The Boat

You will have to experiment and try things out for yourself and you will not be sure of what you are doing. That’s all right, you are feeling your way into the thing. – Emily Carr

The Boat
30×15 inches

This past month has seen me take a bit of a departure from my norm. I don’t know if it was the heat or the concentrated effort of the previous months to get work ready for the show I had in March- but whatever it is, I needed a break from encaustic and a break from my usual. Towards the end of getting ready for the show, when I was pushing, pushing, I noticed a difference in my work. A loosening up, a desire to leave my abstract backgrounds as is. My very last painting I made, I faced inner resistance to add a transfer! But I did, in the end, so that the painting would fit with the rest of the paintings. But the transfer was so delicate and actually a bit abstract in the simplicity of the lines, that it was an easy reconciliation.

But once I got back to the studio to paint, I pulled out canvases that I have been working on, on and off, for the past few years. All in acrylic. And I got to work on them- building up layers of paint, just as I do when I paint in encaustic. Painting with a palette knife more often than with a brush. Then creating glazes with the more transparent paints. Much of the same of what I do when I paint with wax. Of course, acrylics can’t even compare with encaustics, in my book, but it was a big step for me— transferring my process with wax in a way that was compatible with acrylic. I have always felt like I had two very distinct styles when it came to painting in acrylic vs in encaustic.


Whenever I am readying my images to put on my website, I make a small thumbnail of an interesting section of a painting. And I always think- hmmm, well, that would make an intruiguing abstract painting. As the years have gone on, I keep feeling myself pulled in that direction.

But there’s a part of me that hesitates…uncertainty that comes with doing something new and different and untried.

While there was a lot of time spent staring at the canvas while I worked on this, I felt a sense of freedom that I haven’t felt in a while. It felt good. And every night after my kids went to bed, I would drag myself up to my studio because I just couldn’t stay away to explore my canvas surface even further.

I was really working on getting energy onto my canvas. My “contemplative melancholy” of my usual paintings is just not doing it for me right now. Lots going on in my personal life right now, so that could be one reason. Maybe not. Maybe I just need to shake things up a bit.

I am working on some more acrylic paintings in this boat series, that is a very personal one. But this is the first one finished. I have it hanging already and the bright colors make me happy when I catch a glimpse of it throughout my daily going-ons.

I know that down the road I will be bringing the two together- the contemplative melancholy + ….. Not quite sure which two descriptive words to use yet. It’ll come to me.

I don’t think it’s necessary for artists to have any formal training in painting or art history, but I do think it’s essential to continually experiment with different subject matter, types of paint and methods of painting. -Ron Parker


  1. I love this new work! And I’m so happy you blog about your processes – it always helps me think through things I’m working on in my own studio time. xxoo

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