The Case for Paint-Make It Stop

Flag, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Since I’ve been setting up my studio to do encaustics, I’ve noticed that lately I’ve been bitten by the bug. I’ve started to sketch out the first paintings that I want to do once the setup is complete, and I can hardly wait to get going, to get painting again, only in the new medium.

An interesting thing about paint, one which I’ve been reminded since all this encaustic work has started to happen, is that, when you work with paint, you’re not limited to “reality” in the same way as photography. Sure, it’s never stopped me before, but right now anyway, I’m starting to enjoy the expanse of an imagination unbound. For example, I started to think about nature, about what I like about nature. Then I started to think about leaves, because, well, because it’s autumn and so I guess the time was right. Then I started to think about birds on a wire, and birds, and flying, and all of the freedom of association that comes with flight. I had this idea to do encaustic panels, basically a “bird’s eye view” of the world, and call it “as the crow flies.” I could even get little houses, make roads, and all of that, maybe using something like an old Monopoly game.

It’s a funny thing about crows. I’ve wanted to do a crow series as a photographer for a long time but never got around to it. I bought these fake little stuffed crows, and I was going to sort of “plant” them around, taking their picture as I went. That’s a great idea, and I might still do it at some point, but my point today is that, by dabbling in paint, by using encaustics and drawing, rather than photography, I can actually make my crows without, well, without making my crows. It sounds almost easy. Doesn’t it? Who knew photography was so much work? (Well, ok, I shouldn’t really say that but, like, you get the idea.)

So then my mind started racing and I started sketching again. All the different paintings I want to do. For some reason, I almost always start out a photograph or a painting as a sketch and I never sketch all that well. Just smudges, smears, a few quick lines on a page, but that’s all I really need to get myself going-it’s all in the head anyway, right? As my mind goes around at ten million miles an hour, I try, I hope, to just save off little tidbits, tiny morsels of what I want to do for my next big project. Now, I’m afraid that encaustics are going to turn into the next pit for me. I’m going to have ten million ideas running around in my head and I’m going to be helpless. “Make it stop,” I’ll say, “please make it stop.”

For some reason, I always have a million ideas but can never actually get anything done. Somehow, I’m haunted by all these little notions, vague recollections, pieces and parts, bits not yet realized. What do you do when you have this problem? Try to forget? Try to remember? Work harder? Or just relax and have a beer? (That last one is actually starting to sound just about good right about now.)

If you’ll excuse me, I think it’s time to rename “Miller Time” to be “Encaustic Hour” (yet, somehow, celebrate it with some “golden umber” if you know what I mean.)

Until next time…



  1. mythopolis
    November 18, 2009 / 1:37 am

    on the bird's eye view idea, I was wondering if some railroad hobby shop might have some interesting miniatures…

  2. Carol
    November 18, 2009 / 1:36 pm

    Great minds think alike, Mythopolis. I was thinking the same thing. There's a Hobby Lobby very near my home and they have a lot of railroad miniatures that I could use. Even stuff like trees and fake tiny people. It might be sort of fun to do something with these sorts of things, because they are so easy to come by and kind of inexpensive.

    I'll keep you posted and let you know if I wind up doing any miniatures like this.


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