach you how to size a panel, the many different ways to apply paint, fusing options, brushes, color and color mixing.  You will also learn how the paint looks at full strength versus glazing, and focus on how to achieve a smooth surface. We also introduce you to one of our favorite tools: the hot stylus pen!

  • All materials are included.
  • To see more, visit Wax Works West Pinterest Board on Basics.
  • All registration is done through Wax Works West (Can’t make this one?  This workshop is repeated on November 5th)
  • If you are looking for accommodations click here

    A little about Wax Works West

paletteThis workshop will be held at Wax Works West, a magical state-of-the-art encaustic facility. It is more inspiring than you can ever imagine. Everywhere you turn there is art, art, and more art. When I first walked into the workspace my eyes opened to what was possible in an encaustic studio. The infamous sisters of Wax Works West, Judy Stabile and Wendy Aikin, generously open their doors to teach a variety of sought after encaustic classes. The professional facilities and diverse backgrounds of the guest instructors allow individuals to explore, express, and excel. Located in beautiful Corralitos, on the Central Coast of California, Wax Works West provides students with a foundation upon which they can safely experiment, while pushing the boundaries of their artwork.
gardensgallery

 

“Hot Mess to Success: Unlocking the Encaustic Abstract” 3-day Encaustic Workshop (February)

A River Runs Through It

Cactus Flower LakeAahhhh abstract art…Easy, huh?

If you cringe a little on the inside when you hear this, then you hold the key to unlocking the abstract. Similar to a foreign language, abstract art can be elusive, beautiful, inspiring, or possibly jarring, frustrating and confusing. Would you like to learn French or just walk around speaking in a French accent? Abstracts and encaustic are a natural pairing, however these paintings can easily be overworked and then the question arrises, “When do you know where to stop?” This 3-day encaustic workshop will

illuminate the importance of core elements that tie abstract art together. We will will focus on composition, color palette, focal point, movement, and above all simplicity. In addition to the technical elements of abstract encaustic painting we will also explore the intuitive aspect of the abstract process. We will examine a selection of abstract art and discuss what makes them successful, confusing, stagnant, or engaging. During the first half of the workshop we will create sample boards using various techniques to practice the core elements. The second half of the workshop will be used to complete a larger final encaustic piece.

Abstracts can simply be an exercise to loosen up. However embracing the art of abstract is a lifelong journey and a way “lose oneself” in the painting process. No matter what, encaustic abstracts are an adventure down the rabbit hole. If you don’t have a flashlight it can get pretty hairy…

  • All materials are included.
  • Prior encaustic experience is necessary to attend this workshop.
  • All registration is done through Wax Works West (This February workshop is full but don’t worry!  This class is repeated in August)
  • If you are looking for accommodations click here

    A little about Wax Works West

paletteThis workshop will be held at Wax Works West, a magical state-of-the-art encaustic facility. It is more inspiring than you can ever imagine. Everywhere you turn there is art, art, and more art. When I first walked into the workspace my eyes opened to what was possible in an encaustic studio. The infamous sisters of Wax Works West, Judy Stabile and Wendy Aikin, generously open their doors to teach a variety of sought after encaustic classes. The professional facilities and diverse backgrounds of the guest instructors allow individuals to explore, express, and excel. Located in beautiful Corralitos, on the Central Coast of California, Wax Works West provides students with a foundation upon which they can safely experiment, while pushing the boundaries of their artwork.

gardensgallery

Face to Face With My Comfort Zone (part 2)

webBLOG-6-me

Now that I’ve got the itch to get back in the classroom I signed up for another workshop: “Making Faces with Charlie Levin”.

The months passed and boy was I excited!  As the weekend drew nearer I began researching Charlie’s work and chatted anyone’s ear off who’d listen about my upcoming adventure.  I had prepared extra boards to bring because I just knew I’d blow through them like popcorn.  The day before the workshop I began researching portrait work that I found inspiring. For my reference material I had printed out a small collection of Francis Bacon’s self-portraits as well as one of my favorite paintings by Johannes Vermeer, “Girl With a Pearl Earring”.  My proverbial bags were packed.

The next day driving to Wax Works West I had my radio on full blast, “I’M WALKIN’ ON SUNSHINE! WO-OAH!” When I arrived and smelled the delightful aroma of melted beeswax the butterflies in my stomach were flitting every which way. Man, I was pumped! After the usual meet and greet we were able to watch Charlie in action. She spoke about line work, seeing the face sculpturally in terms of facial planes, shading techniques, proportions, and how to use this information to define a specific face. After watching her translate this information into an encaustic painting I was chomping at the bit to get my hand in some wax (figuratively speaking of course). We were allowed to begin practicing the demonstrated techniques and loosen up.  The picture above was my first piece of the day where I practiced integrating each technique.  Yeah!  Point for Jaya!webBLOG-6-sketches

I also enjoyed working on thumbnail sketches.  Multiple renderings of the same face helps you become very familiar with facial features, shapes, planes, shadows, etc…I easily forget how much I enjoy just sketching (note to self: do more of that).  Initially we worked from high-contrast photos with dramatic lighting but eventually we sketched from very flat-looking, blurry photos as well.  She touched on a point that I thought was very important: draw what you’re seeing verses what you think you see.  I appreciated the challenge and was instructed to stick with the soft, blurry photos for my reference.  Charlie handed me a very alien-looking out of focus photo of a child, “Try this one out!”  I wasn’t fond of the image so I put it aside and found a soft-looking black and white image of a geisha.  This one was also blurry and flat so I decided to practice from her.

webBLOG-6-geisha-1I felt I was quite familiar with this geisha by the time we jumped into the wax.  We continued with the thumbnail theme and worked on 3″x3″ Bristol paper.  This was a challenge in of itself – I had never really sketched with wax before and I was using an Enkaustiko’s slanted bristle brush which was quickly becoming my new best friend.  Working so small forced you to not get lost in the details.  And don’t even think about fusing!  I am the fuse queen – smooth seamless wax surfaces?  Fuget about it!  Charlie’s work is super textured with dynamic brushstrokes and she doesn’t worry about fusing her pieces.  So for two days I put the torch on the back burner (pun intended) and embraced the textured brushstroke.  What I learned from the geisha was that I was working too opaquely.  I could build up layers of un-pigmented wax medium instead of just laying down WHITE.  This was an eye-opening revelation.  Take a closer look at the 3 geisha thumbnails.  (left) My first attempt (middle) Charlie’s example (right) my second attempt.  There are two sides to the coin with this type of layering.  On the one side you can build up beautifully transparent layered highlights.  On the flip side the build up creates a 3D effect.  Did I mention how I covet the flat encaustic surface?  By building up these layers I totally had to release the flat surface.  Tough to do, but hey, I came here to learn so flat surface OUT THE WINDOW!  Smooth brushstrokes OUT THE WINDOW!  Fusing OUT THE WINDOW!  Charlie came by and gave me some advice and instruction, “Why don’t you give this one a whirl?”  Out comes the blurry alien child and once again I feel my blood pressure rising.  I thought to myself, “I don’t like this picture.  I don’t like babies.  It’s not that I couldn’t paint this picture – I could paint it if I wanted to.  I just don’t want to.  I hate this picture!”  Once again I put it aside.

webBLOG-6-portrait
“Sweet Little Bullet” detail. Gouache on panel. In my comfort zone.
webBLOG-6-bearded-man
Encaustic studies. Out of my comfort zone.

Day 2:  By this time I realized that my masterpiece study of “Girl With a Pearl Earring” wasn’t going to happen.   I was also secretly disappointed that I hadn’t painted anything “pretty”, especially because I’m darn good at painting portraits and I know my way around encaustics!  I can paint a rockin’ portrait!  I teach encaustics – I should know how to do this stuff!  What are the other students thinking when they look at my pieces?  How come this is so hard?!

Ahhh there it is…My comfort zone!

Oh internal dialog how ridiculous you are, but thank you for being there to remind me that I need to get back on track.  Let me summarize the above paragraph:  I don’t know about you but artistically speaking I hold myself to a very high standard.  I teach art so I should know what the heck I’m doing.  This means I must produce “good” pieces.  What does a good piece of art look like?  Something produced with skill.  What I had been working on was not skillful therefore it was “bad”.  My encaustic comfort zone is creating smooth surfaces with calculated brushstrokes.  When you are in your comfort zone there is no room to grow, I mean, why would you need to?  You are already good at whatever it is that you’re doing.  In your comfort zone you can paint pretty pictures ’till the cows come home.  When you are out of your comfort zone it feels uncomfortable, unnatural, and awkward because you are in unfamiliar territory.  Only then when you are faced with a challenge do you have the opportunity for personal growth, to learn new skills.  It was at the beginning of day 2 that I realized I was way out of my comfort zone.  Well about time – now I can get down to business!

My frame of mind changed instantly.  I am in Charlie’s class and I am going to learn what Charlie has to teach how Charlie’s going to teach it.  Where’s that alien baby head?  I spent the remainder of the class practicing the same techniques, only this time I didn’t care if the final product looked “good”.  I was really able to let loose.  During the rest of the day I thought about the many parallels between taking this class and my own students.  It was like a spotlight was flipped on:   practice what you preach.  A common quote of mine is “We are not here to re-create the Mona Lisa”.  At the beginning of each of my classes or workshops I make it very clear that I could care less if you paint a beautiful picture.  All that matters is that you understand the techniques.  Mastering the techniques will allow you to paint a hundred beautiful paintings on your own outside of the classroom.  This, of course, does not stop the attempt of painting something pretty.  Soon the “frame-worthy” painting attempt takes over and technique takes a backseat.  Some students come into class with an agenda (to paint a pretty picture to hang on the wall) and these students will have the toughest time.  Here I am coming into this workshop with my Vermeer print out and my multitude of extra panels.  Talk about an agenda!  me-and-charlie

Once I came face-to-face with my comfort zone I was able to recognize it and change my frame of mine, thus totally shifting my classroom experience.  Something I wasn’t expecting to gain from this workshop was a renewed appreciation for my own students.  Every class they come to I take it as my responsibility as a teacher to challenge them and in doing so provide them with room to grow.  And they keep coming back!  That says a lot about their bravery to face their own comfort zones.  By the end of the “Making Faces” workshop I felt honored that my students keep coming back to paint un-pretty pictures.  I can only hope that I am brave enough in my future learning experiences to continue to face my own comfort zone.  Only in this way will I breakthrough to new artistic heights.

Thank you Charlie Levin!

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