Tag Archives: Beeswax. Mixed Media

Happy Birthday to AIRL

Happy Birthday to AIRL

December 13, 2013 ,  Art in Real Life’s 2nd Birthday!!!  Woo!  Send in the clowns….NOT!


Art in Real Life so far has been a pretty in-depth study in discipline and perseverance.  Doing the work. Keeping my head in the game.  Following my heart.  Learning what makes me happy.


It has been a way to share a journey to find what happened to my artistic self over the last 25+ years.  What started out all enthusiastic ambition in my younger days got jaded and lost somewhere between art school and here. I lost the connection with that side of myself, and eventually handed over the trust I had in my own creative nature and declared,” I am not really an artist” out of fear of failure or judgement.  Fast forward to 2011 when I rediscovered that passion and started making up for lost time and Art in Real Life was born.


Making a mark, small or large, on canvas, paper, fabric, the internet or at a job, or at home takes a certain amount of bravery. It requires effort and intention and a lot of trust.  What everyone who has taken a risk and put themselves out there knows is that inspiration is in the doing. Which cultivates more creativity which gives one the courage to try something even more. Posting here in this arena about my personal journey back to creativity in real life has been a lesson in discipline, perseverance and bravery for me and hopefully offers a tiny bit of inspiration for anyone who may have given up on that voice.


Art in Real Life 2013 the year of ….

Handmade Weddings:  Wedding planner is not my profession but this was definitely the year of the wedding, no doubt. Our dreams were big but our time frames and budgets tight so we were forced  to look deep and roll up our sleeves.  Creative thinking, faith and a lot of glue took us from a couple of bland banquet halls to romantic colorful spaces filled with personality and meaningful moments.


Project 365: One of my favorite developments from this blog. Many versions of this project exist on the internet.  There is a website 365Project.org that does a good job of explaining why, in this world of instant everything, does it matter to take one photo every single day for a year of your life.  My Project 365 is not a product of any of those just a suggestion by an extremely talented photographer friend . Her level of photography puts me in my place but she inspired me to really take notice of the everyday happenings, no matter how mundane or messy, and pay attention.  I like that.   Sometimes it is just capturing one simple moment brings me back to that day and the back story.  Looking to keep up with that habit and go for Project 365 2014.  Discipline and  perseverance…

Day 307

Design for Real Life: Although 2013 was all about weddings (and cats if you look at my 365 Project!), I am looking forward to being more active in this particular aspect of my creative life in 2014.  Our company, Closet Factory, has the newest cutting edge drawing technology that presents some learning curves (for me!) but  through discipline and perseverance we have been able to offer this incredibly comprehensive tool our company to our clients.  Helping people beautify and organize their homes is another passion that takes a lot of discipline and perseverance on my part.


A.R.T.:  or Acts of Random Talent page is a place that I am using to curate inspiring artists’ work as I find them around the internet.  Hoping to create a collection of unexpected art that has its roots in real life.  People who, even though they may have come to their calling in a non-traditional way, have made the connection to that inner voice and have stepped into being the artists that they were meant to be.  Really, we are all artists.

alexa meade

Gallery: It hasn’t been all weddings and cats but there has been some actual “visual art” happening around here, too. There have been paintings and classes just not so much on the gallery page.Studio renovations as well as house, food, fabric and yard projects have been a big part of the year, too!


Thank you so much for being a reader, (even if you are related to me in some way and just feel obligated!)  I am ever so grateful for your time. I am aware there is a lot of ways to spend your screen time. Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you will leave me a birthday comment if you have a moment.  I would consider it to be a wonderful gift. You could even subscribe and get an update in your inbox when there is something new here if you want…extra special thank you to my “inner circle” of subscribers!  Love you guys!


Here’s to the next 365 days of Art in Real Life!  Do something powerful and creative – be yourself!

Waxing Artistic … Part 1

Waxing Artistic … Part 1


Encaustics – my addiction!  I love collage, and mixed media, so combining both with beautiful translucent wax puts me over the moon! Encaustic medium (beeswax melted with damar resin) is downright seductive – the aroma of melting beeswax mixed with the piney resin of the damar crystals gets me every time.  The process can become almost hypnotic.  It’s permanent yet changeable; moldable yet solid; colorful yet clear; hard yet liquid.

I taught a teen class at my home studio as well as a class at a recent meeting of our creativity co-op and the results were stunning. These were beginners who didn’t even know what they were getting in to!  They were surprised by their own talent!  Love that!  Here are just a few snapshots of the process…not a tutorial….most supplies came right to my door from Amazon – love!

There are a few supplies to get and a few rules to follow but mostly it’s a matter of just following the call of the wax.  A simple pancake griddle, some metal tins, the raw materials and color, I use oil paints, and the fun begins.  You can also buy ready-made encaustic paints and medium – but what fun is that?

These are 12×12 pieces of hardboard (masonite) cut by the friendly man at the local lumber store.  You can use different surfaces and you can buy prefinished boards already gessoed. Not me…I like to do things the hard way!

A couple of coats of clay gesso, made for encaustic painting because it grabs and holds onto the wax, was applied and then the boards were cut into 6×6 squares.

Beeswax is melted with crushed Damar Resin Crystals to create encaustic medium. The beeswax is soft and the resin gives it a more hardened and translucent quality that is gorgeous and durable.  The crystals look like rock candy and by crushing them into a powder they melt into the wax more easily.  Using a meat mallet and a towel to crush the crystals on the left into the powder on the right!  Again, you can skip all of this and buy it already done.

The resin takes a little bit of a higher heat to initially melt into the wax so you have to be mindful of the temperature so as not to burn the wax. Thorough and constant mixing helps but you can see the blob of half melted resin on the end of the stick here.  More melting required…takes about 30 minutes or so altogether for this amount.

Once the medium as been made and/or melted, time for color.  I mix in a few blobs of oil paint that I have left on a paper towel overnight to absorb the excess oil. Then, with a popsicle stick, color is added to a tin filled with the wax/resin mixture. These tins are a collection of seamless tins I had around – empty spice rub tins, printmaking tins, and tuna/clam cans – anything metal and seamless will work. You can use old pots if you like or even an old crockpot or electric frying pan.  Just know, you will never use any of these items for food again.  The brushes are made from natural fibers as synthetic bristles and heat – not so good.

Wine and food are always a part of our co-op : )

Creating a collage or just painting with the wax is where the creativity kicks in…trying different arrangements of collage elements, heating, fusing, etching, coloring, stamping, adding and taking away – all kinds of techniques can be used.

Painting on the wax then heating or fusing to set the layer.


From the teen class…no wine but yes, that is a giant pump bottle of Heinz 57 in the middle of the table!  Don’t ask…

Stay tuned for the next post with lots of finished pieces!