Chantel Green (PDXOS Artist #34) is both a scientist and an artist. “I use art to investigate and dissect the world around me. Art allows me to understand and connect with things by exploring the associations between ideas and images. My work is heavily influenced by my formative teenage years spent in an alternative science centered high school, where my art was limited to dissection drawings and microscope illustrations. My understanding of how things worked was not complete until I drew it in some way. When I started making art as an adult I always came back to these technical and biological themes and I enjoy using these images in a creative way, merging art and academics.” Chantel is an encaustic artist. Here she shares a recent blog in which she explains the process of creating encaustic art.
An Explanation of Encaustic
I create my artwork with encaustic paint which is bees wax, damar resin, and powdered pigment for color. Beeswax is relatively durable, flexible, and has a high melting temperature so it won’t melt under normal indoor temperatures. The resin raises the melting temperature and adds hardness and shine. The wax is kept liquid while painting by keeping your paint in metal tins on a heated surface that will reach 220 degrees, like a pancake griddle.
The word encaustic means “to burn in” and is an ancient medium that Greek artists used back as long ago as the 5th century BC for portraits and panels. The earliest surviving encaustics are the Fayum funeral portraits found on mummies that were created by Greek artists in Egypt between the 1st and 3rd centuries A.D. Encaustic paint was also used by contemporary artists like Rembrandt, Diego Rivera, and Jasper Johns.
There are a few simple rules for dealing with encaustic paint. Number one is that you must have a sturdy substrate so that the wax won’t bend and crack. Number two is that you can’t mix acrylic paint with encaustic because the wax won’t adhere to the paint. Finally, number three is that you have to fuse your painting after every layer with a heat source like a heat gun or torch.
What I really enjoy about encaustics is how it is both flexible and unpredictable, which leads to a lot of experimentation. The process of painting with encaustics is technical and creative which allows me to walk the line of scientist and artist. You can scratch lines in it, build it up, scrape it back, add texture, collage materials, and even do image transfers. It’s versatile, flexible, fast, and just plain beautiful.
ArtBurst Northwest (the rebranded West Linn Arts Festival) occurs on Aug 2 & 3, and will feature two of our 2014 participating artists: Jeni Lee (Artist #50) and PM Shore (Artist #79). Be sure to stop by and check it out!! http://artburstnw.org/
Artist Anne Mavor (Artist #60) recently interviewed fellow artist Beth Yazhari (Artist #96)
Imbedded in the dense, layered, and intricate images in Beth Yazhari’s fabric paintings is the story of women’s relationship to craft, domestic work, and creativity. The mandala-like pieces are filled with fabrics, beads, doilies, table clothes, saris, from all over the world in order to bring cultures together. One contains pieces from Norway, Dubai, India, Pakistan, Germany, Africa. The elements come from family, friends, and vintage stores. In addition, she also includes images gleaned from photos printed on fabric.
Beth was inspired by her maternal grandmother, who created beauty all around her home but didn’t see that domestic work as artistic or important. In fact, one goal of Beth’s artwork is to help viewers to acknowledge women’s handicrafts as fine art. The separation of craft and fine art seems arbitrary to her. She also considers her artwork to be collaborations with those anonymous workers.
Her Mountain Park studio is in the downstairs of her house and is covered with pieces in progress and some of her vast collection of colorful and intriguing materials. Her favorite part of the process is preparing the canvas. She starts out by building up a velvety, textured surface using acrylic paint. The resulting image feels and looks like fabric. She then then lays out fabrics and other interesting pieces of women’s domestic history. The hardest and most labor intensive part is sewing all the pieces to the background. It reminds her of the long and invisible hours women have worked doing housework and keeping families together.
Her main reason for being involved in Portland Open studios is to network with other artists and build community in order to encourage each other. When her children were younger, the feeling of isolation as both a mother and artists was acute so she knows the value of support and community
By JEANNE HENRY
An Oregon potter for 38 years, I use my photographs from around world and the NW as reference for carving clay in bas relief, creating depth and emphasizing perspective. I layer, carve and texture the clay image, painting colored slips onto the dried clay before a high temperature firing.
Along with the sculptured wall pieces that I juried with POS, in April, I began a new side exploration: sculpting newborn lambs and different breeds of chickens!
Why lambs and chickens??
I had a dream about life size clay lambs cavorting in my yard. A visit to a farm followed. Making lambs led, naturally, to chickens and they kind of took over….
My home is an 1890 farmhouse on a 1/2 acre near SE 34th and Hawthorne. I think that, and my childhood in rural Ohio, have finally taken hold. I have embraced my inner farmer!
Chicken bodies defy gravity. They have spindly legs, teeny heads and fat bodies.
I throw several basic vessel forms on my potters wheel. Using chicken photos, I alter the vessel to fit the body shape. I adjust the feather textures depending on the breed and the glaze I will be using. Then I watch each hen reveal her personality. “Contrary Mary” fought me for two days, “Curious Georgia” has an inquiring head tilt, “Proud Mary” really wants to be an eagle. My leaping lamb was called, “Wheee!!!!”
Chicken Breeds so far: Astrolorp, Barred Plymouth Rock, Buff Orpington, Rhode Island Red, Welsummer, Dark Cornish Rooster, Ameraucana, Buff Brama, Welsummer, Buckeye, Leghorn
Advantages of Jeanne’s chickens over live ones:
Salmonella free! (You can kiss them without getting sick! Seriously!
They’re housebroken, kind, clean, friendly, quiet, long lived.
Don’t smell, wander, need feeding, coops or permits
Raccoon proof, don’t mind rain
Can stay outside all night
Don’t forget, to help promote the tour this year, we’d like to post blogs from artists on the tour on our website, PortlandOpenStudios.com. This will bring traffic to the site, spark discussion on our social media outlets, and help you promote your open studio. The blogs can be about many things, like your artistic process, your history as an artist, or a how-to detailing a specific technique. It is OK to resurrect previous articles you might have posted on your own blog and I will modify if necessary for PDXOS blog. Our blog posts will appear under the “News” tab on the website.
We’d like each blog to be about 300 words and include at least one high-resolution image. We will help as much as we can with editing or suggestions for adding to the blog, if you have the seeds of an idea but are unsure how to complete it. If you write a blog, it counts for one hour of volunteer time. The more chatter online about the tour, the better the turnout for all the artists involved. If you are interested in writing for the site or have any questions, email Pat Kane at firstname.lastname@example.org.