Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Container Series

BonVoyage27, 20 cm x 20 cm encaustics painted on timber framed artboard, by Kim Mathieson, 2009.
Hi There All !  I have been working on new series of paintings lately, done in encaustics.  For those who haven't heard of encaustics, it is painting with beeswax and pigment, with some resin in the recipe to harden the wax on cooling.  Encaustics are very interesting to work with, as you put the paint down on your board or surface when the wax-paint mixture is melted and hot.  It cools and then you can carve and sculpt it, scrape it, paint it (with oil paints, straight), and create patterns, textures, and layers.  The beeswax-paint mixture hardens and can be polished, which looks very nice.  The melted beeswax smells awesome (I love the smell of beeswax !) and even when the works are completed, they have a nice beeswax smell, like beeswax candles do.

This new series of works is called 'Container,' and are inspired by colors, textures, and patterns seen in container ports and shipping industry.  With a few other maritime and military sorts of terms and names thrown in for good measure !  It features lettering and painted textures.  Lots
of oranges, greens, greys, black, white, yellow, reds and blue, some aqua, and a few other colors too.  Like you see in a container port, the big containers are often brightly painted and colored, making an interesting horizon of colored blocks, waiting to be loaded or unloaded to fulfill their next job.

These works have textures on them that look like painted timber or metal and also lettering effects some of which are distressed and also splatters of colors for interest and texture.  All of the the pieces are worked by hand, a considerable amount of hand work went into creating each one.  

To the upper right are three small 10 cm square works:  Anorak, Deep9, and Mod59.

Creating this series has been fun and a great learning experience too.  I did the painting at Salon Rouge Gallery in Kapunda South Australia, at the end of the week when I did the angels (see previous post).  Jacqueline Coates teaches encaustics too and I have done some workshops of that sort with her before, so was there this time to work on this new more industrial inspired direction.  I painted about 30-35 paintings on different sized boards and brought them back to Sydney with me.  Then here in Sydney, I have been attaching small timber frames to the backs, painting the timber sides, finishing off and polishing the works, attaching picture hanging wires, etc.  Now I am listing them on my new Etsy shop (another thing I am learning about), at http://www.bluekoistudio.etsy.com (you can find them there, check it out !).

The works look fab arranged and juxtaposed in combination with other pieces.  I am having fun rearranging them and also deciding which ones I want to keep !  I have found a few places where a tall column of them would look very good and add a bit of industrial eclectic vibe to the room !

BonVoyage27 (also shown at top of this post) looks very cool with others shown just above, three are 20 cm square sized and four small 10cm square sized in the fourth bigger square spot. The pieces look good in a row of 3 or more or a column of that many too.  The other pieces shown (clockwise from BonVoyage27 to the center) are Stage2, Signal71, Priority, Beacon38, WideLoad, and Hi2.
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These three small 10 cm square pieces are Ampersand, Beacon38, and SignalTwelveThirtyFour.

I am already thinking about the next series of encaustics...and I have two or three other themes to work on.  I also can see doing more in this sort of theme, with industrial inspired pieces.  I want to incorporate more textures and rusty colors.  Stay Tuned !


  1. Wow Kim - I know you explained how you do these encaustics but... how on earth do you make them so outstanding! They are truly amazing. I love the colours and balance of each piece!

  2. Thanks for that feedback Tania, I really enjoyed doing these. Once I got the right "feel" then they really came together. I did a bunch in one go and then worked on embellishing them later one, and added more neutrals (black, greys, white) in the second batch. There was a lot to do to each one even after the first layers, I take each piece and get started working on the wax texture and decide what it needs as I go. Sometimes I have to look at a set of them to decide what else to do next. I did have some geometric themes, and also the lettering and numbers as some of the ideas I wanted to apply. And creating texture and patterns with different colors of wax was interesting too, working to get things lined up (or not !). A lot goes into working each piece and I must say, I enjoy polishing them too, they look really good polished up !