The summer has been fabulously busy here at the Wild Fire & wax studio and I cannot believe that September is already looming with its explosion of golden hues. I just cannot wait roaming the woods with my dogs and taking all those golden reds and oranges back with me in the studio! BUT, it is not only going to be fun and games as I have so many projects already shaping up for 2019 and some of them even taking place in Europe and overseas…But more about this another time my impatient firebirds!
A little story
My summer encaustic schedule has been a big success and was booked out pretty rapidly this year! The demand for the Dublin workshops has been extraordinary; I can see that there are many of you down the East coast who love playing with fire!
I would like to thank each and every participant who has shared with me their experience and their stories. So many talented people out there, too many to mention and I feel blessed to have shared with you what fire me up along the way.
I personally think that one of my most favorite experience came from Mary (I changed her name for privacy; however, I am sure you will recognise a bit of yourself in this).
Let me tell you her story.
Mary impulsively booked for one of my workshop taking place the following day in my studio in East Clare. She would not usually be the impulsive type, as she told me after, yet she felt compelled to cross the country to spend two days in East Clare learning a medium she knew nothing about. In her initial email, She mentioned having neglected her creative side for a very long time, not ‘being an artist’ and was rather downbeat in the choice of words she used to describe herself. I get that completely, life, work; children do keep us busy and very often the first thing that does go is looking after ourselves. She arrived early for the workshop and after I gave a short introduction about encaustic painting and demonstrated the techniques involved in the process, she was on her way.
A burst of life
I witnessed a woman becoming alive, discovering parts of herself she had kept so hidden, her new found creativity springing forth like a freshly discovered spring water well . There was no stopping her and I watched in awe what she created from a careful distance, still letting her know that I was available in the case she may need me. Her face, posture, everything about her changed in a matter of hours.
She came back home with ten artworks she was proud of and a beautiful glow on her face.
The following day , she did send me an long email letting me know that when she came home and showed her new works to her family, they encouraged her wholeheartedly to make time and space at home for this newly found passion, not only for a new medium but , and more importantly… For herself!
Mary’s story is not an isolated event and is something I encounter all the time during my workshops. It is a the type of recurring stories that keep me doing what I do, being purely a facilitator for my clients to find the time and space for finding themselves via a beautiful creative medium which allows them to ‘go with the flow’ .
I read somewhere that there is no such thing as a ‘creative’ and a ‘non creative’ person, but instead, there are people who use their creativity and those who don’t. In other words, everyone has the ability to tap into a huge creative potential, but because of repressive aspects of the way we experienced life, most t of us don’t have the skills or confidence we need to express our creativity. It is just a matter of allowing ourselves the time and the space to be in contact with ourselves that the magic does happen. I call it carving time. There will always be something else which will distract us from what really matters; it is just a matter of allowing ourselves the time to play. And Mary did demonstrate to me once more that it is possible for each and every one of us.
Here are some of the works produced by people who never did encaustic before and excelled in the medium.
And now…A little secret!
Today I am going to tell you a secret …as you may already know, the date of the online launch of my autumn schedule of encaustic workshops is closing in, and I have a little surprise for my waiting list and subscribers…
You will have the opportunity to be the first to peruse the dates via email and have a sneaky peak before everybody else, with of course the opportunity to avail of an early bird offer !
This means that you will have the leisure to pick your workshops before the official launch!
Considering the high demand for my workshops this year, it is lovely to know you do not have to rush! Now that’s lovely news don’t you think! So keep an eye on your mailbox next week for this little gift from me to you.
Have a wondrous and creative week !
Don’t forget to share the encaustic love to anyone you would think may be interested into trying their hands at this amazing process and do not hesitate to drop me a line if you wish to know more!
Thank you all for your wonderful support and looking forward sharing this amazing process with you in the near future!
PS: I post regularly my artist process, free encaustic demonstrations and what fires me up along the way on my blog. If you wish to be notified by email, please subscribe to my mailing list, thank you!
Well I can safely say right now that am on a roll with social media and I am super excited to introduce this new venture of mine, exploring the wonderful world of videos. I have discovered FB Live, and what a fab tool, which allows me to talk to you about what is going on and for you to see me in action doing what I do best, play with blowtorches, molten beeswax and pigments!
I will be holding a free encaustic demonstration at 7.30pm
on Friday 26th January at the Birr Theatre and art centre for the openingof my solo show ‘Land Sea and sky’.
During this demonstration, which will last about 40 minutes, I will introduce those present to the amazing process that is encaustic painting!
You will be able to know everything you need to know about this ancient art, which involves molten pigmented beeswax; plus you will be able to watch me play with my blowtorch, such fun!
I will show you basics techniques of encaustic painting, sharing its spontaneous virtues of working with textures and colours and its versatility with building up layers.
AND I will also be able to answer all your questions!
Now, I do not expect all of you to be present physically at the opening, so as a present to all my customers and those who support my work, I will have a free FB live session on my artist page: Wild fire and wax.
Here are the few directions in order to view and not miss the FB live session of the encaustic demonstration which will take place, simultaneously next Friday, 26th April (or watch the replay):
- Like my page: Wild Fire and wax
- Go to the live video where I explain what will happen on the night. Watch replay here.
- In the right hand corner of the post click on the three little dots
- Click on Turn on Live notifications
Open the Wild fire and wax page, click under following and click all on (notifications, videos…)
It is that easy!
Hopefully I will catch you all next Friday at 7.30 PM there or online!
Wild Fire & Wax studio
Christmas is looming and plenty has been going on in the
Wild Fire& wax encaustic studio.
This week, I have been thrilled to collect and reconnect with the encaustic paintings from the exhibition ‘Land, Sea and Sky’ which have been exhibited for the last month at the Solas art gallery in County Leitrim. I had not seen them for awhile, having travelled to different galleries across Ireland over the last few months for others to see and hopefully enjoyed.
As I unwrapped each fragrant work from their protective wrapping the imagery took me daydreaming to their place of conception…the Great Sea, my most favourite subject matter which has been flowing through my work for the last few decades.
The sea calls me on a regular basis, and I tend to heed her call whenever I can escape from my daily life. I can also safely say that she definitely kept me sane over the summer when my whole world collapse on a personal level.
At time, a distant wisp of salty air carried across the land is brought to this part of Ireland, where I have been living for the last 4 months, sheltered between the mountains, the forest and the lake. This very brief wisp of salty air tends to take me by surprise as it slowly unfolds in his lingering waves memories of time past.
Having been born and raised by the sea, I have constantly hungered to see, feel, touch, smell and taste her deep waters. My purest bliss would be to swim, bathe, play and love in her velvety waves. The terrible mother tried to claim me once as a child, only to be rescued by my loving father, jumping in to prevent her waters swallowing me in the darkening abyss, claiming me.
Her salty gems have glistened on my skin and shone in my soul, I have heard her call so many times, and the rage of her waters has soothed my pains and stilled my mind in the shadiest of times.
When she calls, I pick up my camera and jump in the car. She knows the way, I can only trust. And the Burren, county Clare, is the place I always end up. Every time. The stark landscape, uncompromising, where the light pays games with the clouds, revealing world in the smallest recesses of the coves or in the depths of the ancient woods.
I have climbed the hills countless times and stood in the heights listening to the whispers of the winds and felt cleansed by the cold blustery rain.
It was only natural for me to dedicate a full series of artworks on the theme of Land, Sea and sky. In this body of work, I have been compelled to explore the primal theme of light embedded in my connection to the ever changing landscape of the Burren. Each work acts as a reflective rendition of the remarkable light value of this incredibly beautiful place, composed entirely of the environment’s three most prominent physical characteristics, the Land, the Sea and the sky. As the light shift slowly through the environment, the boundaries between each becomes increasingly blurry, each merging into the other, all becoming Light and reflections.
I strive to conjure up a sense of liminality in my paintings, where there is no separation between Land, Sea and sky, in order to ignite the imagination of the viewer while I reflect on the aesthetic power of light enhanced through layers of molten pigmented wax.
There is so much beauty in working with encaustics. The translucent layers, the smell of honey that radiates from each piece, the organic textures, and the glorious shine of each piece, I am forever in love with it.
And now here comes the good news for you my faithful subscribers. As seasonal treat, there is 15% off all week long on all the mini framed encaustic seascape which are part of the Land Sea and sky series starting immediately!
So why not treat yourself or a loved one if you are the sharing kind with a special gift made with Passion, Fire and Wax.
Use SEA2017 at checkout for 15% off your order!
Offer Valid until Sunday 3rd December 2017. Order early to ensure holiday delivery!
Thank you for your custom,
I have been very busy in the studio the last few months and I count my blessings to be working in a place I can call mine. I cannot believe that a year ago, I finally realized my dream: build my own encaustic she-shed, away from the house, surrounded by the beautiful garden and close to the lake shores.
A perfect spot
We are very lucky to live in the wilderness, with the lake in our ‘garden’. We have access to a rowing boat, and many Sunday afternoons are spent swaying gently on the lake waters, taking pictures of the reflections on the surface of the water and the life and aquatic plants which hide below. We also have access to our own private woods, where I can go and hide at times when the business of life takes over. I have lived in the countryside for years now, I will never consider going back to the craziness and distractions of cities and towns. The wilderness feeds my soul and inspires me. The way the light moves on the lake, the sound of the trees or the wide array of colors in the garden feed my creativity no end. I have created this little sanctuary for me and my family, a place to love and create. Some call this a life of hiding; I prefer calling it a life well lived, giving space and time for inspiration and creativity . A place and time to breathe.
The design of the encaustic she-shed
Before I owned my own studio, I used to work in my house. I loved this space; however, there was always something else to do, cleaning, washing, procrastinating, instead of working in the studio. I needed to get out. I researched a fair bit the various options available. Yet the idea of owning my own woman shed was really ticking all the boxes.I was ready to join the she-shed movement which was sweeping the world, where women everywhere created their own space, their own cave, spaces to create and relax…why should it only be a man thing? It had to look unique, bohemian and most importantly mine. Here is the link to my research on Pinterest. It had to be custom-made for the encaustic process and most importantly be safe and healthy to work in. I contacted a company based in Ireland and we discussed together with the design of the studio. I gave them the size and shape I needed. It had to have 5 floor-to-ceiling large windows, facing South, the garden and lake shores, a never ending source of inspiration in my work. The wait was excruciating, however, 3 weeks later it arrived. I could not contain my excitement. The men quickly put up the flat pack walls and roof in less than two hours and left. We were then left with an empty shell. However, I had a clear idea what was necessary to have basic set up for an encaustic studio.
We started to work on it straight away.
Here are the various basic set up steps we took in order to have a fully functioning encaustic studio:
Getting started with a Basic Set-up
One of the most important set up in your studio is a proper ventilation system and a source of fresh air. Wax fumes can be toxic and should be treated with care. When we built the studio, we bought one good quality silent extractor fan, which removes fumes by evacuation of the air and filtration. In sunny days and during the summer, I also do tend to leave the window or door open so a good draft goes through the studio and leaves the air fresh. Plus, it is so beautiful to listen to the wind, rain or birds while working. For more detailed information, R&F Paints have a very helpful article on the subject posted here
A good size worktable is also necessary in order to keep your hotplate, a tool necessary to melt your encaustic medium, blowtorch, and other materials. A wooden table is a great alternative and make sure you do not have a plastic covering. It would melt under the intense heat from the heat gun or blowtorch. I ended up building three very large and long worktables. This allows me to have enough workstations for my encaustic workshops participants.
You also need to consider your electricity source, keeping in mind that a couple of hot plates and heat guns require a proper electrical setup; you do not want to blow the fuse box on a daily basis.
For safety and insurance reasons, it is also recommended to have a fire blanket and fire extinguisher at reach at all times. I also have a first aid kit for burn or other ailments. Do you know that Aloe Vera, one of the most common household plant does miracles on burns? Follow this link to find out more about the wondrous benefits of this miraculous plant. My aloe Vera for burns has set a permanent position in the studio.
Next blog post I am planning to go into details about the materials and tools.
Do not hesitate to contact me if you need clarifications on the basic set up, and remember the most important thing when you set up your studio is safety, from fire and fumes.
To view my summer schedule of encaustic workshop, please visit this link
My next introduction to encaustic painting is taking place on the 1rst July, for more information or booking, please follow this link
Never in a million years I would have thought I would have been able to do something like this, however, if I have the choice between standing around at my own opening explaining my painting process and getting busy doing an encaustic demonstration, ie doing what I do love best in front of an audience…Well…no real choice there.
Live demonstration it was and I went for it. The whole thing required a lot of organization, constant advertising and reminders about the time and place to watch the Facebook live stream, and all of this was way before I stood in front of the camera and…Well, hopefully not freeze or become a blabbering mess. Those who came to my workshops do know that I am a chatter box; I do love talking, especially when it is about encaustic techniques or art, my favorite subjects. But doing it in front of the camera was a different kettle of fish.
Anyhow, it all happened way too quickly, so quickly I did not get the chance to panic or retract. The hotplates, blowtorches and other tools were just finished being set up at the Signal art centre in Bray that the public started to float the gallery and there I was talking in front of the audience and people who were watching online. I actually forgot that the camera was there and utterly enjoyed the process. It happened that the video was watched by 800 people (so far), which is incredible! I am shuffled really for all your support and curiosity for this amazing medium.
So as a gift to all my subscribers, and all those who would like to know what the hell encaustic means, this little video is for you: the encaustic demonstration, signal art centre, on Friday 28 April. You can also view this video via my Facebook page, Wild Fire & Wax.
I would also like to remind you that I am having an early bird offer, 20% off all my summer workshops until Friday 5th May, yes tomorrow! Use the coupon SUMMER2017 at the checkout . So don’t miss this amazing offer on alternative week ends or art retreat ! For more information and booking please visit this page
Well I can safely say right now that am on a roll with social media. I have discovered FB Live, and what a fab tool, which allows me to talk to you about what is going on and for you to see me in action doing what I do best, set my paintings on fire !
As you may know, I am holding a free encaustic demonstration at 6.30pm on Friday 28th April at the Signal art Centre in Bray. During this demonstration, I will introduce the participants to the basics techniques of encaustic painting, sharing its spontaneous virtues of working with textures and colors and its versatility with building up layers. Now, I do not expect all of you to be present physically at the opening, so as a present to all my customers and those who support my work, I will have a free FB live session on my artist page: Wild fire and wax.
Here are the few directions in order to view and not miss the FB live session of the encaustic demonstration which will take place this Friday, 28th April (or watch the replay):
1)Like my page: Wild Fire and wax
2)Go to the live video where I explain what will happen on the night.
3) In the right hand corner of the post click on the downward arrow
5) Click on See more options
6) Click on Turn on Live notifications,
It is that easy!
Hopefully I will catch you all this Friday at 6.30 PM there or online,
I like setting paintings on fire.
And I do it all the time.
But first, allow me to introduce myself.
My name is Isabelle and I am an encaustic artist…an encaustiwhat?
Sorry I should have clarified this part first.
In my studio located on the scenic shores of Lough Derg, a forgotten jewel in the wild west of Ireland, I have rekindled the ancient painting process of Encaustics, an immediate and tactile painting method using molten pigmented beeswax. The layering and transparency qualities of this medium allows me to capture the ethereal beauty of the Irish landscape, taking the viewer to dream-like sceneries, e
ach piece acting as a doorway to a world both sensual and contemplative.
When I am not in my woman shed playing with my blowtorch, you will find me roaming the beautiful land around me, by day and night…the lake-shores, the depths of the woods, the seashores and the windswept hills…forever seeking that ray of light which enflame the top of the rushes or the deep rich colors and textures of the dark woods. I take way too many images and I bring them back to my studio to infuse my work with their essence.
Among my many other obsessions, I am drawn to objects that have a past, a story to tell and sprinkle a dash of alchemy to create the pieces I will show you along the journey.
This is my very first blog entry.
And if you would like to experience the process of art making through my eyes and words, get a glimpse of my world, within and without, glance at what make me stop in my tracks in the craziness called life, then you are very welcome to join me along the way with this work in process which is the life of an artist.