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Encaustic Map Cube

I’ve been so obsessed with maps lately that I can’t stop painting them.  I think it’s mainly because they have so much meaning.  A map is essentially just a picture of straight and curved lines.  But if you recognize the place it represents, you can find your home, your old school, your best friends house, and so many other meaningful pin pricks on this otherwise innocuous picture.

I’ve lived in a lot of places throughout my life, and when I stumbled upon the idea of doing an encaustic map cube, I knew right away I had to put a different city on each side.  Though, I do think it would be pretty cool to try and do one city and have all the sides blend into the other.  Not sure how that would work, but it would be fun to try.

Would you like to commission a cube for you and your family?  Contact me at classicanj@gmail.com and we will discuss cities, colors, and timeline for delivery.  This painting would be a fabulous Christmas present for anyone on your list!

Encaustic Map Cube

I know it looks a little messy.  What doesn’t show in the video is that I actually messed up a bit on this project.  Usually when I fill in my lines with oil paint, I wipe the excess paint away immediately with a paper towel and some linseed oil.  This time, I was working on a few projects at a time, and once I added oil paint to 3 sides, I laid the cube down and didn’t come back to it for a couple days.  By that time, the thin layer of oil paint on those 3 sides had dried to the point where the linseed oil wouldn’t take it off.  I had to scrape it away with a clay tool, and that’s why some of the sides look a bit messier than they should.

So, important tip- don’t let your oil paint sit on the surface of your encaustic painting for more than a day if you want to be able to wipe it off.

Despite my mistakes, though, I love the way this map cube turned out.  What a fun way to commemorate the special places and memories in your life!

Abstract Painting of Charlotte, NC

I hope everyone’s fall has been spectacular so far!  I’ve been so busy bouncing from one project to the next that I’m stoked if I even finish anything at all!  Is anyone else like that sometimes?  I really hope I’m not the only one, and since I finally finished one project- this abstract painting of Charlotte, NC. And it turned out so incredibly well, I’m stoked to tell you all about it!

The tough part about this painting is that photos do not do it justice.  No matter how many settings I switch, or how much light I add or take away, I just cannot seem to capture the colors in their true form.  The greens and turquoises I used in this painting of Charlotte, NC blended so well, I almost can’t even believe it.  This map is so bright, so colorful, and it’s almost a shame to write about it at all since these pictures are only about a tenth as brilliant as the painting is in real life.  But, I love it too much not to share it.

Abstract Painting of Charlotte

This map was a bit hard to free hand.  The freeways make a giant circle, but the scale made it almost impossible for me to add any grids to the center like I usually do with my abstract maps.  However, once I finished adding the ink and acrylic paint, I decided it didn’t need any other streets or outlines. Definitely not a dark spot to represent downtown.  The only thing I added was a bit of pearlex powders to give it a little shimmer.

Since this is a painting you need to see in context, here is picture of my table set up for an art market I participated in recently-

If you’re interested in seeing more photos or purchasing this piece, just comment below or email me at classicanj@gmail.com.

Abstract Painting of Charlotte, NC

  

abstract painting of Charlotte, close up

Thanks for reading!!

Abstract Encaustic Maps with Layers of Color

There are so many artistic possibilities that are unique to encaustic painting. Achieving these kinds of transparent layers would be difficult, if not impossible, with any other painting medium.  It’s the main reason I love encaustic painting so much.  These encaustic maps have grids that are layered on top of one another.  They appear to be floating almost, and are noticeably at different levels within the painting.  Love it!

By the way, if you’re interested in purchasing this set, it’s listed here.

 

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Abstract Encaustic Maps

If you read my last post (also about abstract maps) you’ll know that I love the idea of the history behind the streets and grids that maps display.  How each city developed into what it is today fascinates me- the changing neighborhoods, the forgotten infrastructure, and all the hidden stories that these lines represent were constantly in my thoughts as I created these pieces.

Have any of you ever seen those shows that take you underneath the streets of a city?  They show you catacombs and sewers, modern infrastructure and historic, hidden places.  I love watching those shows, and I always wish that I was there with them.  The idea of touring beneath the streets of some of the most historic and famous cities in the world, learning the history and imagining the lives of the people who once stood where I would be standing, is so fascinating to me.

 

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Although these small 6×6 encaustic maps are not representative of any specific city, I imagine those hidden streets and sewers each time I see these pieces.  I created them organically, drawing the lines and shaping the grids quickly without references.  They really just represent possibility- how everything is created a piece at a time, and is constantly evolving.  Once thriving places will decay and be forgotten over time.  Maybe in the next life I’ll be able to understand the truth of what happened in so many of these places.  That would truly be awesome.

 

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Interested in purchasing this set?  Click here!

Abstract Mixed Media Piece- “One Great Whole”

I have had such a difficult time writing this post.  I don’t know what it is, but every time I try to type out the meaning, or the process of this particular mixed media piece, every word that pops up on the screen is terrible, and I hate it.  It’s taken me a week to get to this point, and I can truthfully say I have never had such a hard time sharing a piece of my art, which is funny because the artwork itself was so easy to create- my ideas were flowing, I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and the materials cooperated (for the most part).  Yet now when I want to share what I’ve created, how I did it, and the meaning behind it, I can’t seem to do it.

So, I won’t go into detail on the meaning behind my piece, as I was originally intending to do.  I’ll share with you the process, and listen to your ideas and questions on its’ meaning in the comments.  (hint, hint!)

Abstract Mixed Media Piece with India Ink and Quilling

adding symbolism

My initial idea with this piece was do make it completely black and white.  I began by taking my compass and drawing a variety of different sized circles on the surface of my 20*20 canvas.  I used my calligraphy pen to draw over the circles with black india ink, then spritzed the wet lines with water from my water bottle to feather the ink.

It was at this point that I had a flash of inspiration.  If I outlined one of the smaller, central circles with colored ink, it would really pop against the black and white.  In that moment of inspiration, I knew what this entire piece was supposed to represent, and from there it affected every choice that I made- elements, colors, words, my paper pieces- everything.

Here’s the full process outline-

  • I began by drawing circles with my compass, being careful not to punch any holes in the canvas.
  • I outlined the outside circles with black india ink, then while the ink was wet, I spritzed them with water.
  • I did the same with the colored circle, though I used 3 colors- purple, turquoise and teal india ink.
  • Once the surface was completely dry, I went over the circles again with the same colors, adding a rough, sketchy outline to the edge of each circle.
  • Lines of “lightning” from the main circle reach out to colorize former gray areas.  I used some fast and messy calligraphy along those lines, adding specific words.
  • Quilling pieces next!!  Just a few black and white ones.

Everyone responds to art differently, and even when you add specific ideas into your work, others will see different things.  I would love to hear anything that comes to your mind.  What does this mixed media piece mean to you?

adding symbolism to my artwork

mixed media piece- black and white with a pop of color mixed media piece with calligraphy abstract mixed media piece mixed media piece mixed media piece with india ink

Thank you for reading, and especially for sharing your thoughts below!

Square Quilling in Mixed Media Art- “Building Blocks”

Boy, it’s been a long time since I finished a project!  Two weeks… that’s an eternity. My husband and I are both in a local musical- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and it is taking up A LOT of time.  (I’ll be making some gifts and scrapbook pages related to the show, so stay tuned!!)  However, I’ve been wanting to try square quilling shapes, and so I decided to put them to use on a piece in my “Colored Splashes” line of artwork, this time using square cookie cutters instead of circles.  (For my first in the series, visit this post.)

square quilling mixed media art

Square Quilling and Ink Splashes Video Tutorial

  • I used a set of square cookie cutters, brushed india ink onto the edge, “stamped” it onto the surface, and then spritzed the wet ink with a bit of water.
  • Don’t go too crazy with the water- you only want it to feather a little bit, and you should still be able to see the square shape.
  • I use multiple colors and stamp all the shapes I want while the ink is still wet.  You can let things dry in between applications if you wish, but this way the colors blend together a little and adds more interest to the piece.
  • After the ink dried, I used the same cookie cutters to cut out square holes in a scrap piece of paper.  These were my masks so that I could use stamps on the surface, but only in certain places- the paper caught the unwanted ink.
  • I had some leftover chipboard frames from some Scrapiniec chipboard pieces I had used in other projects (This chipboard is so awesome- the layered pieces especially!) I made sure all the edges were white by painting them with gesso, then adhered them to the surface.
  • Now, for my quilling pieces!!  I use Gel Medium matte to adhere them. I also stacked a few on top of others.  I’ve never done that before, but I love it!
  • The last step (which I should have done a few steps before… oops!) was to take my calligraphy pen and my ink, and sketch a few lines over the squares and around the piece.
  • Finished!!

square quilling abstract art square quilling art square quilling art with india ink square quilling abstract mixed media art

This piece is for sale here.

So, who else has fallen in love with square quilling shapes?  🙂  I thought so!  If you try any of these techniques, please leave a link for me.  I would love to see them!!

DecoArt Dimensional Effects in Abstract Art

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!  I have a couple awesome mini canvases for you today, one of them bright green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.  🙂  I created them with DecoArt dimensional effects paste.  The consistency of this texture paste is so interesting- it’s like pudding.  For some reason, I just want to eat it out of the bottle.

decoart dimensional effects

It’s fascinating to me how brands of texture paste are so different from each other. I guess dimensional effects is not technically texture paste, but it’s similar.  However, the dimensional effects has an opaque, shimmery quality about it.

In this first piece, I’ve also added some green acrylic paint in various shades (also DecoArt) and some white india ink among my paper pieces.  I love the way the splatters of india ink and paint interact with the opaque quality of the texture paste.  It’s such a cool look!

DecoArt Dimensional Effects

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This sunset colored one, however, looks just awesome.  I love the colors, obviously, but for this piece I used all india ink with the dimensional effects and quilling pieces.  The liquid ink clung to the edges of the paste, really highlighting those areas and making them pop!

decoart paste with india ink decoart with quilling

What do you think?  Have you tried different brands of texture paste?  Which brand is your favorite so far?  I will confess, I see so many possibilities with this dimensional effects paste.  The fact that it is opaque, with a rather elastic consistency, kind of blows my mind.  I can’t wait to try some other techniques to mix it with paint, ink, etc. and see how it reacts, not to mention using it through stencils, with stamps, and who knows what else!