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  • Writer's pictureRachel Pearsey

In the studio...

Updated: May 5, 2020

It's been a great two weeks, working on my art up in a cabin in the mountains of California! One of the days all the water and electricity were shut off, but I got by and found some lanterns! The rest of the time everything worked great and I got a lot finished.

I was able to spend a lot of time in research for this new series - studying and making notes in my sketchbook, along with drawings and plans. My typical art is content driven. It involves much study and prayer to know how I can communicate my ideas and themes through symbolic imagery.

I completed the prep for two paintings, and I've nearly completed a third one - I have one day left, so I hope to finish before I leave! I hope you enjoy pictures of my process below!

One of the inspirations for this piece was finding some old clocks and assemblage elements in the old Tetouan Medina! The pieces from the disassembled clocks will become the final assemblage layers. My mixed media work has always included collage and some hints of assemblage, but these new pieces will go further in that direction. Assemblage is an artistic form or medium, usually created on a surface like a panel or box, that consists of three-dimensional elements projecting out of or from that surface. It is similar to collage, a two-dimensional medium.

You can select the image sets below to view them larger and read more details.

The framework for this piece is a carved wooden pattern that I found, and each of the spaces in the design have an individual mini collage in the background. The spaces will also hold my assemblage elements in the final layer. The color scheme was inspired by a geometric crazy quilt I designed and sewed for my brother years ago - teal and brown are one of my favorite combinations!

My collage elements include papers that I handmade, all different types of fabric, Sashiko stitching, printmaking, and a printed lino block carving.

Each collaged shape was glued in place onto a gessoed panel, and then I glued and clamped the wood pattern on top.

I created puzzeled template pieces for each of the collages and worked out a quick color scheme on the panel before I designed them.

I've been using more Encaustic paint in my mixed media techniques, and I've really enjoyed learning how to handle this melted beeswax and resin mixed with pigments!

In this piece some of the final assemblage elements are made with encaustic.

I've been using dried pigments that I purchased in Chefchaouen, Morocco and it's been fascinating to experiment with them! You can click through the image gallery below for more of that story.

I found the tins on Amazon, and they're just great, because

  • they're square and fit efficiently together on the griddle,

  • they each sit fully on the griddle for even heating (the muffin tin I used to use would warp, so not all the colors would be touching the heat evenly)

  • they can be used individually, so you don't have to heat all the colors every time,

  • they have clear lids and stack nicely for easy storage and finding the colors you need.

Sparrows are a key symbol in this new series of work. I created my own assemblage objects using cheesecloth, string, plaster, and encaustic wax.

I'll post again after I've assembled the final layers and have complete this piece!

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