Freshly returned from a trip to southern California for the CREATE Mixed Media Retreat, I am immediately up to my neck in our local artsPeak Festival of the Arts.  Before I get too carried away with those activities (about which I will tell you next week),  I just had to share with you a wonderful new publication I’ve had the opportunity to review this week.

A few of my artsy pals and I are helping Cate Prato at Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine spread the word to all you eager mixed media beavers about an absolutely wonderful new book.  “The Encaustic Studio, a wax workshop in mixed media art” by Daniella Woolf is so full of inspiration and practical advice from this delightful and knowledgeable artist that it is difficult to know which aspect to start with.  I began glancing through the book in preparation for a review, and within the first minute was deeply absorbed.

This excellent book is clearly and logically divided between essentials of encaustic practice, and a rich array of mixed media techniques for use with encaustic.  Now, I’ve been working with encaustic in a limited way for a few years, so I was keen to get my eyes and hands on this book.  I often find that books on encaustic either repeat much the same hackneyed information, or are far too technical and do not address the use of encaustic for mixed media purposes.  I do not wish to particularly paint with encaustic, and so these books have not had much for me.  Imagine my delight to finally see Daniella’s wonderful book absolutely stuffed to bursting with mixed media-specific tips and techniques.  I can’t help but give you a particularly tasty example that made its eye-opening advent into my life recently.  That is the Hot Wax Stylus Pen.

I had the pleasure to attend a workshop at Easter time to learn how to decorate Ukranian pysanka eggs.  To do so, a wax resist pattern is created before the eggs are dyed.  I had the pleasure of using an electric hot wax stylus.  All the while I was using it, my mind was popping with ideas for its application in many different mixed media art projects where not a single egg was present.  You may, therefore, imagine my delight to find Daniella referring to the hot wax stylus as a useful tool for writing and drawing in encaustic!  I will be adding one of those to my arsenal of tools very soon.

Another great example that is very pertinent to where I live in the Canadian Rockies is the use of a SKI WAX IRON to fuse your encaustic.  Now, I have to say, I never would have thought of that.  These little items turn up pretty cheaply in our thrift stores and ski swaps with regularity, so you may imagine the bulb going off in my brain at that point.  Have you noticed I hadn’t even got out of the tools section yet???

Just about every question I’ve ever had about using encaustic for mixed media purposes, including many that have been tossed out to me over the years, are all addressed in this informative and lushly illustrated book.  As if it were possible to get any better than this, I finally arrived at the back of the book to discover an accompanying instructional DVD . . . .  Underpinning all of this goodness is Daniella’s personal philosophy of creativity and authenticity in creative practise to inspire you.

As a special treat, I have the opportunity to give away a free copy of “The Encaustic Studio” to a lucky blog reader.    Leave a comment here by midnight CST on Wednesday, June 21, 2012 and we’ll enter you into a random drawing to win a free copy of Daniella Woolf’s book from Interweave! I’ll contact the winner directly and we’ll get the book shipped off to you the same week.  In addition, Cate Prato has some more giveaways on her kick-off blog post.  I do hope you will hop around and visit with the others.

Party Hop Stops:

Kicking it off: Cloth Paper Scissors Today

Meet the author: Daniella Woolf

Bianca Mandity

Bridgette Guerzon Mills

Jane Davies

Jodi Ohl

Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

Suze Weinberg

Enjoy the tour, and don’t forget to leave your comments by midnight CST on Wednesday, June 21, 2012 to win!