Friday, April 20, 2018

Why Do I Keep going Back To Encaustic?

I have been going in several creative directions this year. I haven't settled on a series yet. You can see the variety of work that I have made at:

Finishing a portrait in oil last month, I made some more cold wax paintings, but my favorite, so far has been the "Really Red" encaustic painting. See above, alongside the Tattoo painting. The red painting is really hard to photograph because of the many layers of shiny red encaustic. I did contrast the shine with mat cold wax.

It was over 20 years ago that I fell in love with the encasutic technique when I saw it in a gallery in Portland OR.  The surfaces of the abstract paintings were like nothing I had ever seen. I left that gallery thinking, “I must find out how to do that.” There was little technical information about encaustic available at that time. I went to a Barnes and Noble, bookstore searching the shelves looking for information on encaustic. I realized later that the technical information that I found was wrong. It was the formula for cold wax, lots of stuff that should never be heated. I made mistakes, even using acrylic gesso on the supports and then having whole paintings slide off the surfaces when I returned to my Oregon studio on a sunny day.

Now we are inundated with encaustic info, some of it illuminating and beneficial, and some of it just wrong. I shutter at some of the “how to” encaustic videos I have seen. Anyone can post a YouTube video, or an online class after taking a workshop and become an instant teacher, but some of these people are not making archival work or using true encaustic. Just another reason that I love teaching encaustic workshops.

I am sorry that I can now longer access my workshop blog, so please check out the class workshop on my website, if you are interested:

I meet people on the street and am often greeted by, “You’re Ezshwan the encaustic artist!” I smile and avoid explaining that I can do more than paint in encaustic; however I am also flattered that I have made a name for myself with my exhibitions and classes.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

The Many Lives of An Encaustic Painting

I started this painting some time in early February and it sat leaning on the studio wall for weeks. I did take 9 days off to visit the Yucatan and have been working on other paintings as well.It had many changes. I started off with oil paint that I applied with my gloved hands. That was fun and freeing, but there is not sign of the the original surface anymore.

Can you help me with a name other than "Really Red" ?
First stage. Oil paint on cradled board
Now I am into several days of applying encaustic; going back and forth from this painting, the commissioned portrait and 2 other paintings.
The surface is now covered with many, many layers of encasutic. It can't get much redder!

To break up the beautiful shiny surface, I stenciled oil and cold wax on top of the encaustic. I like the mat texture that contrasts with the bright encaustic


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Women's History Month

For 12 years, I painted nothing but jazz musicians. As I traveled with my late husband, Kai Winding, html,  I always had a sketch book in hand and rapidly drew ink sketches of the performers. Even a few years after Kai's death, I continued to focus on the mostly male jazz musicians. One day I realized that that subject was not part of my life anymore. I am not a musician, I am a painter. Females were the biggest part of my life. I have 3 daughters, my partner in the gallery we co-owed in Scottsdale AZ, was a woman; most artists are women...

Then I started my women focused work. It is interesting that I was asked, "What's the matter?
Don't you like men?" All those years that I was drawing and painting men, no one asked if I didn't like women.

The Jazz Festival in Holland

Stan Getz in Nice, France

"I Open My Hand And Let Go from the series, "Her Journey"

"The Maiden and The Crone" from the series, "Every Woman is a Goddess"

Last year, I completed a series of women artists.

Here is one of them:

As I write this, I realize how many series have been focused on women.  I DO LIKE MEN.

Here is a series that I made 2 years ago; "Women Who Changed the World" I removed Suu Kyi, destroyed the painting, after she changed and ceased to be a hero. Here is the short video of that series.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

New Online Class

 Figurative encaustic paintings

I filmed an informal session in my studio of me painting a portrait in encaustic. It is as if you were standing right new to me in my studio watching me work.

I found that it is a challenge for me to talk while I work. but it is easier to see my palette layout and the use of brushes and tools to create a portrait.

Here is the first comment on the class: "Excellent. I have the book "A step by step guide to creating portraits in encaustic" by her but this video is way more enlightening. Seeing how she works from straight oil paints with only encaustic medium as a carrier is very informative. Watching her work back and forth through the composition is incredibly helpful. Because it gets to the same stage every painting gets where it looks like a mess. But then you see her work through the same steps in increasing detail until it's done. She uses almost no tools - 3 brushes and a pottery carving tool. And the only colored encaustic she uses is black (and that probably wasn't required because she could have used china marker or black oil pastel stick). It does take oil paints to follow this, just a couple reds, a couple yellows, a couple blues, white and an ochre (if you want to do it the same. but the same results could have been achieved probably with a limited palette of red, yellow, blue, white and burnt sienna) At the end where she rubs in oil pastel was very useful is seeing how to get very smooth skin textures if you want. Well worth the money, more useful than the book and faster delivery than the book."

Here  is the intro video:  

Sunday, March 4, 2018

What's Next?

Even though I have been painting more years than many people reading this blog have been alive, I still go through periods of doubt in my ability. I consider it a honor to call myself an artist and always want to push myself farther and farther. What to do next?

I haven't been able to get back in the studio to work on the last painting I posted since I was traveling in the Yucatan for 9 days and I am in the midst of catching up on postings on my website, blogs, FB page, Instagram, etc., but while looking for a pack of tarot cards that I created from 33 of my paintings back in the early 90's, I found some copies and prints of paintings that I created years ago.
I mentioned to my daughter, "I really could paint!" At this point, perhaps I am trying to hard to be change styles and am influenced by other artists that I admire.

Here are some photos of the tour of the Yucatan. and some old paintings. I
colorful street in Campache

enjoying my stroll by the water

The pelican reserve when 30,000 birds safely nest

Talum, at least there was a ocean breeze

Lots of textured encaustic over oil

a painting I made about 17 years ago, sold

This one is from the 1980's. Stolen . I hope someone is enjoying it.

Another old painting, sold

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Studio Days

I love nothing more than being able to have uninterrupted days in the studio. It has not been possible for a while because of an armed hold up of my daughter with 3 other people leaving the Mexico City airport. Fortunately all the passengers are alive, but suffering stress.

Also  I taught for two days this week and could forget all the problems the robbery created. I love sharing encaustic techniques with eager participants in the workshops. A double delight is getting to meet people I would not have met isolated in my studio. See my workshop blog:

Here is a new painting I have been working on. I know what I want to create, but I have to struggle with my habit of  loving to paint portratis and not get picky with these faces. Off and on I have worked on this for 5 days. It is not finished and I may get to work on it a bit more before I leave for the Yucatan next week.

Day one. Acrylic washes

day two laying our patterns in oil

day three, more placement

Day four.  I started painting with my hands to soften the figures

Finally getting the softness that I am seeking

oil sticks and more painting with a gloved hand.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Nudes in Art?

acrylic on canvas, 1988
This is the first nude I painted when I was a freshman in art school.
I posted an older encaustic painting on an encaustic Facebook page and it started a flood of comments after my post was flagged as being objectionable.

I have been working from live, nude  models since I was 19 years old. In art school, along with drawing and painting the figure, we studied human anatomy for 2 semesters. We had to know all the bones of the skeleton, and the names of them the first semester and the second semester, the muscles had to be learned and at the final exam, we had to draw them from memory.

Anyone upset about these paintings? The human form is still a thing of beauty for me. Interesting that this painting was upsetting to an unidentified complainer.
Here is that trouble maker..