Monday, February 13, 2017

Adventures With Cold Wax

Several years ago,
I took part in a two day encaustic workshop at a local art center.
I loved working with melted wax and pigments,
adding layer after layer
for an eventual painterly image that had a
luminous, ethereal appearance.
I've been tempted to further explore encaustics in my home studio,
but that temptation has been overruled by my concern 
about setting up a dedicated workspace with the proper ventilation.

Then I started hearing about cold wax.

I began searching for any information I could find about 
how to paint with cold wax and 
decided that I should sign up for a workshop.

Easier thought than done.

I found classes that were offered in 
North Carolina, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Ireland, Italy and France.
All lovely locations...
and all completely out of my humble reach.

And then I came across the work of 
I love her work!
'Moon Dance' by Linda Benton McCloskey
Linda's abstract paintings have ranges of color that speak to my creative soul...
'Heavens Above' by Linda Benton McCloskey
and richly textured surfaces that draw me in and make me want to stay.
'Sweet Grass' by Linda Benton McCloskey
How wonderful to find out that Linda also lives in Pennsylvania.
How not so wonderful that her studio is in Harrisburg,
around 110 miles away from me.


I found out that Linda sometimes offers a workshop at one of the art centers local to me.
I spent almost two years being disappointed that I couldn't make my schedule work with the several offerings only 20 minutes from my house.


I saw that Linda was offering another workshop.
This one was going to be at The Millworks
where her studio is located....
in Harrisburg.
I decided that I had thought about cold wax long enough.
It was time to commit to learning.
in Harrisburg.

for the three days of the workshop,
I drove back and forth
from my Delaware County home to Harrisburg,
and it was totally worth it.
Linda was generous with her knowledge
and taught the four of us who signed up,
a wide variety of techniques that I would have struggled to figure out on my own.

It was valuable to be part of a small group,
watching how the others took the same information 
and interpreted it with their unique perspectives.
My own perspective gravitated towards interpretations of landscapes,
both real and imagined.
Most of my work was done with a palette knife, a brayer and a dough scraper
which helped push me towards a more abstracted vision of my message.

It's sometimes a challenge to maintain the energy and creativity
found in a workshop setting.
Being under the tutelage of a 
respected and accomplished artist like Linda
and in the presence of others who are also driven to expand their skills,
helped to keep me focused and determined.

The workshop was just over one week ago
and I'm continuing to work with my new set of cold wax skills,
I'm happy that I'm not driving back to Harrisburg.

If you're ever in Harrisburg,
consider checking out
a beautiful, historic building recently renovated
and now home to a collection of over thirty artist studios and 
a wonderful restaurant with an on-site brewery.