What Have you Been Doing this Past Year?
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September 04, 2018
By Christine Merchent
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I was honored to receive Artist of Year in 2017 from Nickel Plate Arts. In preparation for the upcoming banquet the Director asked me "What have you been doing this past year?" so she could share the information at the banquet. Sounds like a simple enough question but story telling and sharing images of my work always requires a great deal of thinking, planning and preparation on my part. So since I went to all that work I thought I'd share the information here on my website.

Over the past year I explored 2 new-to-me art forms, encaustic and mixed media.

Encaustic is a 2,000-year-old art form that utilizes beeswax. Using encaustic in photography adds a 3-dimensional quality, and aroma, and causes the art to be translucent as long as there is nothing behind the paper. For my projects I used Japanese papers, either bamboo or rice paper, and beeswax that was specifically prepared for encaustic work. Both the papers and the wax have to be archival, meaning they have a long life and are low acid. I chose to hang my encaustics rather than the traditional method of mounting them on a board as this allows light to pass through the now translucent art. The wax has to be maintained at a low temperature or it can cause toxic fumes. Just to be safe I wear a respirator. The whole process is very messy, takes up a lot of space and is quite fun. Each piece of art is a 1 of a kind as you can never replicate the way the wax adheres to the paper and the possibility of drips adds to the unpredictable nature of the work.

My mixed media work was inspired by a flower show at Nickel Plate Arts. I never want to be run of the mill, I’m always looking for a new approach. I took flowers and pearls and surrounded one of my photographs in a 3-dimensional piece of art. Once again, the process was quite messy, framing it was a nightmare, but I was quite pleased with the end result.

My art was on display at the Augusta airport during the Masters Golf Tournament. I was the only artist exhibiting in the terminal. The show was originally scheduled for April-June, but they extended it to September. I have also been selected to exhibit again during the 2018 Masters.

My art was on the cover of the September/October edition of Sophisticated Living. http://digital.slmag.net/i/1021022-sep-oct-2018

I have enrolled in a graduate art program. I’ll begin working on my Master of Art degree this Thursday through the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Which luckily I can all do from my home.

For me art is a path of self-discovery. My muses whisper gently in my ear and I follow their guidance. As long as I’m enjoying the process, I will continue my exploration.

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