Monday, September 16, 2013

Minding My Own Beeswax: Exploring Encaustics

Chloe's Icon (Stacy Wills, 2013)
encaustics on wood, photograph digitally altered

This past weekend, I took a class at The Mary C. O'Keefe Cultural  Center in Ocean Springs, Mississippi during their "Art by the Sea Retreat" taught by the fabulous and wonderful, Kat Fitzpatrick.  

Until recently, I had never heard of "The Mary C" (as it is affectionately known).  But a wise friend had sent me a link to their website.  As I looked over the list of classes to be offered, several piqued my curiosity, but   one definitely stood out - Courting Stillness:  An Icon Workshop for the Harried Pilgrim.  The medium was encaustics, which uses heated beeswax to which colored pigments can be added.  I have been wanting to learn about encaustics for some time now, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity, as another interest of mine is icon writing.

The facility and staff at The Mary C are top notch, and if you ever have a chance to visit or take a class there, I would highly recommend it.  The teacher, Kat Fitzpatrick, was excellent, well-prepared, generous of spirit and very encouraging to everyone.  She opened the class by anointing our palms with lavender scented beeswax, and for the next four hours, our group was a hive of activity...and with some pretty sweet results all around.  At the end, Kat sang over us an Irish blessing in benediction in one of the most beautiful, full voices I've ever heard.  (added bonus:  listen to Kat serenade her bees)

Above is a photo  of the icon I created using a photocopy of a picture of my daughter, Chloe, which I then digitally altered using my sacred altering process.  Other collage elements included a scrap of a wallpaper border along the bottom, and for the rose window, the center from one of my mandalas.

 I will definitely be exploring encaustics more in the future - it's a truly gorgeous, forgiving  and fascinating medium.  

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