I went to Madrid, NM last month for a self-designed artist’s retreat. I registered for Ellen Koment’s “Beyond Beginning, Going Large” 5 day workshop. Yes, I already know and do paint on larger panels. But I have been missing my Alaska encaustic painters’ camaraderie, and I’ve wanted to get to know Ellen, so committing to a workshop seemed a great way to get to paint with other encaustic enthusiasts and spend a week immersed in painting without day to day distractions of the home studio.
I reserved an AirBnb about 10 miles north of Ellen’s Madrid studio. Alone time. New Mexico style skies and vistas.
What I learned from my week with Ellen:
Paint with bigger brushes. I always say I can do anything with my one inch chip brushes, and it’s true, but boy did I knock out the 24 x 30 panels when I used three inch brushes!
Which leads directly to lesson two: A painting CAN be made in a day (or two). Which leads to lesson three: Painting regular long hours every day makes a HUGE difference in the resulting work.
What I learned from myself:
Alone time is a wise use of one’s time. No tv or radio for a week is healthy.
I also learned I wouldn’t care to live in the New Mexico desert land. My casa was adorable, modern, clean. But if you hear scuffling noises in the kitchen in the middle of the night…it’s a mouse. And if you don’t hear scuffling noises in the middle of the night, it’s microscopic (and I do mean tiny!) ants crawling across the counters. Again. It is desert. Those critters live there and it is apparently an ongoing challenge for human residents to co-habituate.
From my new painting friends, I also learned things unexpected in a painting workshop: How to make gazpacho. How to use a wine app “vivino.”
I made some work I’m really happy with, too…a few samples:
Lots of journal time, lots of walking time. Even the drive by myself, strange, since Nard and I are usually sharing the driving, but “the change is gonna do you good!” Try it!