Archive for the ‘Experimenting’ Category

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

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.

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….;-))

Back to the Basics!

April 16, 2011

It’s been ages since I just worked with the iron, painting little landscapes, flowers, trees, candles etc. on 4×6″ cards. Mainly because I haven’t been teaching any basic classes for a LONG time. The last one was in May last year!
So I decided today that I would go back to the basics. I found a calendar from my old German friend Uschi Koch with 12 simple images and have tried to copy each of them. Now copying is not so easy! First you have to figure out the technique, then try to make it work, so I thought it would be good practice, instead of pottering along, doing my own thing…;-)

It was great fun; this is what I came up with:

Image 1

Sky/landscape with iron, dabbing with darker blue in foreground. Trees/buildings with stylus.

Image 2

Basic iron landscape in darker colours

Image 3

Basic landscape with pink skyline. Tree with iron, foliage with orange sponge. Little flowers with stylus.

Image 4

Simple flowers with stylus.

Image 5

Iron shapes with base/side of iron

Image 6

Basic landscape in light colours, grass stems with iron, featherheads with stylus without extra wax.

Image 7

Bulrushes with iron/stylus.

Image 8

Basic coating, stems with iron, flower heads with scrapy/stylus for yellow heart.

Image 9

Several passes with iron to make sky streaky. Path with scrapy on upturned iron. Some stylus details.

Image 10

Abstract shapes on coated card, with heat-resistant sponges.

Image 11

Leaf stencil shapes on coated card. Brush on gold powder, details with stylus.

Image 12

Multi-coloured coating. Candle shapes + flames with iron. Some dabbing with darker wax.

These really make me want to get back into teaching basic classes! The excitement of students coming up with their own images, exploring the many possibilities of the simple iron tool…
I’m going to play some more tomorrow!

If you leave me a comment here I promise to paint a little landscape just for you and send it to you in the mail!

P.S. I now realize that I should have mentioned a deadline to reply for sending people a little artwork…otherwise I could be painting for years to come…;-)
So I will close the “blog-candy” give-away now and everyone up until Kay will get something.

Water-soluble wax paints

April 15, 2011

A contradictio in terminis?! It sounds like it, but this “new” medium isn’t as far off as you’d think.

A chemical study of the paint media used in Roman paintings has allowed the development of a new painting technique, with outstanding characteristics, based on water-soluble beeswax. The basic components of the water-soluble encaustic (Punic wax) have been identified in Pompeian wall paintings and in Roman-Egyptian mummy portraits.

Water soluble wax paints

Cuni paints

Encaustic Cuni comes in 7 colours and can be applied  as a glaze, diluted with water and in full strength as impasto, allowing for lots of texture. I had an opportunity to test the paints and did a little landscape on canvas, using mostly glazes, and a small project on a wooden butterfly, with a palette knife to apply the paint in a thicker fashion.

Water soluble wax paints

Cuni waxes on small canvas

Wooden butterfly + normal gesso

Wooden butterfly + normal gesso

Painted with glazes and impasto method

Painted with glazes and impasto method

After applying with a palette knife I did heat the wax with a heat gun to force-dry the paint. The wax retained the texture much better than the normal wax paints, but did stay tacky for at least a week. I did scratch some lines into the dark blue glaze while still wet, to reveal other colours underneath, which had soaked into the gesso. Really like this effect!

The Cuni paints will be available at the Fifth International Encaustic Conference in Provincetown, Mass.,  and I’m sure they will cause a stir through the encaustic community!

Working with photographs

March 20, 2011

Last December I had to cancel my workshop “Encaustic and Photographs”, but I now feel I might be able to schedule it again soon. I dug up my notes, rewrote the tutorial and did a couple of test pieces.

The first one was printed with my inkjet printer on heavy cardstock. I started colouring with coloured pencils, then coating with medium, using a brush. After fusing I added more colour with wax this time and finally rubbed the piece with copper magic powder, which sticks nicely to any texture, but this is hard to see on the photo!
The original photo was of a couple of birch tree trunks, but it has now a much more abstract feeling. I think I will get rid of some of the glaring green….

Encaustic on photo 1

The second photo was printed, again with my inkjet, on special paper: Arches Velin Museum Rag, which is a beautiful, smooth paper. I cranked up the colours a bit with a photo editor and by accident I printed the image twice, but it really was a nice effect, so I decided to run with it.
After printing the photo was dipped in a bath with medium and coloured with Panpastels. The Panpastels started to run and bead up beautifully while I was fusing, so I’m happy with this one. And I like the left side, next to the image, but could not get it to work so well on the right…;-(

Encaustic on photo 2

Encaustic on photo 2


The last one is a 4×6 photo printed on glossy paper.
I sanded the photo a bit, to make it more receptive to the wax, then coated it with medium. I rubbed several colours of alcohol ink over it, blending and lifting here and there to bring out the big flower to the right and the smaller one on the left.
In the lower left corner I added more medium and pressed some netting in the soft wax. After removing the netting the texture was enhanced with more alcohol ink.
The dark shading on the right is done with Panpastels.

Encaustic on photo 3

Encaustic on photo 3


I’ve prepared several other photos by gluing them on pieces of wood, so they are all ready for the workshop; now I just have to pick a date!

More tangles

March 8, 2011

I’ve been tangling away, so below are a few more drawings.

I now have three books about Zentangle and my friend Carol found this fabulous link with hundreds more designs. You can even sign up there and they will send you new patterns to your inbox. This is going to seriously cutting into my wax time…;-))


My favourite so far

As you can see I often don’t get it right the first time!
Some tangles have been developed by special Zentangle teachers and I’ve noted their names.


Back in the studio

March 6, 2011

Usually by the fourth day after receiving the chemo I feel pretty low. During one of  these “crappy” days last week I lay down on the couch and watched the DVD Encaustic + Paper.
What a treat! Daniella, Judy and Wendy, the girls from Wax Works West are such fun to watch. They know their stuff and present a ton of ideas with great humour. They even have a segment where they invite the fire department to the studio to give some good advice!

So as soon as I was feeling a bit better I headed down to the studio, started to cut strips of some nice papers I found laying around and switched on my neglected palette (I swear I heard the wax gasp!).

This is what I came up with:

Abstract landscape

Abstract landscape on mid weight printing paper


Collage with tissue papers, teabag, dried tea on handmade paper

Bleach pen

Bleach pen on handmade paper

Detail of bleach project

Detail of bleach project

Alcohol inks / heat foils

Alcohol inks / heat foils

More alcohol inks / wax resist

More alcohol inks / wax resist with grunge board overpainted with black printing ink

Stencil on watercoloured paper

Wax resist with plastic stencil on watercoloured paper

If you have seen the DVD yourself, you’d notice that I kept close to the different projects shown. I first want to get a feel for the techniques, before getting to “artsy” with it…;-))

There is more to come, but I ran out of paper to work on!!

Saturday’s zentangle

February 19, 2011

I did a bit more on my last zentangle, colouring it in and adding some shapes.
It’s hard to know when to stop!