Thursday, April 28, 2016

And We're Puttin It On Wax

I'll just drop these off at the top to get them out of the way:

Legit Hotel Bathroom Art #1:

This is what I figure a quality establishment would have in the washroom. Not that I would know.

True Love:

Fairly substantial piece of my little Bubble's shed skin in the center of this one, DAWWWWWW!!

I Used To:

Sometimes a pretentious title is just the way to go.

Now that that's out of the way, I wanted to share photos of my setup for encaustics. We'll start with the griddle.

I got this one at walmarks for like $17 or something, so cheap that I literally spent five minutes standing in the aisle just trying to decide if I should go ahead and get two of them. Sitting on top of it is a grill surface thermometer which I don't really pay attention to because I have my Super Awesome Ryobi Infrared one. The metal trays I got at goodwill. The one sitting on the griddle has plain R&F medium, the two on the table hold white and black wax. (Incidentally, behind the griddle on the shelf are my 800-year-old Airwalks that are now my "outside only" shoes. They still have stage blood on them from the first GWAR show I ever saw in the early 90s. Those shoes have seen some things, y'all.) Please note that I covered the tops of the worktable in my garage with sheets of cardboard that I stuck down with thumbtacks, because this is super messy work. Especially if I'm doing it.

The muffin tin I got at goodwill, and I used it to mix up small batches of the colored wax discs in the blue container. You take your R&F medium, mix in some pigment stick, then let it cool and pop it out of the tin. (Yeah, pop sounds real easy...actually you have to stick the tin on the griddle for a mo and then pop them out. And at least one has to be pried out because it is afraid to leave the nest.) Then when you want to use the dark red, you just take the red disc and rub it on the griddle to melt some off, and use a brush to paint the color where you want it.

The box in the front right is my pile of expensive pigment sticks. Just suck it up and get the R&F, don't waste your time with the inferior stuff. And the bright green thing at the top is my Super Awesome Ryobi Infrared Laser Thermometer, also expensive, but totally rad.

Here we have an empty bag of R&F wax pellets, heat gun, and a Bernzomatic propane torch which you can just straight up walk into a walmarks and purchase and they will just sell it to you with no question, god bless America. Your only challenge is to fend your way deep into the bowels of the walmarks and somehow find the plumbing section. Pack a lunch and say goodbye to your family.

At the back center of the table stands a brand new 2lb bag of R&F wax pellets, and a whole pile of pigment powders. I cannot remember who makes them so I'll report back later. On the right is a plastic bin with all sorts of natural bristle brushes, clay carving tools, various types of metal leaf, popsicle sticks, scrapers, a spoon, anything else I seem to need. Except booze, that's usually found on the left side near the griddle.

Hey, here's a fun tip: See the blue light coming in at the top of the photo, above the new bag of pellets? That's my garage door, which is open a couple of feet for ventilation purposes. The day I forgot to do that? I was nauseated for hours. HOURS. I probahbly hav brane damage.

So that's where I'm slinging wax. The encaustic products are not cheap, but pretty much everything else is. AND YOU GET TO USE A TORCH. AND A LASER. So I'm having a blast.

FYI, no one is paying me to shill this stuff, this is just what I use. And while you're piling tools and wax in your Amazon cart, go ahead and get this great book. I've got mine marked up with all sorts of post-its and flags because I plan to try every single technique.

Is this post long enough? I think I'm done for now.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Gift Update

You know how I like to make stuff, wrap it up, then wait years to deliver it? Here are a few things I just managed to unload.

These were my very first two encaustics that I made at the awesome workshop in Santa Fe last year. They were supposed to be the BFF's Xmas present...until I found out the wax was technically supposed to cure for six months. So they were rescheduled as a birthday present! And you know how 90% of my friends have birthdays in March & April? I literally have five birthdays within 17 days. I need new friends.

Anyway, these are a tribute to what makes America great!

1. The American flag

2. My BFF

And 3. The Hulk drinking a grape soda.

No argument, right? That was the episode where Ricky taught the Hulk how to use a soda machine. I still can't stop crying.

Incidentally, the American flag that I used as a background was made out of super cheap polyester that lit up like a candle when I waved the propane torch near it. If you don't want folks setting fire to the flag, maybe make it out of something less flammable? Just a thought.

Up next: Beccula bought a new house, Hooray!! I made her this cross stitch as a housewarming gift, but I'm a shitty friend so I didn't see her new house for several months despite the fact that she lives like three miles from me.

Credit to the Trailer Park Boys, and special thanks to the innerwebs for the ease in which this pattern came together.

And finally: Need more proof that I'm a shitty friend? PattiDee sent me this gorgeous box AGES ago. I took photos immediately and then put the box on my mantle, absolutely intending to thank her publicly as soon as possible. And now a third of 2016 is in the rear view mirror. Sigh.

Side, top and bottom:

And the inside. Drumroll please....

HOW I WISH I HAD THAT POWER. #lifegoals Thank you, PattiDee for this gorgeous box!!

In closing, and I know this will be an enormous shock: I still have two Xmas presents to hand out. I KNOW SO SHOCKING. So I can't expunge that pile yet. In the meantime, I'll be in the garage lighting flags on fire. Peace out.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Whittlin' Update

As much as I love my Opinel, the Old Timer and the Uncle Henry have become my regulars, after I sharpened Uncle Henry properly.

These projects:

are pictured on the cover of this book:

"A weekend" they claim! These folks clearly do not have as much laundry or as spoiled, demanding lizards as I do. It took me about 30 years. But I have video proof that they move about freely!

That open spot in one of the links is where some wood broke off. I use that hole to hook the chain onto something and then spin the links so you have no idea how it was done. I AM THE GREATEST WHITTLER THAT EVER LIVED. As proof, here is the demon I made for a friend's birthday:

I know that may seem to be fancy expensive redwood, but it's basswood that I painted black and then dry brushed with red. And I glued beads in for eyes. My friend said "oh great, now I'm cursed." She gets it.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Waxin' and Milkin'

Boy I sure like encaustics. Since we're actually having like a real Spring this year, it's now warm enough that I can work in my garage without freezing to death! Which will very soon become sweltering heat, and at that point I will probably have to work naked. Sorry in advance, neighbors.

Here's what I finished up last weekend. I call this one Flies 1:

I have no idea how to photograph these. There's a depth with encaustic wax that does not translate in photos. I can honestly say that these look so much better in real life. You know the stupid shit I slap together, and half the time not having to see it in person is a blessing. So I hope you can believe me when I say these do not render well in two dimensions. PLUS this one has gold leaf pressed into the wax, which absolutely never photographs well. (You can tell it's gold leaf because my pink blazer is reflecting on the left. Otherwise? Looks like mud.) So this piece is SOL as far as being any kind of convincing argument. In the future, I aim to figure out how to do better for these. But for now this is all I got.

Keeping in mind the previous caveat, have a gander at Flies 2:

I embedded Alpaca yarn in this one and went in a darker direction with the paint, which doesn't help the photo. Also I feel I should mention that while it may look like I live in a tropical paradise such as Bali or Brazil, the wet jungle where I reside is called "Georgia." The Japanese ferns look amazing, the Flies look like mud puddles. Today I am sad.

And this last piece I cranked out for some friends that I will be visiting tomorrow. Gonna go ahead and post it now, despite the very real risk that my Enormous Internet Fame might blow the surprise:

I take no slack cuz I got the knack, and I'm never dustin out cuz I torch that crack. Somehow I have depleted all of the letters H and T, so I had to fill in the gaps: I punched holes out of black card stock, then wrote on the punched out holes with the amazing white Sakura Gelly Roll pen, you have no idea how much you need this pen, stick it in your Amazon wish list and save it for later because it's an add-on item, or try to brave the wilds at Michael's if you are stout of heart. (If you battle your way to the back wall where they have those bins of tragic markdowns, that's where I found the cherub.) Then I just mashed the paper letters into the final fusing of the wax. I hope my friends will hang it in their kitchen because that's where Chef Boyardee lives.

I have another board prepped and ready for this weekend and basically everything between me and the wax is a COMPLETE WASTE OF MY TIME. Hold it now. Hold it now. HIT IT.