Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Heart Lab: Beth Billups

I've noticed that ever since Marija taught us the basics of encaustic painting - I've been taking more and more notice of this technique. I stumbled upon Beth Billup's Etsy shop Tangled Sky Studio and was blown away by her work, especially by Treading Under the Moon. Love her stuff - I'm sure pictures don't do them justice. Beth, it's beautiful. Also, don't forget to check out her blog

Step 1: Finding Inspiration (undetermined)
My inspiration lurks in the shadows of my home and garden, my children (and their imaginations), my experiences in Lake Michigan and the Ocean and in my dreams. In addition to being open to my surroundings I've started to carry a small notebook and pencil for sketching ideas on the fly.

Step 2: Base Layer ( 1 hour)
Preparing the maple panel with 3-4 layers of beeswax in the 3 main colors and fusing each layer together with a heat gun.

Step 3: Add Texture (1 hour)
Apply thin layers of 2 or 3 colors (for sand area) and once cool scrape back to reveal part of the base layer and then fuse with the heat gun.

Step 4: Create Basic Figures (30 min.)
Apply colored beeswax for skin, suits and caps and heat set.

Step 5: Details - Part I (1 hour)
Outline the swimmers and the pebbles by carving into the wax with clay tools.

Step 6: Details - Part II (1 hour)
Fill in the incised lines with oilbars using black for the swimmers and bisques for the pebbles. Use paper towel and linseed oil to remove all of the excess oil paint and then heat set.

Step 7: Add Sparkle (30 min.)
Apply silver leaf to form the moon and a few twinkling stars in the night sky. Use the heat gun to warm the wax in the water area and sprinkle with mica for sparkle.

Step 8: The One Involving my Spouse ( ...let's say 3 hours)
Build a custom frame (easier said than done) and paint with 3 coats of black paint. Finish the back with paper and hanging hardware and sign and date the back.

Step 9: Shipping: (1 hour)
First I wrap the painting in parchment to prevent anything from sticking to or marring the surface.Then I tie silk ribbon around the parchment wrapped painting and slip a gocco printed business card and care instructions under the ribbon. Then I wrap the painting in 3-4 layers of bubble wrap and place in a cardboard box layered with newspaper and a small amount of recycled foam peanuts . Then it's off to the post office.

Thank you Beth!!


tangled sky studio said...

Thank You so much for featuring this painting in thee heart lab. It is larger than most of my other pieces and I was really happy with the way it came together. Encaustics are definitely more beautiful in person because of the depth and texture they have...and they smell lovely too! I really can't thank you enough for being such a great advocate for the handmade movement and for encouraging so many artists!