Plein Air Encaustics

Post by Sheary

Journal entry, January 22, 2012: TO DO: Upload Casita paintings to blog.

Sheary painting in her "studio" at Edisto Beach State Park, South Carolina

Well, it’s now exactly two months later since I made that journal entry with good intentions….Nard and I arrived back here to the Colorado Springs home base over a month ago. One of the main reasons I registered this blog last fall was to facilitate staying connected with my alaska friends and to begin connecting with my new colorado friends, as I traveled in the lower 48 this winter. I didn’t do such a good job of it. Logistics of opening the laptop, finding wi-fi………well, contrast that option with sunrise on the beaches, sunset on the bikes, you can imagine the obstacles J

I also started a blog as an enticement to re-connect with my writer-self. Many of you know I was a writer before I became a visual artist. Alaska Quarterly Review intern and contributing editor, a couple young adult romance novels, a stint as a contributing writer for the now defunct Alaska Outdoors magazine, quite a bit of headway into an MFA in creative writing at UAA.

A writer writes. A painter paints. I did come off the two month road trip with a full journal of thoughts and ideas that may see the light in this blog someday. But today, I have finally photographed and adjusted images of a few of the plein air “Casita Series” that I painted during our gulf coast road trip.

Starry Miami Night, 8 x 10, encaustic on panel

One of my artist friends asked me if I expected my painting style would change and if so in what ways, by virtue of the fact that I would be painting out of doors, when and where I could. Either with the one burner butane camp stove, or the electric hot plate, with a large flat frying pan as my palette, and colors limited to what I packed in a single bag. As opposed to the awesome space of the 20 x 12’, 6 palette, unlimited colors, at the Shorecrest studio.

Santa Maria Island, FL. 10 x 8, encaustic on panel

Although I certainly missed the comforts and versatility of an indoor studio, I found plein air painting did affect my work in some lovely ways. The size of my heated palette limited me to about 10 colors. All artists understand the advantages of limiting one’s palette, but few can restrain themselves. I still found myself working on multiple paintings at the same time, albeit smaller in dimension. I still am enjoying complexity of surface……very big into building deep layers of wax, carving, filling, scraping back………repeat. I feel myself channeling my paternal grandfather, who was an accomplished wood carver.

Plein Air Encaustic Palette

Painting in the south of course has it differences from painting in Alaska. With warmer temperatures, I had longer to wait until the wax was firm enough to carve back into. A small price to pay, I assure you J Some words from my journal on this:

“1/23/12 Hunting Island State Park, South Carolina: I don’t want to leave this place. Plein air at its best. It was heaven having a “studio” picnic table in the morning. The table was also my “office” when I had to open the lap top to reply to some Sport Fishing Alaska clients. Warm air, ocean sounds. Later, a mt. bike ride through forest of pines and palms, such an odd and wonderful combination of foilage…..I must remember to lean to make the curves, rather than try to steer into the curves……. then a walk on the beach at sunset. Nard biked the rougher trails while I painted, then he painted “in the studio” while I was on the laptop with an IEA board meeting.”

Red Sky, Key West, FL, 8 x 10, encaustic on panel

Next time………. Painting with/from objects found along the beaches.

This entry was posted in Art, Winter 2011 -2012 Road Trip. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Plein Air Encaustics

  1. broperartist says:

    Sheary –happy to see you posting. Really enjoyed the Casita series: Santa Maria Island and Key West/Red.


  2. Jeffrey Ross says:

    SUITER SUITER SUITER..!!! HOW COOL! I HAVE BEEN PAINTING AND PRINT MAKING..opps cap lock… in a shared studion in Venice, Ca.!! It is a space that my 4 friends have shared since the 70’s!!! it is right on Main St. Santa Monica/Venice/Ocean Park..!
    I’ll send some pix. So happy for you..that ypou are pai ting and cool! I am getting along OK here with the sober living deal !! trying and stressful as I want to make it.. NOT 🙂
    Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks for the update. Check yopur regular email for pix

    (Jeff) ROSS, XXXOOO


  3. Deb Komitor says:

    Thanks for taking us on your trip! I needed a vacation! Love your new encoustics, The starry night sky and the last one with the red sky are fantastic! Welcome back to Colorado Springs.


    • Thanks for coming along, Deb, and for the welcome back….Nard and I both still have lots of ‘catching up’ posts of the journey, so many wonderful places and experiences to share. Give us a call if you’d like to come by and see the encaustic paintings in person…encaustic just does not photograph well….the starry sky, for instance, is carved back to reveal the yellow of the stars. We’re in process of converting the garage to an encaustic studio….I’ll be holding encaustic workshops here by early summer:)


  4. Pam butcher says:

    Glad to hear of your adventures…was wondering where you’d been :-)))


  5. Rebecca Lorenz says:

    It has been wonderful getting to know you and being hopefully one of your new Colorado friends. At breakfast several weeks ago you mentioned that you were touched by the work done at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery and how it made you feel a little uncomfortable with your “cushy” life. That really struck a cord with me because I felt the same way when I visted the Center several years ago. I always feel that I’m at my best when I stick my neck out and find ways to make a difference in the lives of others. My life feels a little too cushy also right now so if you figure out a project to work on I would like to help with it. Maybe we’ll get Nard involved also.

    I’m glad your travels brought you safely back to Colorado.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s