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Did you know I am offering encaustic classes through the new Lawrence Art Center? The first class is this weekend, October 16, 3-5pm. There are still a few spots open, and the classes are only $25 (that’s a steal!). You can register for the class here or click here to check out the rest of the classes on the schedule.

If you know me, it’s no secret that I love bees. I depend on them for the wax that goes into my artwork every day, so I have a deep respect and appreciation for the work they do. Today I came across this great video¬†about HK Honey, a collective of beekeepers selling local honey and beeswax candles in Hong Kong. Watch the video to see the beautiful way they care for these tiny creatures. The HK Honey website is full of great info about honeybees and beekeeping (and bonus, the site is beautifully designed!). Enjoy.

I realize that many of you who stumble across this blog may be wondering, “what in the world is encaustics?” So, here is my short explanation:

Encaustic, which means “to burn in,” is, put simply, painting with beeswax. The encaustic medium is made from natural beeswax with hardener, and pigment is added to create the paint. When the wax is melted, it can be spread with brushes and other tools across a surface. Each layer must be fused to the layer beneath it. There are several different heat tools used for fusing layers (the latent pyro in me prefers the propane torch).

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This process of layering wax, fusing, layering, and fusing can be further developed with some pretty neat techniques. Because the wax acts as a binding agent, objects (paper, fabric, and even 3-d objects like buttons) can be embedded under or between layers. The wax can also be carved into, scraped back, or built up to create textures.

scraping

My favorite part about encaustics is how versatile it can be; encaustic artwork spans a wide range of styles and approaches. One of the first artists to bring encaustic to prominence in the art world was Jasper Johns. Thanks to his work, encaustic is on the rise, and more and more people are trying out this fascinating medium. For more information on encaustic painting, I would recommend Joanne Mattera’s The Art of Encaustic Painting.

If you are in the Indianapolis area and are interested in learning how to paint with encaustic, I am available for private lessons or workshops (see how to contact me here).

I am an artist. This fact inevitably brings up a lot of questions for me. Is this my calling? Could this sustain me and my family? Can this move beyond a hobby? Is my art relevant to the outside world?

Well, I just quit my “day job,” so I suppose I am about to find out. The plan is to give it a year, throw myself into all the creative endeavors I can dream up, and see what happens.

Ira Glass has done a series of videos on storytelling, which I believe apply to any creative effort. He talks about the gap between our taste and our work. My goal this year is to get as close as I can to closing that gap.


I find this video very encouraging, because it means that there is hope that eventually I will make the art that I know can make but haven’t yet. Along the way, I will share here my process, my progress, and anything I find relevant or inspiring.

So, here we go…

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

To purchase artwork visit kbean.etsy.com.

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