Playing with Encaustic — Give it a Whirl!

Playing and Creativity

Play is such an important, yet not often talked about aspect of creativity. It became apparent to me at a crucial point in my artistic career that if there is not an aspect of play during the time that I’m involved in a piece, then it isn’t going anywhere.

"Play allows for letting go and loosening the grip on the brush." Andrea BirdPlay allows for letting go and loosening the grip on the brush.

When we find ourselves playing, we tap into a rich storehouse of energy. This energy is spontaneous, filled with possibility and often, joy. We are reminded of times in the past when we were also playing, and how great that felt. When in the moment, however, there is a sense of no-time, of being truly present… and it isn’t until later, when we step back and take a breath that we realize how engaged we were.

It is the process that pulls us in and holds us gently. A drip, a splash of one colour against another are enthralling, exciting and command all of our attention. This is what I’d call ‘deep play’, to borrow the term from Diane Ackerman.

“…play is a refuge from ordinary life, a scanctuary of the mind, where on is exempt from life’s customs…” — Diane Ackeman, Deep Play

This is what I aim to do in my encaustic workshops, by creating a place where letting go is encouraged. The ‘buzz’ in the room when students are deeply in play is almost tangible. It’s magical at times.

Dancing Series

Dancing on the natural beeswax with charcoal on my feet, a way of moving right into play! This way the dance informs the finished piece, getting me out of my ‘mind’. Love this way of working!

 

with wings outstretched - encaustic
With Wings Outstretched, 40″x56″ encaustic/charcoal/collage Dance #1 – the first in a dancing series

 

Give it a Whirl!

I’m offering ‘Give it a whirl!‘ at the Alton Mill, where we’ve set up our encaustic school, the hive. If you’ve always wanted to try encaustic, or to spend more time doing it, check it out!

Andrea Bird

About Andrea Bird

Andrea Bird graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto. She has been teaching and showing collage and encaustic for over 20 years. She is madly in love with the process of painting with beewax, and spent a year teaching herself ways to use the iron. Having just opened an encaustic school “the hive” just north of Toronto, she is fulfilling a long-held dream.

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...play is a refuge from ordinary life, a sanctuary of the mind, where one is exempt from life's customs...

One thought on “Playing with Encaustic — Give it a Whirl!


  1. I have just started to work with encaustic paint. It is just my hobby. I taught myself to draw and paint through books. Anyway I have one board that I just “play” with and experiment as I paint my “real” paintings. I have had more fun with the experimental board than I could have ever imagined. I am going to retire it soon and start a new one.

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