My Process

I started working with encaustic as a solution for my tendencies to overwork my paintings, particularly in acrylic and oil. All too often, I reach a point of beauty and grace in a painting, and then overwork and destroy the freshness of whatever was working in an effort to make it better. This doesn't happen in every painting, but it's extra heartbreaking when I overwork a painting to the point of no return, on a piece that I will end up havingonly an iPhone photo (or only a distant memory) of its MOMENT in which to remember it.  So I decided to try a process that forces me to really look at my work and absorb the decisions I'm making as the air changes the texture and position of the paint. Encaustic changes unpredictably with changing temperature and turbulent air, so I am forced to engage moment to moment in the bigger picture, if you will. In this process, I have to evaluate whats happening in the small area that is being manipulated by the heat, then work with the result when it shrinks back as it cools, and how that movement works into the overall piece of artwork. It either works or it doesn't. I'm constantly reevaluating my direction and shifting my expectations based on the movement and reaction of the encaustic. Its quite exhilarating! Some technical info: I'm using approximately 5 parts encaustic medium to 1 part damar resin. It's important not to allow your hot plate temp to get over 180 degrees, 220 is the danger zone. You should also have excellent ventilation and try not to work with wet oil paint, although oils and encaustic are friends. Acrylic is not a friend of encaustics, it is too slick and plastic there is no tooth on the surface onto which the encaustic can bind. Here is a video of what my heat process looks like up close...

Little Flecks of Mica

Nuggets of Inspiration

Only a month late...my first blog post. I'm a bit of a procrastinator, so 4 weeks late isn't so bad for me. My goal for this blog is to share my work process, glimpses of studio life, and the little nuggets of inspiration that are revealed to me in everyday life on my path as an artist. I'm learning day by day to appreciate each moment and to embrace what magic lies in the present. So often we are so busy checking items off our lists of "things to do" that we forget to live. I'm trying to understand and enjoy each breathe for the gift that it is. This is a fairly recent development for me, and so I have decided to document it. This is my journal of life, and 'little flecks of mica', are the little moments of beauty in life that bring us back to the present. If we are really there in that moment, when beauty reveals itself to us, we feel connected to the world around us and grateful for it.

Lately, I find a lot of inspiration at the beach. I was taking a walk in La Jolla recently with my daughters, enjoying the sound of the waves crashing on the shoreline, the feel of the sand between my toes, and the shouts and gleeful screams of small children playing in the waves. I brought my camera along to capture any moments I thought might be magical, and noticed glints of mica in the sand. I asked my daughter, "Where do you think these golden flecks in the sand come from?" She said there were underwater caves of gold, the flecks of gold are results of erosion from the caves, and wash up on the shore. I have no interest in whether or not this is true...I love her answer. I love the idea of underwater caves of gold. I imagine there are mermaids dwelling there and hordes of undiscovered sea creatures, much like an enchanted forest of the sea. So many possibilities.

So Many Possiblilities

I have decided to incorporate flecks of mica into my artwork. Organic materials embedded in rich colors and texture are the visions that have been coming to me recently. I have just started working with encaustic and am excited about the subtle color glows and beautiful textures that can be achieved with this medium. Glowing light on the ocean's horizon at sunset, or a glimpse of the sun's warmth thru the dark clouds of a storm symbolize hope. The ever changing beauty and fury of the sea provide contrast. It's a start...

There is more to come...

Karen Haub Fine Art | karenahaub@gmail.com | 12285 World Trade Dr. #H, San Diego, CA 92128