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It’s been a year and 90 posts since I started blogging as an outlet for sharing, communicating, organizing my thoughts, expanding my horizons and connecting with interesting people. Today I refreshed the look and feel of the blog…very subtle, I know. I’ll change the header picture eventually, but on this cold, gray day I like the happy colors in the current one.

A little dis a little dat—that’s what I talk about in this blog and my “Blogs That I Visit” list is eclectic too: art, interior design, fashion and more.  I’ve updated the list, so you may want to peruse it again and visit some of the links.

Today is my Dad’s birthday. HAPPY 84 DAD!!! Still as handsome as ever. When I was young, all my girlfriends commented on this. I think his curiosity and creativity (he’s a woodworker, carver) keep him young.

Dad, Grandma, et moi:

And in case you were wondering, I did keep my promise to enter the Encaustic Art Challenge on Facebook (you can read my previous post about it here) even though my I made it just under the wire. In fact it’s the first one you’ll see when you click here to view all of the entries. That’s because it was the very LAST entry. Since I was strapped for time, I spent only a few hours in the studio working on the two panels (though I entered only one of them), took a photo and uploaded it to Facebook. It was fun because it was quick and I didn’t labor over it.

Here is the inspiration photo of the earth from space that I chose as a point of reference. The electric colors caught my attention.

And here is my encaustic painting (2 panels):

And a close up of the right-hand panel:

I hope you find something to celebrate today too!

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The Facebook Group, Encaustic Art, has issued a new challenge to create an encaustic painting (or two)  based on “The Earth as We’ve Never Seen It,” recently featured in the New Daily News. These incredible photos from USGS National Center for EROS represent various combinations of satellite images from Landsat 7 and Terra Satellites to create the vivid RGB composites seen here. The satellites acquired the images in black and white, and then assigned a different ‘false color’ to each radiation wavelength, or spectral bands, most of which are invisible to the naked eye. You can find out more about these images here.

It sounds like an interesting challenge for the new year. Below are the stunning images that interest me from the 25 total images featured in the article. It will likely depend on my mood the day I start the painting as to which one I use as a jumping off point and how I interpret it. The colors are scrumptious. I’ll share my final painting later this month and link you to the other works entered into the challenge.  Any favorite?

Encaustic Painting, 24"x24"

Encaustic Painting, 24"x24"

Whan the sunne shynth make hey.
[1546 J. Heywood Dialogue of Proverbs i. iii. A4]

I’m in full commiseration mode with farmers who prefer to go swimming, write a story or finish a woodworking project in the barn instead of heading out to the pasture to make hay on a sunny day.

My consulting gig ended last Friday and though we can use the income, I was craving the time back in my studio. Not to be. They have another job they want me for that will last through the end of September. I smiled and said, “certainly,” but inside I was deeply despondent. It’s a fast-paced agency environment, and longish days that tend to sap me of energy. It’s difficult to then come home and spend time in the studio painting. My morning boot camp that gets my blood flowing three times a week will probably have to fall by the wayside too. If possible, I am going to try carve out time here and there if the project allows and not work full days.

Sunday started off with gnashing of teeth. Trust me, no one can be pissier during a computer problem than me. It took almost two hours to fix it, including an online chat with tech support. Enter handsome hunk. To dispel the bad energy that had descended on our abode, he dragged me out of the condo to see the Human Rhythm Project at Millennium Park. I’ve always wanted to be a dancer. On the way we couldn’t resist the fun of shadow-voguing.

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I mentioned in an earlier post that I belong to the Encaustic Art group on Facebook and they are having a “Summer Art Challenge.” I entered three of my pieces. I think they have about 233 pieces posted now and the people in the group are voting. Each of my pieces has received votes: this is a real mental boost and makes me feel happy that other artists see value in my work. I just finished up another two encaustics. The one at the top of the post is one you haven’t seen yet.

Now, it’s Monday. The sun is shining. Time to make hay.

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Above: Encaustic Painting, 12″x 36″ Triptych

Just yesterday, I was thinking that I was feeling a little rusty in the left side of my brain and today, as if foreshadowed by that fleeting thought, a firm I’ve previously worked with called me to assist them with research and strategic planning for a new business pitch.

When the firm’s contact asked me what I had been up to lately, I noted that I was busy working on a series of paintings for a show later this year. “You’re the only person I know who uses both sides of their brain,” she commented. I replied that I had always felt equally comfortable straddling the left and right sides of my brain. Like the ability to multi-task, it’s sometimes works for me and sometimes drives me crazy.

Really, it’s a simplification to say that “left brain” people are analytical and orderly, and “right brain” people are artistic, unpredictable and creative since we all draw upon specific sides of our brain for different daily functions. But the choice of which side of the brain is in control of which situations is what shapes our personalities and determines our character. Maybe that’s why I feel so conflicted sometimes!

Fortunately I’m about done (except for some pondering and fine tuning) with two of the three encaustic paintings I have underway, so it’s a good time to take a little break from spending most of my time in the studio. I also would like to start some oil paintings, but lately I’m drawn to the immediacy of working in wax. Encaustic painting involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. Metal tools and brushes can be used to shape the paint before it cools, and other tools can be used to manipulate the wax once it has cooled onto the surface (virtually anything that is porous). Other materials can be collaged or layered in to the wax. It’s an ancient technique that was used in Egypt way back in 100-300 AD for mummy portraits.

Like all other art media, everyone develops a personal style. I’m still experimenting. I joined an Encaustic Group on Facebook that is having an Encaustic Summer Art Challenge. I’ve added three of my recent paintings to the 100 or more currently added to this online gallery. If you’re registered on Facebook, I invite you to click through the photos on Facebook to see what people are doing with this interesting medium.

Below: Another recently completed (almost) encaustic painting, 20″x24″

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