August 18, 2010

* Encaustics Class with Ezshwan

Before you begin delving into today's post, you may want to visit Ezshawn Windings' web site HERE..  You will have a glimpse into her soul.   The well is deep. 

Encaustics has interested me for many a moon now.  The thought of being able to work with the richness and depth of beeswax with the ability to embed 'stuff' into layers of the 'stuff' is an exciting idea to me.

For the last two days, five of us, with the knowledge, years of experience and guidance of Ezshawn Winding, have been absolutely lost in the world of beeswax and fire.  I have fallen in love with Mexican propane torches, squealed with delight at starting my table on fire, and even enjoyed a near spa treatment when a can of hot purple wax literally jumped from a class mates' hand, splashing pokadots on my ankle, no doubt developing a new trend!

There is nothing as much fun or more inspiring than spending time with a group of like minded people.  Women inspired by colour, texture, form, movement, pattern, design, composition, and experimenting freely with a new process. "Feeling" our way into the medium, what can it do, how does it work, what happens if we cut into it here or spread India ink on it there.  Learning, pushing the limits and having a new adventure into an entirely new area of art.  Women who have always been inspired and attracted to art and beauty.  Kindred spirits, inspiring spirits.  Women with interesting backgrounds such as fabric design, entertainment and costume design, fine arts. Well educated, well traveled, sensitive artists who have been through hell and back, nevertheless, always interested in exploring new genres, and seeing more on the path of life.   Quality time spent, simply doesn't get any better than this for me.

I'd love to share a little of my two days with you.   So here goes - in photographs.  What would I do without my camera!  I do adore it.  The memory keeper.
Getting our first glimpse into the process of encaustics.  Hmmmm .... a propane blow torch!  Interesting, I think to myself.

Ezshwan demonstrates every step of the process.  Personally, I was drawn to the hiss of the propane torch when it was lit.   ... only kidding.  Although I was accused of being a pyromaniac!  I mean really .... just because I lit my table on fire ... oh yes, and the cheesecloth ...

After being shown the process and how to make medium etc., we set off on our own to experiment and have some fun.

Jenny, a fabric designer, beginning a new and exciting chapter of her life in San Miguel.  Her work from the class follows.  I can definitely see a 'fabric designers' voice in these pieces.

The voice of a mother who adores her family.

Introducing Judith.  With home being part time in San Miguel and part time in other interesting places, Judith's work is influenced by architecture and symmetry.  A interesting woman hooked on art, well traveled with a pension for the enjoyment of life.  We are all invited to her house for dinner.  Southern hospitality. 
Judith's voice holds the whispers of architectural symmetry and order.

Cate, a fine artist specializing in Mixed Media.  An American with adventure in her soul, making a home base in Australia, wanderlust overtakes she and her husband, and they find themselves in San Miguel having art shows and creating, speaking with their unique voices to express themselves in form.

This piece spoke to me in a very loud voice.  Cate made it for an old friend who is coming to visit.  One with whom she had studied in Art School.  He is now the director of the New York Ballet Costuming Division.  How appropriate she chose the image of a dancer.  I think the composition, pallet, and theme are exquisite.  I begged her for this piece.  After all, I did have purple splattered ankles.  She stood firm in her decision.  : o (

And now for Cates' 'best of show', behold "Hot Wax on Bare Skin", or "Purple Poka Dotted Ankles."  A new wave of body painting taking over encaustic studios across the country.  I call it a 'near spa experience'.  : o )

Isabella.  A woman redefining herself and where she wants to be at this time in her life.  Fascinated by encaustics her background constitutes the entertainment and design business. 

Now it's my turn.  Naturally holding the camera, I don't have a photo of myself.  Here's my work.  Just makes me want more.

Patanjali (c. 1st to 3rd century BC)
"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds; your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be."


  1. You have been bitten by the encaustic angel....isn't she addictive!

    Thanks for these marvelous photos; I loved viewing the interpretations and creations.

    Did the instructor have you seal the top with anything, like Dorland's Wax? I use this as a final coat which you apply like a thin polish and buff with a cloth. It really makes the piece shine.

  2. Donna, I'm so happy that you discovered encaustics! I may have mentioned that I also went to a workshop and LOVED it (we used a regular old heat gun, though, as opposed to a blow torch!)I really love the look - it just seems a bit daunting to set it up at home. Maybe in your new studio - I love how you've documented everyone's work here, but I have to say, I think I like yours the best!!

  3. Hi Carolyn. Yes, this little angel could be addictive. We didn't coat our work with anything. Ezshwan is a purist I think. As the pieces cure, she told us they will become clearer and the best think for polish was our warm hands or a lint free cloth. Naturally, she spends hours scraping and polishing. Some of her finishes are absolutely incredible! Thanks again for sending me the book - so much fun. xx

    Patty - I didn't know you had taken an encaustics class. Any photos available? I'd love to see. No heat guns available here - it's the torch or importing from the states which is expensive! I actually find the torch a little on the 'edge' and fun. Very expensive to set up encaustics here. I will not do anything just now at any rate. I'm taking the advanced class next week though. :o)