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Learning to do a shellac burn: I’ve been doing some experiments this week figuring out how to do an encaustic shellac burn that gives me what some call a ‘lacey surface’ ala Alicia Tormey. There’s an old saying that you either have time or money but the big one in my book is opportunity! Even if I could find the time and money to travel somewhere that Alicia is giving a course, all of her classes for 2017 are full. Instead I’ve spent at least an hour every day looking at her body of work and watching the one ~3 minute video of her showing a little of her technique. Of course, I’ve done more than that.  I’ve been ‘researching’ other artists who do shellac burns and I have been methodically creating one piece every day; each one seems a little better, a little more controlled.

Happy accidents: This morning I planned to repeat a piece I did yesterday (see left panel below), except yesterday I used a ‘spattering’ of ink over areas I was interested in burning and today’s change was to ‘paint’ the entire area with ink (all ink in this article is specifically India Ink – I haven’t gotten good results with other varieties.) I was very excited to wake up early and by 8:30 I stood, blow torch in hand, over what would become the piece you see at the top of this article, “Out Of The Waves.” I guess I was too excited as I forget to apply shellac.  Wow! I got exactly the effect I was looking for, just by burning the ink (see center panel below).  Of course it wasn’t complete and I added more wax and more ink and this time I deliberately ignored the can of shellac. The right panel shows what the piece looked like prior to the last burn.  After the burn (and yes, I lost the lovely blue effect but I’m pretty sure I know how to recreate that and will do so tomorrow), I added in a little orange to work the eye around the piece and I think I’m done.

Where have I been? I know it’s been almost a month since my last blog.  I went to Arizona and saw the Miles Conrad Encaustic store; unfortunately he was out that day but I did get to see a little of his work in person.  I also saw the Conrad Wilde Gallery co-located with the store. Traveling north I went to Yellowstone National Park and photographed the paint pots to use for inspiration in my work. During these travels I got to spend time with family and friends and that was very special.