Merci Mère (Thanks Mother) is an original, encaustic mixed media painting. With aqua, gold and ivory paint and papers, as well as shellac burn technique, it includes these simple words from a French storybook dictionary.
Creating something new, without a specific outcome in mind, can be a wonderfully relaxing process. In this painting, I began by collecting and gathering the various elements: art papers in my favorite colors, with some incorporating leaves.
Next, I arranged and re-arranged these elements, until I found a design I found pleasing. Layering the papers added depth. Carved hexagon shapes, of various sizes, as well as a shellac burn and text, adds interest and intricacy. The finished artwork is 12 inches by 12 inches.
Sleep-time dreams have fascinated me since I was a child. Often, I wake up with an adventure of some kind to write down in my dream journal. But when I awoke on a late February morning, I had no memory of a dream. Instead, I learned that I had been talking in my sleep. Intrigued, I created Two Fish in the Pool. In my slumber, I had said these words: “I put two fish in the pool. In the POOL!”
Why two fish? What kind of pool? Why did I put them there? Did it remind me of anything or any place where I’ve been before?
I remembered a former home where we built a small fish pond with a waterfall in the back yard. We filled the little pond with a few beautiful koi and also some feeder goldfish rescued from the bait and tackle shop. It was very relaxing to sit by the pond, watching the fish swim around and come to the surface when we dropped food pellets into the water and sometimes chase each other. It was also a fantastic “in the moment” meditation spot: listening to the sounds of the water, the birds chirping, and the road in the distance. Combined with sweet aromas of water lilies and other garden plant, I would sometimes gently tap on my drum. If conditions were right, at a certain point it all melded together, like being in a symphony with the surroundings. It was such a refreshing experience and warm memory.
I also went googling to see what text, images, or ideas would strike my fancy. Searching for “two fish” led to me Pisces, the zodiac sign for people born between February 18th – March 20th. Since this experience occurred during this period, I decided to continue exploring this idea in my art studio:
The images of Pisces showed two fish swimming in opposite directions. But as I created some mock-up pieces, what I painted was less direction-ally defined. For although the two fish are going in opposite directions, they could just as easily turn and chase each other in a playful or frantic circle.
I’ve often dreamt of water, either being close to the shore, walking in the waves, or completely submerged and in a different underwater realm. This painting focused on the narrow space, just below the surface of the crystal clear water.
I used my favorite turquoise and copper orange family of colors in this 12″ x 12″ encaustic painting on a cradled board. After carving the scales, fins, and other marks into the encaustic, I filled in with more color. The finishing touches were those sleep-spoken words and, for good measure, a Pisces symbol ♓.
⇒For information about viewing or purchasing this artwork, contact Janet Fox.
She Chi is an original, 7-panel, encaustic mixed media painting inspired by an amazing springtime dream that went something like this…
Once upon a dreamscape, a woman was spending a quiet spring evening in a peaceful secluded park at the edge of a forest. Positioned up a bit on a hillside, she sees train tracks over yonder with a very unusual train. The train’s cars were open face, with flat beds and many cozy spaces.
One of the cars, toward the back, is humming with a lot of motion. As she zooms her eyes and focuses in, she realizes the car is full of something living. It is full of all kinds of incredible talking ovaries!” They are fully alive and chattering amongst themselves, but only about what they know best…every and all kind of egg thing imaginable! Some were quiet and in serious conversations, while others were joking and laughing. This was a surprising and curious sight, indeed!
The next car toward the front on the train is similar, except it is full of stomachs! They were busy talking about what they know best… all kinds of stomach things! And so it went like that all the way up to the front of the train, to where the brains were driving the engine.
Now on the track in front of this women’s train, a big, dark and hollow train was barely moving, all tuckered out with only a tiny spark of energy.
About now, “HER” voice from another realm is heard all around, filling every sound space. “SHE” directs the women’s train to approach the hollow train and to “drive through” it to fill it out from within. Once inside, the women’s train engine carefully makes its way through to the hollow train’s engine space, where it begins to settle down and fill it out.
Finally, as this union is complete, “SHE” declares the plan a success!…
A dream calls out to be painted
This dreamscape absolutely caught my attention; I was especially intrigued by the talking ovaries. The feminine voices must be heard: they were animated, energized, and speaking their truth in so many ways. This vivid dream was bound to inspire a painting, plus some interesting conversations and insight, too.
While working on some initial ideas and sketches, I researched to learn more about this area of the female body:
“The Female Pelvis, Anatomy and Exercises,” by Blandine Calais-Germain, is filled with easy-to-understand text and illustrations showing the pelvic bones, how they are shaped, and how they move and work together. Separate chapters focus on the muscles, tendons, and organs. See how amazing this area is – able to dramatically expand and transform during pregnancy, childbirth, and then in later years. The book also shows targeted exercises to help keep this area healthy. While reading this book, I realized how much about this area I had not known before!
I emphasized the orange, second chakra area, with thin o-shaped coils of handwritten, egg and ovary-themed notepaper embedded in multiple layers of pigmented encaustic. A variety of round or egg-shaped beads fill many, but not all of the coils. Finally, the feminine charm in the painting’s center, perhaps symbolizing a sort of kundalini experience, provides the energy to push forth its truth.
⇒For information about viewing or purchasing this artwork, contact Janet Fox.
You’re invited to Janet Fox’s Featured Artist Reception in Gallery 209 on November 3rd; the show continues through November 28th. There’s more… on November 4th and 5th, come on by for the Open Studios Art Weekend, at Artists & Makers Studios 2 in Rockville.
December, 2017 Note – A bit THANKS to everyone who stopped by for my November show and allowed me to share my art and stories with you. I enjoyed hearing your stories, too! 🙂
My challenge was to create a 3-D encaustic fedora for “The Wearable Hat Show,” curated by DC art collector Steven Krensky and a mystery juror. The show offered artists in the metro DC area a unique opportunity to make a statement through the art of the hat.
Since encaustic medium works the best for me when on a solid base, I built a plaster cast from a fedora. After the plaster cast dried and cured, I primed it with encaustic gesso and again let it dry several days. Then I applied a base layer of clear encaustic medium, then added colorful papers, encaustic paint, oil paint stick, and finished it with a few “hatless” lines of text from a French dictionary. I found a piece of grandma’s antique lace that was just right for a brim wrap, added my signature and voila, the “Hatless Fedora” was finished.
“The Wearable Hat Show,” with 49 funky hats from regional artists, is on exhibit at the Artists & Makers Studios 1 and 2. My encaustic fedora is at A&M 2 location, at 12276 Wilkins Avenue, Rockville, MD. The show opened Friday, September 8th, and continues through Wednesday, September 27th, 2017. Viewing hours are 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Tuesday-Friday, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM Saturdays, and Sundays/Mondays by chance or appointment.
⇒For information about purchasing this or a similar artwork, contact Janet Fox.
I’m thrilled to join with local artist Cathy Hirsh, our co-op’s instigator. Our artists create contemporary art in acrylic, collage, encaustic, ink, mixed-media, oil, pencil, sculpture, and watercolor. The other member artists are:
Artists & Makers Studios 1 and 2 just celebrated its second anniversary and is part of Rockville’s emerging and vibrant art scene. Three re-purposed buildings include studio and gallery space for about 150 local artists; there’s even an art school and special events, too!
Gallery 209 is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 AM – 4PM. Our artists will greet and meet you in person from 6 – 9 PM the first Friday of each month as we launch a new exhibit; other A&M Studios 1 and 2 will also be open then and with a reception. Our artists will also be there in person every Saturday from noon – 4PM, for other Artists & Makers or Gallery 209 special events, and by appointment.
I recently took a trip to Brooklyn, New York, to relax, see some art, and enjoy the cityscape. While there, I visited the awesome artworks in the Brooklyn Museum. Here’s a bit of how my rejuvenating day went…
First of all, imagine having a yummy brekky and a spiced chai concoction in a gluten-free friendly cafe on a lazy, sunny Saturday morning. Next, we meander along the city sidewalks, gazing at this and that in an assortment of interesting stop windows. Along the way, we discover it’s also an open art studio weekend.
Walking half-way down the block, we see an open studio. So we climb the steps and enter artist Doug Beube‘s studio and gallery. We are absolutely WOWed by his beautiful bookwork, collage and mixed media art! After spending an hour exploring and enjoying his work and chatting, we decide to buy his book, Breaking the Codex. (Mr. Beube’s website has a fantastic variety of his art; I think you’ll be amazed, too!)
As a result of our visit, we have a renewed sense of creative energy and continue our journey to the museum.
Almost to the Museum now, we see lots of people in motion, moving this way and that. Some are sitting, soaking up the sunshine. As we sit for a bit at the Museum front plaza, imagine looking down from the sky and seeing all the others arriving from different directions.
Discovering ancient encaustic paintings
Imagine now, entering the Museum and roaming lazily through the exhibits. Suddenly to my surprise and delight, I discover the famous ancient Fayum Mummy portraits on display on a wall across the room! I recognized them immediately but didn’t realize they were in the Museum. These paintings are some of the earliest known pieces using encaustic paint, which has become my favorite medium. As a result, photos of them are in many books about encaustic painting.
My favorites include Noblewoman and Mummy Portrait of a Man. I stand mesmerized and study them for what felt like a very long time. So many questions swirl in my head. Who, specifically, painted them? What techniques did she or he use? Finally, did the painters back then have any inkling that many, many generations later, half-way around the world, people in Brooklyn would be viewing and appreciating their art with awe?
I set out creating Cityscape by starting with one of my earlier paintings, Unwinding. After heating and scraping away the paint, I added new layers of paper shapes and encaustic paint and medium. The rainbow of colors and shapes the diversity of people, structures, green spaces and energy. Going to the city to unwind and discover somethings old and new can be quite rejuvenating!
How do you unwind in the city?
⇒For information about purchasing a similar artwork, contact Janet Fox.