Thursday, August 12, 2010

Jaime's going to Haystack!

Haystack's photo of the week for this week. A view of Haystack of Haystack from Jericho Bay, August 2010.
See more photos at this link: 

I flipped through the pages of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts Summer workshop catalog in January 2010, and my breath caught as I see the words “Encaustic Painting.” (If you haven't heard yet, encaustic is pigmented beeswax and damar resin that is applied hot to a surface. Encaustic means to burn in).

At San Diego State University (SDSU), where I am finishing my BA in Art: emphasis sculpture, minor in Psychology, there is one scholarship awarded to a student from the Applied Design program to attend Haystack for a summer session.

While the scholarship was awarded to a graduate student, the idea to attend this outstanding school was firmly planted in my brain. I gathered images, updated my resume, made a list of my technical abilities, and sent emails to my amazing and overworked professors to request letters of recommendation.

Having two years of experience working in encaustic and a few encaustic-teaching gigs under my belt, I told myself “I can do this!”

So I applied for the Technical Assistant Scholarship to the “Hot Wax: Encaustic Painting Comprehensive” taught by R & F Instructor Cynthia Winika – and, you guessed it, I won!

Now it is the second week of August, and the time has finally come!

I am leaving this Saturday, August 14, 2010 on an overnight flight for two weeks of intensive study of encaustic painting on the coast of Maine!

Some of the artists who have attended Haystack tell me that it was a momentous time of growth.

SDSU MFA ceramics graduate Kelly Schnorr told me that during her time as a Technical Assistant at Haystack that everyday she woke up thinking she was in heaven.

I know I am in for a life-changing experience.
 Haystack sums it up:

The unique experience to be found at Haystack is owed to the combination of internationally-renowned instructors, intensive and focused studio time, the exploration of other art forms including music, poetry and dance, a diverse student body, and an award-winning campus. Students live, eat and work at the school, and studios remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Are you jealous, yet? I would be too!
The workshop description for Cynthia Winika’s Hot Wax: Encaustic Painting Comprehensive gives you a clue to what is in store:

Encaustic (beeswax) painting, derived from the legendary painting of the ancient Greeks, is one of the most versatile, durable, and beautiful painting media. After being out of use for 2000 years, it has made a recent resurgence. This workshop will provide a basic understanding of sound technique, safe studio practice, and show the many ways of using the paint and medium. Preparation of supports, thermal properties of encaustic paint, fusing, and demonstration of a wide variety of painting, layering, collage, solvent free image transfer, and mixed media techniques will be incorporated. Slide presentations will include information about the history of encaustics, 20th century revivals, and contemporary artists working with encaustic. All levels welcome.
As the technical assistant for this workshop, I have a unique position in that I am able to attend the workshop, help the instructor, do a presentation about my work, exhibit two pieces in their show, and work on my own art during the free time. All this and meals included!

I am more than looking forward to enjoying all this experience has to offer. I have never had two weeks away from my partner and thirteen-year-old son to be able to focus on my art, so this gift of time is especially moving.

Yet the excitement of having two weeks to work in wax has me all aflutter as I pack my supplies that I want to bring it all!

I just found out that the encaustic supplies are included in the studio fee, but I still need to pack my own panels, papers, and tools. It is a few days before I leave and still packing up and pairing down what I need to bring.

Bottom Line - Two weeks in Maine with studio time devoted to encaustic painting? Heavenly.

Want to hear more about it? Great! I don't expect to have much computer time while I am there, but I will write up an “After Haystack” post including experiential pictures and studio shots that I know you want to see.

Until then, you can pop over to my Facebook page or Twitter and send me a “Good luck at Haystack” message or share some “I heart Haystack” stories and tips!

Looking forward to sharing my experience with you! ~ Jaime Lyerly