I recently went through some old boxes of mine and found art work that I did when I was 3 years old. My Mom was so great to think ahead and date each and every piece of my art work. I was amazed at what a little kid can do; in fact what I did between the ages of 3 and 10. Apparently that is when I stopped doing any art work which make me a tad bit sad but I think I feel lucky to still have these paintings. One of the most vivid childhood memories I have is me finger painting outside with one of my Dad’s old shirts on and how full my heart-felt. It was such a strong memory that I went back to that same preschool as an adult and even though it was smaller it looked exactly same and it made me smile. I can still smell the paint, my Dad’s cologne and the way the newsprint felt under my little 3-year-old fingers.
Jumping ahead to about 2 months ago, I decided that I wanted to learn how to paint with wax. I had gone to art school and wanted to learn while in school but they didn’t allow that type of painting due to its toxicity and the fact that you have to heat wax. I have been reading numerous books and watching YouTube videos and trying learn all I needed to be able to paint with wax. Two weeks ago I felt I was ready to start encaustic painting. I had purchased all the wax, a few boards and paint brushes and set out to become an encaustic painter. It was a disaster; the first 2 paintings I did were a big mess, they reminded me of what my painting first looked like when I began oil painting. I put down my brushes and reread a book that I have on the subject. The next day I was back out in my studio at it again; I am nothing if not driven to succeed. I wasn’t going to let the WAX win! My third painting wasn’t bad, It wasn’t great either. It helped me to have my childhood paintings around hanging up in my studio. I could feel my enthusiasm building like when I was three and tried again and lo and behold my 4th painting was great.
The reason I decided to try encaustic painting stemmed from a love of 3 dimensional painting, a love of paper and found objects. It is the perfect medium to express myself. The first painting I completed that I was happy with is called 3 squared and I painted it for my brother-in-law as a thank you. I found some really cool paper and these old bingo wooden numbers that I incorporated into the piece. I cut out the letter J and put it on the bottom left hand corner of the triptych. The boards were glued together after I painted them. There is the number 3 in all the pieces, along with 3 pieces of 5×5″ clay boards. I have done 4 more paintings in the past few weeks and it’s beginning to feel like it’s becoming a part of me as an artist. I carve into the paintings & do a lot of rubbing of oil paint into the work which feels similar to how it felt when I was 3 years old connecting my art through the paint with my hands. Painting with encaustic feels like coming home; now all I need is an old shirt of my Father’s, some Old Spice and I will be 3 years old again.