It was a family affair Saturday as I kicked off another weekend of teaching my Intro to Encaustic class to a returning father/daughter duo,  a mother/daughter team and to a mother of a son I know.  How cool is that!

I am a complete beginner.  Will I be okay?

I’ve never taken an art course.  Will I be in over my head?

I get these questions often and ask them myself whenever I am in a situation of vulnerability.  We’re afraid of being lesser than, not good enough […]. fill in the blank.

And this is where the magic of encaustic enters; it levels the playing field.  Encaustic does not play by the usual rules.  You think you have control over the medium until it is time to torch; an art form in itself.  Now you have to juggle the elements of heat, distance, speed and direction.

This is the moment when the control freaks freak out.  Their beautifully drawn and constructed compositions start to lose shape, puddle and break free of the lines.  I watch the faces to see how they’re responding to this loss of control.

I’m relieved there is family at their side, on their side.

I offer strategies, tips and condolences.

It happens to me too.

I consider the first painting to be the ice breaker.  It’s the wine at the party, the stretches before you run, the trailer before the movie.

Encaustic demands that you loosen up.  Let go.  Try something new.  Trust your gut.

Everyone approached their second painting differently.  They loaded more paint onto their brushes and were carefree in their stokes.  The marks on the panel informed their next move rather than sticking to an idea in their head.  The conversation between the seeing and the doing was occurring in their gut.  Smiles returned and conversation picked up.

We ended the afternoon with each artist sharing his or her work.  It’s the art critique with the artist leading the talk.

I believe we benefit when we’re given opportunities to speak about our work and stand by it.  When we verbalize our lessons, AHA’s and surprises they take root and offer us pathways to rise above our need to control all areas of our lives.

A reminder to let the wax flow.




To see the final paintings, click on the orange title!