Waxing and Waning at the end of 2020


Time is marching on and 2020 is winding down with as much disruption as it began. If angst is the food of the artist then this year we have feasted. My studio life is so constant that I rarely know what day it is any longer. Life has become an endless stream of coffee, music ,paint, and endless hours of thoughts about how much I love this life and watching paint dry.

A year ago in January, I lost my ability to work with hot wax due to the rising river water in my world. The waters came in the night and flooded my studio and all electrical appliances were rendered useless. I had to throw out my hotplates, electric skillets, and griddles. It was sad to see them in the trash after so many years of service in my studio. I also had several unfinished hot wax paintings, so I packed them up and took them to my garage, I could not bear to just trash them at first. Many days I would stare at them wondering if I should just free myself and throw them out, since I no longer had the space to work on them. Perhaps I should march them to the pitch in and move on, but something in my frugal mind kept telling me no. I kept working on other oil paintings in the garage, and dreaming of finding a good space once again so I could work in hot wax without worry. In the heat of the summer I could smell the beeswax wafting from the corner everytime I got near it. I love the sweet smell of the wax and decided to just let them stay in the periperal of my garage space for a while longer.

I was working on a piece in oil and cold wax and wanted to add more texture that would mimic the depth of paint I could achieve with hot wax, then I remembered I could use cold wax over hot wax. After all wax is nothing but a medium for the oil. The main key is to not heat the cold wax on top of the hot wax in a closed space as it will give off some pretty strong fumes. I had learned about the ability of working in cold wax over hot wax in a workshop with Rebecca Crowell years ago. I had not thought of it until now. It took no time to grab one of the unfinished encaustic paintings and begin to experiment. I was so happy to work on these panels that seemed like little hopeless misfits at this point. And there is literally nothing more freeing than working over a painting that has not been fully finished. The ability to experiment while doing this is one of the best learning experiences available to an artist. It is a great way of shedding skin and growing.

I wanted to share the experience and the incredible surface you can create with this practice.

I completely changed the original unfinished painting in the over painting but it was irrelevant, this was an experiment in seeing how far I could push and pull the surface and I found it became richer and richer with every new layer and like when working in hot wax you could always go back into the surface with light scraping or some form of abrasion giving it a very complex surface. I would note also that the cold wax and oil pigments seem to glide across the surface much like when you run your hand over velvet, it kept begging me to keep working it. It was a great way to reinvigorate the unfinished paintings.

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detail of the surface after applying oil and cold wax to the encaustic surface

These detail shots show the hazy transparency of wax medium as well as the depth of the surface which is actually physical and visual. If you are into surface and texture you might truly enjoy this mode of painting.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is drydocked_2020_oil-and-wax-on-wood_24x36x2_copyright-cathy-hegman-detail2-1-of-1.jpg
another detail of the abrading of the surface…digging slightly into the dark

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is drydocked_2020_oil-and-wax-on-wood_24x36x2_copyright-cathy-hegman-detail4-1-of-1.jpg
some of the texture marks that were in the original piece are working rather nicely in the new painting, these little unplanned gems give the surface a past which gives a nice blend of mystery to some of the mark making
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more surface texture..
Longboats Dry Docked by Cathy Hegman

I hope in some way this blog post will be of some help to someone in their studio. I am purposely posting less and less on the social media platforms due to the changes in the Terms of Service. I think the safest space maybe the blogosphere these days.

Thank you for taking the time to read and share your time with me. I hope to be blogging a lot more in the coming year. I look forward to sharing my work and thoughts with you.

I wish every a Merry Christmas! Happiest of Holidays! May 2021 bring us all good health and peace!

Take care

Cathy Hegman

All artwork and writing on this blog are the property of Cathy Hegman. Please do not copy or distribute it without the written consent of Cathy Hegman.

About Cathy S. Hegman

Art, much like a road links people together both visually and mentally. One can attain a glimpse inside the artist’s soul by studying the artist’s work, and perhaps find something that links them to the artist and the art. A work of art has the ability to resonate and touch the emotions without regard to age, gender, race, or religion through the application of pigment to canvas or paper. Art can be the voice that cries out without limits, or sometimes whispers the thoughts of the creator. Art speaks silently, yet conjures up feelings and gives satisfaction that is undeniable, and yet intrinsic. It validates our need to learn about ourselves, and gives us freedom to search for our own identities. The road is long and often dusty, but always renewing the spirit with inspiration. It is my hope in this lifetime to give a part of what I have learned through and on my journey with others. The deepest form of us is revealed in our thoughts and my art is the translation of my thoughts to paper and canvas. I paint layers of color and line to create a history of marks that will guide the viewer into my world of thought and engage them in the process. I embed personal symbols throughout my art to give it deeper meaning. I encourage you to think about life in a visual way and to contemplate our connections with each other and the world we share.
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5 Responses to Waxing and Waning at the end of 2020

  1. Anne Rhides says:

    Cathy, please know that you’re work and passion far exceed the studio… you are a special special soul. I always knew that you are beautiful Thankyou for always being so kind to us “babies” 🦋🦋🦋

  2. What a wonderful, inspiring post. Oh to be sooooo creative……I love how you show your art and spirit to the world.
    Thank you for posting!
    Happy Holidays!
    Rebecca Krutsinger

  3. Gerda Lelieveld says:

    Goodmorning Cathy, from the Netherlands. Merry Christmas for you too.
    I’m so pleased to see that your are blogging again. In the past months I visit your blog from time to time to see if you where there…. and now I see that you’re are at work and create again beautiful pieces.
    Thank you so much for sharing!
    All the best for 2021, Gerda

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