Too Hot for Wax….?!

February 20, 2012

As I mentioned I did not bring my waxes to Costa Rica, so I’m not sure how painting in encaustic is going to work out here in the tropics.

But I can tell you what happened to a paraffin candle we placed in a bottle on the counter… 

Short power blackouts are common here and we stocked up on cheap candles and matches to be able to find our way around the house in case it got dark all of a sudden. Peter placed a candle in an empty wine bottle, which is a very common way back home, although we were warned against it by Hans of restaurant Ylang Ylang. Soon we found out why people here use tealights instead!

When we leave the house to go on a short trip we close all windows and operate the fans on low; coming back the place was always boiling hot, which made the candle leaning over more and more each time, until it could go no more:

Now we have this whole stack of useless candles…;-)

Two more drawings from Playa Pinuela: the first a row of small islands/rocks at the horizon. The formation on the right is called Las Tres Hermanas (The Three Sisters) and to the left is part of Piedra Ballenas. It sports a small, lonely palm tree on the bare rocks.

The second one is the view from under the palm trees to the right of Playa Pinuela, looking north. At high tide the whole beach disappears and only a narrow band of round stones separates the jungle from the waves.

This is one of a series of beaches inside a national park. To enter the beach a very nice, English speaking (!) uniformed man collects $6.00 per person and you can drive your car into one of the many spaces under the palm trees. People bring everything and the kitchen sink and spend the day lazing under the trees, cooking, eating and talking. If you like you can visit any of the other beaches in the park, using the same ticket for the day.

This particular beach had washrooms and showers.

Every morning for the past weeks we have been bird-watching from our patio, getting up before 6 AM. We brought a pair of binoculars,  got ourselves two bird guides of the area and try hard to identify the different birds we see.

Regulars are Fiery-billed Aracari (a kind of small toucan), flycatchers, Kiscadees, parrots, vultures, woodpeckers and the Chestnut-mandibled Toucan (a big bird with an enormous beak and yellow front.

I made a drawing of the last one, using Zentangles this time:




A Change of Pace

February 15, 2012

For the past four weeks we have made a small house in the jungle of Costa Rica our home. Two years ago we bought some land nearby and we wanted to experience how it felt to live in the tropics for a longer period.

I had not brought any encaustic waxes on this trip, but a nice5.5 x 8 “mixed media visual journal, a set of micro pens, graphite pencils, a small container with watercolour cakes and a set of highly pigmented water colour crayons.
My drawings became a combination of Zentangles work and water colour sketches, starting with pencil, then defining with the micropens and sometimes adding colour.
The pages of the journal were sturdy and took the watermedia very well.

The drawing below was inspired by some nice pattern on the back of a dining room chair in San Jose.

The change of pace has been very rewarding. Here we do not have internet, so days start with coffee and a big plate of fruits (the pineapples are amazing, both in size and taste!), sitting on our patio overlooking the forest. Almost immediately the show starts and we spot all kinds of exotic birds through our binoculars in the opposite trees: tucans, aracari, flycatchers, parrots, parakeets and even some Capuciner monkeys.
Peter was able to take some great shots, and I tried to draw the birds in my sketchbook.

Often we only heard their calls, and for lack of a visual, I created some bird species of my own!
Below is an annoying fellow, who started screeching around 4:30 AM, making all further sleep impossible (he competed there with the Howler Monkeys, which were so loud you could swear they were under the bedroom window!)
This one I called the Emerald-bearded 4:30 Nuisance.

And here is the Bouncing-Teakettle Bird, who’s call sounds just like its name; this guy must have amazing lungs!

Of course there was lots of scenery to enjoy too. We found this perfect little beach, not too far from the paved road, with tall trees lining the sand, where you could park your car, unload the folding chairs and just gaze over the ocean for hours (until the flood waters chased you away.

Before I left I’d done a short workshop with Kindrie Grove, were we talked a bit about perspective. As I spotted an old concrete railing I thought it would make a good challenge. What do you think??

We’ll be back in Canada soon, leaving this paradise behind, but I hope we can bring a bit of that Pura Vida with us to the great white north!

Painted pages

January 1, 2012

Happy New Year everyone! May all good things come your way this year.

The past few days I’ve been frantically decorating journal pages, inspired by some tutorials at Joggles. After the first hesitation I found it very addictive to ruin a perfectly white page by splashing ink, paint or glue on it and watch what happened. And this time NO WAX was involved!

Here is a snapshot of my worktable:

And here are some of the pages. The book is about 5×8″, designed to work mixed media, which means that the paper does not fall apart when you wet it.

Of course the first page gets a crow...;-)

Here I tried a simple drawing of scissors, which were on my table, used a self-cut bee stamp and collaged on the flowers. The lettering is with rub-on letters.

A drawing of an old Japanese ornament, coloured with LuminArte and sprayed with water.

And I finally got back to the Zentangles again!

This is on the back of a page, where the colour bled through. Self-cut stamp + a bit of tangling.

This page turned out pretty by itself! Watered down ink with silk salt added.


Not such a bad year after all….

December 30, 2011

Art biz coach Alyson B. Stanfield each year challenges her readers to take stock of the past year, to see what you have accomplished, what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown. I did it two years ago (it was a real eye-opener!) and decided to do it again this year.

In 2011 . . .

I added approximately 175 new people to my mailing list, gained numerous new followers on Twitter and created a Fan Page on Facebook for TwinLakes Encaustic Art, which has now 171 likes. The Ning community on Encaustic Art grew to more than 900 members, with almost 250 new members since January 2011.

Marketing & Business
In the past year I participated in 11 exhibitions. I sold 21 paintings and got my first commission, which was well received.
New this year was my involvement with the Lake-to-Lake Studio Tour. It forced me to tidy up my studio and present it as small gallery with proper title/price cards. We also had a beautiful flyer printed with details of all the participating studios, and the group created a facebook page and online map. During the summer I had almost 50 people visiting me, which resulted in more names for my mailing list, people signing up for workshops and several cards and paintings sold.

Also new were the Lobby Gallery Sundays at the Penticton Lakeside Resort in the period before Christmas. I was able to rent some display screens to hang my paintings and did demonstrations with the iron. Many people signed up for my mailing list and I sold 4 paintings.

I wrote 53 blog posts, 12 newsletters and 13 Ning broadcasts last year.

Education & Exploration
While at the International Encaustic Artists retreat in Portland last September I attended many talks and demonstrations. I also was chosen President of their new Canadian Chapter CanWax.
One of the highlights of the retreat for me was getting to know Kelly Williams and Bridget Benton. Kelly has worked closely with people struggling with addiction and presented a very personal tale of success. Bridget’s  talk about creativity really blew me away, and she is incredibly funny! I hope to invite both of them to Canada to share their stories.

New resources for me were the online classes by Linda Womack. I signed up for 2 and will certainly take more in the future. I also took dry embossing with Viv and a drawing class with Kindrie. My bookkeeping skills improved and I can now reconcile my own bank and credit card statements.

I learned to inject myself medication and discovered Zentangles, an artful way of doodling.  I even drew some left-handed.  A number of drawings were coated with wax and became part of the Untangled exhibition. Recently I also incorporated them in small paintings in combination with the crow images.

I taught 9 workshops, held one circle meeting, did a demo with local girl scouts, took 2 vegan cooking classes and participated in the 5th. RipOff Challenge.

During the summer I created a new body of work: the Hills & Trees series, of which many paintings sold this year.

My paintings received 1 + 2 place in the art contest of the May issue of Okanagan Artworks.
Okananagan Artworks also published a feature article about me and placed the winning painting on the cover.
In October there was an article in Okanagan Sun about Untangled, my joined show with Bethany Handfield, and Skaha Matters mentioned my studio with a picture.
Being part of the RipOff Artists brought publicity in 3 newspaper articles and hundreds of viewers during the RipOff week and the following display at the Fall Art Show in Oliver.

4 of my paintings were admitted into FCA juried shows; two of them got send to Vancouver.

I was able to support Gilda’s Club Simcoe Muskoka with discounts and extras, and I sent extra iron and waxes to The Creative Cocoon, Ontario, an organization which works with seniors.

And one last thing: while doing all of the above I was battling breast cancer with the unwavering support of my fantastic husband and all my dear friends, far and wide.

After the surgery in Oct. 2010, I underwent 5 chemo and 20 radiation treatments and numerous tests in 2011. I lost all of my hair and grew it back again.
Although being ill from the treatments did slow me down a bit, if I now read over what I’ve accomplished this year, I’m very proud of myself.
It was not a bad year after all!

P.S.: Below is an oil portrait of me by Bill Hibberd, which he painted last month. I think he captured very well what this last year has been about for me: life-changing, resulting in a determined optimism…

Thea Haubrich by Bill Hibberd

More lucky winners!

December 29, 2011

In June this year I became a member of the Lake-to-Lake Studio Tour, a group of 11 artists and one small Penticton artist-run gallery. We promote our work together to try and get more interested art lovers inside our studios. It forced me to tidy up my space, take stock, price my work on a consistent basis and display the paintings in a pleasing manner.

Instantly the studio space became more attractive to work in, so that was a great added bonus, and I also found several long-lost pieces of art supplies, which were hiding in drawer corners! This was all very stimulating and I think it was one of the reasons why I finished so many paintings this year, despite the crippling chemo treatments.

And folks did come and visit! All in all almost 50! From their names Peter drew one and so Jaine B. from Kelowna will receive one of my recent works on paper:

With all those give-aways I can understand you as blog reader might get a bit envious, so there’s going to be one more present.  If you leave me a comment on my fine art site here, you qualify for the final draw! And this is the little painting:
Good luck!!

Creative end spurt!

December 28, 2011

The week before Christmas got me into a creative frenzy! First I decided to make some small gift bags, to put little presents in like chocolates, soap, roasted nuts etc. Splitcoast Stampers had a lovely design, which I used with double-sided designer papers. You will find the instructions here. (not sure if you might have to sign up for the site, but it is certainly worth the trouble!)

Then I had a vision at night of my Zentangle drawings, combined with the crow images and couldn’t wait to try that out. I used 3x4x1.5 cradled wood panels, which were primed with encaustic gesso. The Zentangle drawings were glued on and coated with several layers of medium. The next step was adding the birds, partly transfer, partly painted with wax.

I really liked how they came out and sold all three as soon as I had posted them on Facebook!

Another project which I had put on the back burner was playing with my screen print set again. My profile picture used to be a screen print from an old photo, but now my hairstyle changed, so I’d wanted to get a new profile picture.
This is what I came up with: one of them is now the new profile picture.




















As the three small crow paintings sold so fast, I made another three, this time 6x6x1.5″. The middle one has already found a good home! The other ones are available from my fine art site. Just click the image.

Somebody won a painting…

December 23, 2011

The Lobby Gallery at the Penticton Lakeside Resort has come to an end. I attended all 4 Sundays and found it a wonderful opportunity to present my artwork and meet new people.

Thanks again for signing up for my email list. I hope you will enjoy the monthly messages from the “world of wax”!

To express my gratitude I’m giving away one of my paintings. My husband picked a number and the person on my Lobby Gallery list with that number is the winner!

This is the painting (5.5 x 8″). It comes with a 10×12″ mat and is ready to drop into a standard frame.

 And the lucky person is…..Penny K.!

Congratulations, Penny! The painting will be in the mail to you next week!

Merry Christmas

and a Happy, healthy 2012!


P.S.: I really enjoy giving away stuff, so I’m also going to give away a painting to one of the people who signed my Studio Tour Guestbook this year!

Find me on Facebook   Follow me on Twitter   Visit my blog

700 sheets of chiyogami paper!

December 1, 2011

In my series Hills & Trees I’ve been using chiyogami paper, a wonderful Japanese paper which I bought in Tokyo many years ago. Meanwhile my supply is quite low.

A friend alerted me that is giving away  one 8.5×11 sample sheet of each of the over 700 patterns they offer online! Imagine the paintings I could make with those….

I’ve entered their draw; please keep your fingers crossed for me!

Embossing with Viv

November 27, 2011

Nothing gets the creative juices flowing like trying out some new, exciting technique!
As Viv Lieskovsky emailed around she was going to give a short workshop on dry embossing I totally fell in love with the sample she showed and signed up on the spot.

So yesterday afternoon 10 intrigued ladies met at Viv’s lovely studio space and threw themselves into making plates and running editions. Viv had prepared a little bag for each of us, containing 4 pieces of sturdy cardboard, 140 lb watercolour paper, 2 pieces of tin and some card making supplies.

We started by making the plates: on the card board we had to create a design with pieces of sandpaper, textured card board, puzzle pieces, metal wire or anything else that could provide texture. I decided to use my beloved crows; this is how my first plate looked:

Plate #1, 2x2"

The next step was to soak a piece of watercolour paper in water, blot off excess liquid and place the plate + the paper into Viv’s press:

This is Viv, demoing the process

Positioning and keeping everything lined up was a challenge and my plate shifted a bit, but I was happy with the embossed image I got:

Finished print, 3 3/4 x 5 1/2"

Below are the 4 plates I made. Aren’t they lovely just on their own?!

The little landscape with the trees came out quite nice as well. The trees are thin metal cut-outs, of which I glued 3 on top of each other give them more of a relief. After printing some got stuck onto the paper and it looked beautiful!
The trees are actually gold-coloured, but I changed the image to black/white to show off the texture better.

Before framing the plates I’m going to try if I can get some good embossed prints with my Cuttlebug, a small press which is used in the stamping business.
And then of course I have to find a way to incorporate some wax in the process….;-))

paintings. emotions. connections

November 21, 2011

Paintings can have a powerful way to evoke emotions, as I experienced yesterday during the third Sunday of the Lobby Gallery at the Lakeside Hotel.

Detail: We Are Not Alone

At the front of my table I had again displayed one of my latest paintings, We Are Not Alone, this time with a spotlight directed at it.  The light really brought out the textured  surface and the painting got lots of attention. Some people suggested another orientation and we had a lot of fun turning the painting upside down (looked quite good), or sideways, which was less flattering.

At one point a lady stopped and looked long at the painting; she seemed lost in thought, so I waited a bit with approaching to greet her. She then told me that the painting made her think of the gold rush, which took her back to the Yukon, where she came from.
Many years ago she had come to the Okanagan , on accord of some bad circumstances, leaving behind all friends and family. She then revealed to me she had been a victim of the Canadian Indian Residential School system, which  was intended to force the assimilation of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada into European-Canadian society. The purpose of the schools, which separated children from their families, has been described as cultural genocide or “killing the Indian in the child.”

She now was an advocate for the victims and shared her story through lectures to make people aware of the wronged indigenous people.

This all came pouring out her, because my painting had connected with her….we both were amazed at the intensity of our emotions and embraced as she left.
Bella, you made a big impression on me, thanks for sharing your story on accord of my painting!

On a lighter note: although I did not sell any paintings yesterday, I had great fun talking to everyone who stopped at my table. Carol brought over several people, who had seen her display, to introduce me to them as “the teacher”.

And at the very end of the show Barb Hofer and I exchanged a painting, so technically we both sold a painting!

This is the beautiful painting I got:

Barb Hofer, Similkameen Symphony, 14x18

In exchange Barb took one of my latest Hills & Trees paintings:

Thea Haubrich, Connected, 12x12