The week before last I spent 5 days at Wax Works West in Corralitos, painting and doing Bikram Yoga. I decided to take this break and paint because I felt like I needed to be pulled away from the distractions of daily life in order to really tap my creativity. While it was a delight to devote that much time to painting, I’m learning I have to find small chunks of time throughout my day to engage in creative work, rather than depending on or waiting for long, immersive periods. For example, I’m typing this as I wait for some sweet potato fries to bake. Yum. (a quick side-story…one of my dad’s favorite stories is of the time he posted educational articles on the insides of the bathroom stalls at his USMC regiment. He likes to chuckle about his “education through defecation” program, and “taking advantage of the craps of time” when you can. Sorry, that was a bit inappropriate, but I completely need to get onboard with stealing moments of productivity).

So, the first day of painting was horrible. I absolutely HATED what I made and I found myself starting to panic that I was wasting time and money and my painting sucks and who am I kidding, I am not a good artist, and all the other bullshit that goes through my mind when things don’t go according to my plan of producing perfect art, exactly how I envision it. Toward the end of the day, I started experimenting a little bit with some black paint and decided I’d work with that more the next day. I went to use the bathroom, and as I was sitting there doing my business, I looked up and saw this:

Ah…the craps of time came through for me (my dad would be so proud) and provided me with some wisdom during my bio break: I needed to relax my grand plans and enjoy the process. So true of much of life. The next day, I made this, which is probably my favorite painting of the retreat:

The third day and fourth day, I experimented with silk fabric and also painted a Japanese rice paper print that I’m planning on giving to my parents for Christmas.


I also finished up an octopus diptych:

On my last day, I enjoyed experimenting with 4 colors of batik fabric which I adhered to the board with medium, then covered in varnish and pearlized pigment, then lit on fire (outside, of course). I call it “Dear Watson” after Sherlock Holmes’ famous exclamation “it’s elementary,” as the 4 colors remind me of the elements of earth, water, sky and fire:

I finished the last day feeling like I had been productive and able to stir up some new ideas for things I want to do with encaustic paint. I’m excited to get my garage studio up and running so I can paint more regularly.