Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Alex Kanevsky

I've just discovered an artist whose work really speaks to me. I like the way he pushes paint around and he has interesting things to say about his work here. Kanevsky does interesting things with both water and the figure - and makes me think about going back to the figure. Subtle, interesting work.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Encaustic workshop at BBAC

I taught a workshop on Saturday at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center. Here are some photos of some of the pieces made and their makers. Unfortunately I didn't pull out my camera until late on after a few people had already left so this is just a sampling of what was done - nice work though!

We shared a number of sources for materials during the workshop so I'm posting the URLs here. Lee Valley Woodworking

Things Japanese


Creative Paper

Neodymium magnets at

Friday, December 12, 2008

more fun with encaustic on paper

These pieces aren't really monotypes but they're encaustic on paper done on a heated surface. They're small - ranging from 4.5 x 4.5" to ~9 x 12". Fun to do!

Friday, December 5, 2008

experimenting with encaustic monotypes

Last summer I saw Paula Roland demonstrate her amazing encaustic monotype technique at the National Encaustic Conference. Since then I've been doing some monotypes of my own and am in the process of building a pair of hot boxes to be able to work bigger. I've mostly done small pieces but just recently did a series of banners - encaustic on kozo intended to hang in middair. It feels very freeing and spontaneous compared to my usual highly textured and built up pieces. Here are two such. Red/orange is 12” x 25.5” and 4 blue squares is 12” x 29” – both are encaustic and oil pastel on kozo.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Phase Change will be in Ann Arbor

My show Phase Change, currently at Woman Made Gallery in Chicago will come down this Thursday. It goes up at the Yourist Studio Gallery on Oct 11 and the opening will be on Artwalk, Oct 17! I'm delighted the show will have a local incarnation!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008

class at Yourist Studio this fall

I'm teaching a weekly encaustic class at the Yourist Studio starting Sept 29. No prior encaustic experience necessary.

Those of us who enjoy working with clay, can appreciate texture and relief in other mediums. As clay is an ancient medium, so is encaustic. Until recently, encaustic has been all but forgotten and is now undergoing a resurgence of popularity. This is not a ceramic technique but one using the medium of pigment and beeswax combined to create relief paintings on various types of substrate including, but not limited to, wood, tile, sheetrock, plexiglass. We will explore basic painting technique w/encaustic as well as utilizing drawing or digital imagery as underlayer. We will also learn to work with Image transfers, collage, poured encaustic and the building up of texture. This class is a continuation of our summer workshop as well as an introduction for beginners.

For more information about Encaustics

Instructor: Leslie Sobel
10 week class tuition: $295 Lab fee: $25 (wax medium) There will be a list of materials for you to bring to class

Monday evenings: Sep 29 - Dec 1, 7:00 - 10:00
To download the registration form go here

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

new work going to Chicago

Here are a couple new pieces I'm including in the show I'm delivering to Woman Made Gallery tomorrow.

The first is Greenland - melting channels. It's encaustic, mixed media and satellite imaging of fjords in Greenland and is 24" x 24".

The second is Ross Ice Shelf - imagined melt. 18 x 24" Same media but started also with a satellite map of Ross Island showing elevations. It's a long way from what Ross Island actually looks like though whereas the first piece is more tightly rendered.

Monday, August 25, 2008

week up north

We spent a week camping in Northern Michigan at Sleeping Bear and Fisherman's Island State Park. Here are a few pix. The first photo is from Fisherman's Island State Park. The other two are from a hike on the morraine above Glen Lake at Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Where we live - the ecology of place

At long last it's finished. This week I hope its final home will be determined. 4 panels, each 45" square - shown here in geographically correct position.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Phase change

pretty much speaks for itself

new work, upcoming stuff

I've been working on this series of small (6" x 6") encaustics for quite a while. Most are from satellite images, a few are photomicrographs and even fewer are regular photos. This group of 25 will be part of my upcoming show phase change at WomanMade Gallery in Chicago.

The show will be up from September 5 to October 2. The opening reception is Friday September 5 from 6-9pm.

Also at WomanMade at the same time will be a show I juried with Lynda Cole - one planet, one experiment and Lynda's solo show
the world between black and white.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

workshop at Yourist Studio

I taught a workshop in encaustic a few weeks ago. I've been so busy that it's taken me until now to upload a few images from that weekend of my students and some of the terrific work they produced that weekend.

Amazing painter

I discovered the work of Dino Vallis via Metafilter today. He's an astonishing Spanish artist working in egg tempera, casein and oil. His work is very disturbing and beautifully rendered.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

ecology of place

In process but not yet complete, here is one of 4 BIG prints mounted on panel, more to be collaged on at the Townie Street Party on Monday.
[edited to fix upload problem]

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

more on the ecology of place

I'm getting lots of wonderful images sent to me for this project. The range of animals and plants living in our county is pretty amazing. And all the bits and pieces are starting to really come together - I'll see proofs of the four big prints (45" x 45" each!) tonight.

Here's a teaser - one of my photos of a bog. To get to it one has to hike through a swamp. I went along on my daughter's AP biology field trip there a while ago and the amount of mud some of the kids ended up coated in was truly impressive. It's an interesting place and truly quakes under one's feet since the ground is lots of sphagnum moss.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Where we live - the ecology of place

I'm doing a public art project on the ecology of Washtenaw County. This collaborative art project will include the images and words of many people living in the area. It will be partially assembled the night of the Townie Street Party at the Original Street Art Fair on Monday July 14th. If you want to contribute images or words of places, animals or plants within the county send me email or bring them to the TSP. The piece is starting with big satellite images and maps of the county combined with other imagery. It will be big - 4 panels, each 45" x 45". The base prints will be produced by Foto1.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Encaustic conference

My brain is full! So many wonderful sessions from so many talented artists over the course of the last few days. I met many lively, interesting artists doing terrific work and learned a lot. See my sidebar for links to many of the artists' sites.

I was lucky enough to take a workshop from Kay Walkingstick and that was incredibly useful. I came away with much food for thought about how to push my work further to better communicate the ideas that drive it.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Encaustic conference

This week I'm off to the 2nd National Encaustic Conference. I'm really excited - it's going to be a chance to learn at lot, look a lot and be utterly immersed in my favorite medium for an intense week.

Also gives me a good chance to feel guilty since I'm leaving my kids to get through finals week without me. Guess we'll all survive but I'm not going off entirely relaxed and focused. Always pulled in a couple directions - the reality of working motherhood.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Public art and the Street Art Fair

A few weeks ago I wrote about doing a workshop at the Street Art Fair in July. The plans for that have changed considerably and grown into something far more exciting. The Street Art Fair, working with the Washtenaw Land Trust, has commissioned me to do a piece of public art about the ecology of Washtenaw County. This piece will start with satellite imaging and maps and include photos, drawings and stories contributed by the public. It's going to be a big piece - 4 panels each just shy of 4 feet on a side. People will have opportunities to send in their contributions in advance and to help assemble the piece at the Townie Street Party on Monday July 14th. more details to come on the specifics.

I'm very excited about this project! I love the idea of including people's memories and images in a way to document the ecology of our area. Special thanks to Shary Brown for coming up with the project and doing a lot of legwork to get it started along with Aaron Gold and Suzie Heiney.

Monday, May 19, 2008

From Rust Belt to Artist Belt

Last week I attended the conference named in this post's title. It was held in Cleveland, a city that's done a remarkable job of reinventing itself. It was a fabulous, inspiring, brain-filling experience. I went with a group of thirteen arts professionals sent by the Arts Alliance as part of the alliance's ongoing efforts to improve the visibility and economic strength of the arts here in Washtenaw County. I think there will be a lot of significant things coming out of both the conference and the larger effort.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Workshop at Ann Arbor Art Fair

Updated - this will actually be a different event at the Townie Street Party on Monday July 14th - watch this space for details about an exciting project!

I'm giving a free collage workshop at the Street Art Fair on Wednesday July 16th from 3-5pm. The workshop will be environmentally themed using satellite photos and recycled materials. If you're in town come and play! more details when the date is closer.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Place Where You Go to Listen

Composer John Luther Adams has made an installation at the Museum of the North in Fairbanks Alaska that takes weather, seismic and other data and produces a music/light piece that seems truly remarkable. Makes me want to head to Fairbanks right now! I'm fascinated by the way he has incorporated scientific data as the source for music. New Yorker article here. Brief Youtube of the installation here. h/t metafilter

Friday, May 2, 2008

Tour of the Cryosphere

This 7 minute video uses computer modeling and satellite imaging to look at changes in the coldest regions of the earth due to global warming. It's succinct and neutral in tone but the implications are very frightening. The data wasn't new to me but it's very well assembled.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Artropolis and other stuff

This is a new piece. "Greenland - ice and water"
It's 18" x 24" and is encaustic and digital on panel. ©2008

I spent the weekend in Chicago at Artropolis.
I saw a lot of work I liked and a lot that seemed dull. Was
grabbed by work at Sundaram Tagore, especially Sohan Qadri's beautiful
dyed paper pieces.

I was surprised by how little encaustic there was at either Art Chicago
or the Next show. I did enjoy Martin Kline's large scale encaustic at
Jason McCoy.

I also visited Woman Made Gallery. I am jurying a show there with Lynda
Cole. Here's the call for entry for One Planet, One Experiment. I will be
having a solo show there this fall as well.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

more new work

"melt zone - line of demarkation"encaustic, digital imaging and mixed
media on panel, 24" x 24" ©2008

"bleeding fjord", encaustic, digital imaging and mixed
media on panel, 18" x 24" ©2008

Both of these pieces started with satellite images of coastal
Greenland where glacial melt has been accelerating at a frightful
rate over the last few years. "Melt zone" incorporates false color
imaging of areas melting faster and other data.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

new piece

"fjord & snow" - this is a new piece based on satellite images of snowmelt in Greenland. It is 12" x 12" and is encaustic and digital.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Friday, February 29, 2008

Encaustic workshop

I'm teaching an encaustic workshop at Yourist Studio Gallery this summer:

Introduction to Encaustic Painting

Saturday, June 28/ Sunday, June 29, 10am-4pm
Coffee and bagels at 9:30 - Potluck lunch at 12.

The workshop will be two days long - those new to encaustic can take both
days and people with some experience may prefer to just take the second day.
More details on the Yourist site soon.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Global Mourning

I read a column in the January issue of Wired by Clive Thompson about the psychological effects of global warming. An Australian philosopher named Glenn Albrecht has coined a new word, solastalgia, to describe the mourning for a lost environment. He says it's a "form of homesickness one gets when one is still at 'home.'" This really resonates with me since it's a huge part of what informs my current series of shrines and altars.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

show of my work

There's a show of my work is at Yourist Studio Gallery at 1133 Broadway in Ann Arbor through March.

This is "cloud/sky/channel". It's one of the pieces in the exhibition. It's 18" x 24" and is encaustic and mixed media on panel.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

reliquary-shattered ice

This is a new piece. It's encaustic and satellite imagery and mixed media. Closed it's ~6" x 4" x 6.5". Open it's ~ 11" x 8" x 6". It was inspired by satellite photos of the Crary Ice Rise in Antarctica and an ice field in Greenland but diverges from both.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Couple of interesting links.

The first is a flickr pool of Japanese HDR photography - quite remarkable - they look more painted than photographic.

Second is the site for a documentary in the making about the massive disappearance of bees. As an artist working with beeswax this is obviously of considerable interest - aside from the question of what's going to pollinate all our fruits, vegetables and grains if there are no more bees.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

antarctica - altar for the past & future

New piece - this incorporates satellite imagery including infrared images of melt zones and the ozone hole and schematics of the currents around Antarctica. The piece is a hinged dyptich - 2 panels, each 27 x 27 x 1", ©2008