By Michael Bossom: Making Cards your Art

My wonderful friend Michael Bossom writes regular updates about Encaustic and He gave me permission to post his latest essay on my blog!

Making Cards your Art

A6 musical abstract, Ironed background, Stylus musical notes

Encaustic art is just one form of encaustic work. There are many approaches to the use of wax for creative imagery. One of the beauties of the encaustic art range is the relative simplicity of it’s approach. It can be used in fine art ways, but it is more often used by those who just want to melt into a creative state and lose themselves in those creative moments. Often the words hobby, craft or therapy are considered removed and unconnected with real art. But the truth suggests that most of those involved in art will have began in one of those regions. A hobby is something of enjoyment. A craft is something of skilled application. A therapy is something soothing and constructive, something that helps us live fully.

Making greetings cards is not the same as painting imagery for a fine art gallery display. And yet, in many ways it is just as meaningful to those involved. And at some point these card images will be given to another to express some particular idea; to communicate and share emotion. That can be a very valuable thing. I know of many people who keep original hand made cards when they would probably let manufactured cards be recycled. There is a great value in creating something especially for giving away to another. And from this exchange the echoing response is usually one that contains gratitude, respect, and an increased emotional connection. It feels good to give, it feels good to receive and it feels good to share those things together.

When we begin something new we are innocent and usually pretty naive. We ‘splash about a bit’ as we start to explore and usually we bump into what doesn’t work and what we don’t like as well as what does work and what we do like. Slowly we discover some of the different ways to bring the qualities we seek and are satisfied by into the work. At this stage that in itself is the work. The techniques become repeatable and skills arise. Our colour choices and balance of compositions reflect our understanding and inmate artistic state; it can’t be random if we are making the choices. We progress, and where there is dissatisfaction we either get stuck or we change. Encaustic art allows change as the wax melts and remelts whenever we choose to rework it.

Making cards really is a great way to explore and discover. The changeability of our molten wax colours under the heated tools is empowering. It is exciting to try out an idea, a direction and then be able to alter course as the work unfolds. And it is fun so long as we don’t try to preconceive what our result will be before our skills are developed enough. So take time to play with the encaustic waxes and the tools when you first begin this activity. Make lots and lots of cards. You will be your own judge as you look again at what you have created. You will feel that some of the cards are good enough to share whilst others didn’t quite get there. These moments of choosing reveal your own tastes and reflect your own states. Being you IS your art. The cards are simply a way of expressing, exploring and reflecting how you are. And it is this personal power of creation that we share when we give the card away. So enjoy making each card something different, something unique, something unrepeatable.

Long may you create and share.

Be sure to visit Michael’s  extensive online gallery.


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