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An Uncomfortable Situation, Candice Hartsough McDonald

I have a new studio mate! Candice Hartsough McDonald makes awesome things like the piece above and is super cool. You can expect us to get into all sorts of crazy antics in the studio. And by antics I mean sitting in the same room painting. Tonight is Open Studio Night at the Harrison Center from 6-10pm. I will finally have my circles piece on display, and you can check out Candice’s fantastic work. See you there!


This Saturday, December 11, from 9am to 5pm I will be selling my work at the Alternative Gift Fair at the Earth House Collective. Tickets are only $2. Hope to see you there!

It’s a busy weekend full of art events! Tonight is the monthly First Friday, and the Harrison Center has a great show of Kyle Ragsdale‘s new work (trust me, you have to come see it!), called “Share, Half-Share.” I will be in my studio, so feel free to stop by and check out what I have been working on.

Tomorrow is the Bloomington Handmade Market, which is one of my favorite shows to do each year (information on the flier above). Get an early start on your Christmas shopping and support handmade at the same time.

Have a great weekend!

Sandcastles, 11″ x 14″ encaustic on wood

At long last, I have photos of my “home” themed work from the “Homeward Bound” show at the Harrison Center.

Leaves, 9″ x 12″ encaustic on wood

I have been kind of obsessed with the concept of home—who or what defines it, how its definition changes over time, and the ways we construct our identities around places and experiences—since I was a teenager. I decided to make a piece for each place and time period that has been a home for me. As I reflected on these places I have lived and people I have known, I found it so interesting to remember the identities I wore at those times, identities that aren’t me anymore but that are still a part of me in some way. It’s like those childhood stories your family tells over and over, year after year; eventually you come to remember the telling of the story more clearly than the event itself. Over time, these defining moments become memories of memories, and yet they are still so important to who we are. The ideas of memories of memories, changing identities, and finding home are the themes I explored in this body of work.

Poetry, 9″ x 12″ encaustic on wood

These pieces are the most personal work I have ever made. I am still learning in my artwork how to make work that is meaningful and authentic to me as an artist but is not so personal that it alienates the viewer. I want to put my story into my art, but does that keep someone else from seeing his or her own story in it? I am still looking for that balance, but for now I am simply making art that is true to me and trying not to hold back too much.

Itadakimasu, 9″ x 12″ encaustic on wood

This piece was made for the home I built the year I studied abroad in Japan. As a vegetarian, it was difficult to eat in Japan, but my host mom made sure that every recipe was adapted to leave out the things I couldn’t eat. I know how much trouble she went to for me every day, and this special effort made me feel at home and a part of the family. When I sat down to dinner each night with my host family, it was a safe and comfortable place. The text on the rice bowl comes from the letter she gave me the day I left, and the title Itadakimasu is the word every Japanese person says before eating as an expression of gratitude for the meal.

Plaid, 9″ x 12″ encaustic on wood

This work is definitely indicative of the direction my art is taking: sculptural, 3D, textured. I played around with new techniques (molding and casting), and I am really excited about the possibilities of bringing my love of wax to my love of sculptural work.

Thanks for reading. :)

One of my favorite parts of my Oranje booth was a collaborative group painting. I set out my hot plate with various colors of wax and brushes and told participants to go to town. I covered one of my booth walls with paper and backlit a window to highlight the beautiful translucency of beeswax. This project was a great way to introduce a lot of people to the encaustic medium, and it provided a nice bridge between the line “this is all made from beeswax” and the artwork visitors saw before them. Here are some photos of how the piece progressed throughout the night.

(just getting started)

Here is where people really started getting into it.

From time to time I would use my torch to fuse some of the layers together, mix colors, and make fun drips (I only caught the paper on fire once!).

People really got creative—someone even carved the wax to let light through!

The final product turned out wonderfully messy and looked like a garden.

This was definitely the most fun part of the night for me. Thanks to everyone who participated for sharing your spontaneous creativity! I’m going to hang the window in my studio for inspiration.

I want to be an artist when I grow up. I quit my job to try it. I will chronicle the results here.

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