Art shows, calls for art, etc

Do you submit your work to art shows?  I’ve been thinking about getting back into it.  I used to submit my work upon occassion …if I found a show that I really thought suited me.  Have you had any reasonable success with this?  I’ve done great for local shows but not for those big national and international calls that you see all over the place.  

They have so much promise but sometimes I feel like it’s just a big ploy to make someone some money really easily.  I mean, $35 to $50 to submit 3 pieces of work (or less)?  Nevertheless, I’m thinking of getting back to submitting my work but only for the shows that I feel have merit to them.  And I want to build up my portfolio a little bit more.  Most of the time, I feel like I should be making a specific piece for each show but it would be nice to have a stock to pick items from.

Do you submit your work?  What resources do you use to find calls for art?  I know about and and several others– what do you use?
Red Flower in Antique Glass Jar
Digital TTV Photograph

Painting with wax- whatcha want to know?

I’ve been working hard on writing a tutorial about painting with wax.  I have the introductory ‘course’ written already and some other subjects like using images, embedding objects, etc.  What would you want to learn about?  If you’re experienced already or just wondering about encaustic painting…what would you want to know?

Are there specific skills that you’d like to learn?  Any questions that have been wracking your brain?  Let me know!
Post here or email me at jamieribisi{at}
I’d love to know so that I can be as thorough as possible!  I have a focus group reading my draft right now and am loving their comments!

Color me happy

I made some more encaustic paint samples last night and am loving the enhanced colors.  I wanted to add some more vibrance to them and am so happy with the results! I have some more color lines I’m thinking of making– how can I find more hours in the day?  I think I’ve exhausted all the workable hours I can find.  But it feels good to keep busy so on I go!  If I could only figure out how to hand make time.  Hmmmm.

But back to the paint… I’ve had so many people write to me that they are looking to try encaustics and that makes me SO happy!  I assure each and every one of them that they are quickly going to become addicted.  It’s very true– ask any encaustic painter you know! Making these paint cakes is really a great time consumer of mine because, as I posted about the other day, I love to mix colors.  Would it be weird to confess that I want to kiss that blue color? Maybe it would.  If so, pretend I didn’t write that!

After the art has left the nest…

Today I received the most wonderful email from Samatha in Toronto.  She had purchased a watercolor painting of mine some time ago and was holding onto it until she could figure out the right home for it.  As she wrote to me, 

I finally have your piece framed and hung. I took me forever. Last spring I carried it around in my diaper bag for 3 months and went to 3 different frame shops. Then I was looking through a closet and found an old vintage frame and print and I had long ago stored away. It’s perfect! The frame has a great old-fashioned feel to it that compliments the classic style of the nude. It’s a deep brown wood with very sublte gold leafing. I have it hung in my dining room, where it looks great and has received many compliments. I bought your painting as a gift to myself shortly after the birth of my son.”

I love to hear stories of where my art goes to live after it leaves my studio and it’s very refreshing to learn that this piece has ended up in such a nice loving home where it will be cared for and enjoyed!  Thank you so much, Samantha, and thank you for letting me share your story!  Best wishes to your family!!

Artists I Admire- Adam Junior

3.5‘ x 2.5′ x 3’
Resin, clay bricks, tin
by Adam Junior

I’ve been friends with Adam for many years.  We became friends when we were both teaching art classes at The Huntington School of Fine Arts in NY.  He was (and still is) the sculpture guru- and with good reason!  His imagination is really something to admire and his enthusiasm for sculpting is contagious.  It was always a treat to eavesdrop while he was one-on-one with a student and hacking away at their clay sculptures.
The best part was watching how he applied what he was preaching to his own work.  Anyone that teaches knows that your advice to your students weighs heavily on your own work.  One sentiment from him that I remember  was to keep chasing the vision and to never let the sculpture win– the artist is always in control.
I have the distinct honor of being Adam’s webmaster which means that I have the first chance of seeing his sculptures before he releases them into the world.  This newest piece pictured above, ‘Studio’, really grabbed me and I keep coming back to it, zooming in, and imagine being inside this tower as it’s flailing around.  I feel this turbulence in my own studio and in my head but I have to remind myself that it’s on a solid foundation– no matter how crazy it looks, it’s solid and will hold me up.  I’m not sure if that’s what Adam intended with this piece but that’s the nice thing about art; you bring your own emotions and baggage to the trip.  And our ideas are golden as long as we enjoy the ride.

Mixing colors

This morning my friend asked me to make her a custom color of encaustic paint- Robin’s Egg Blue!  I love mixing custom colors and couldn’t wait to come home and give it a whirl.  I used my white encaustic medium and mixed in some ultramarine blue, titanium white, a custom yellow mix and natural encaustic medium for that slight hint of green.  I’m not sure if there’s anything I love more about painting than mixing my own colors!

I honestly spent my entire senior year of college enthralled with my palette.  I barely produced any paintings of note but I had a love affair with color and am happy that I did so!  Now I look at an object, evaluate it,  and daydream about blending the right colors to compliment what nature has created.  Hopefully I’m doing some justice to Mama Nature along the way!
Thanks, Pam, for making my day!

Thoughts on colors and why we are drawn to them

Today I had the extreme pleasure of visiting a yurt!  We’ve been dying to get one (or twenty) for our backyard — yurts in the hayfield!  There is a clear dome window at the top which lets in the most beautiful natural light!  It would really make such a perfect studio setting; fantastic even lighting and plenty of room to spread out all my art supplies!  Oh that would simply be heaven!

Inside this yurt that I visited was a beautiful yarn shop with wonderful hand dyed yarn.  The color range was endless and the combinations exquisite!  (Read more about the visit here) This got me thinking… what colors are you naturally drawn to?

My sister and I kept picking up skeins and shouting “Isn’t this perfect?!” and then our reply would be “Oh, those are your colors, they really suit you.”  Mine are coppers, olive greens, and cranberries– and yes, I do surround myself with these colors in my art and in my life.  I am really drawn to muted jewel tones, they give me a feeling of calm and sensitivity while still being vibrant.  I think this describes my personality to a T.  I don’t look for these things, I’m just naturally drawn to them.
What are your colors and why are you drawn to them?

My husband is obsessed with yurts- that’s his drawing at the top of this post:

Three Yurts, by Brian Braley
17″ x 11″
India ink on watercolor paper

Available in my
Etsy Shop

Looking closer- Ghosts of the Past 2, Encaustic Painting

Ghosts of the Past 2
Encaustic, embedded Photograph, & Grass on found wood

9.5″ x 9″

September 2008

Available in my Etsy Shop or through

Looking closer- a brief exploration of art:

This painting incorporates the technique of embedding objects in the wax. The grass and the photograph are both embedded and it’s a pretty simple task!

First, I fused one layer of encaustic onto my substrate and fused it. Then I brushed encaustic medium onto the back of the image and a little bit on the area that it was heading to live and smooshed them together real fast. Using a flat tool, I got all of the air bubbles out and then layered another bit of medium on top of the image. Fuse and repeat the layers of medium until satisfied with the result.

The grass is done in a similar manner but takes a bit of adjusting the blades because they are so small and 
fragile. Embedding natural objects into wax is really fun because the material will change as it adjusts to the heat and to the wax. They tend to brown and dry out slightly as they sit in the pool of molten wax. Just like nature– you never know what’s going to happen and that’s the best part of encaustic painting– in my world, anyway!

If you liked my little behind the scenes venture into painting, keep following my blog for the “Looking closer” series and learn what I do, how I do it, and why!

For the encaustic dreamers, I will also be creating a tutorial that will give you detailed in-depth tips, tricks, & techniques with lots of technical info so that you will feel safe and armed with the knowledge to feel comfortable creating your own beeswax art! I’ll post it here once it’s ready for sale (& some freebie opportunities, too!)

Roots #1 – new encaustic painting

Roots #1
Encaustic, Image Transfer, & Oil Pastel on Cradled Panel
8″ x 8″ (20.32 cm x 20.32 cm)
January 2009

Now available in my
Etsy Shop or through

The idea for “Roots #1” came from a painting trade that I did with the Etsy Beeswax Team. Our theme
 was ‘sharing’ and I had just started using tree imagery in my work. I loved the thought of a set of trees sharing roots together; living off the nutrients that they were sharing with each other. Much like being a member of a team!

The image of the tree is a transfer of one of my photographs onto the encaustic. These are trees from my backyard that I stare at from my studio window.  The roots are carved into the wax with a tool, revealing the color of the board and wax underneath.  I love drawing into the wax this way– just like painting with wax, you never know what’s going to happen!

I’ve also just started painting on Masters Baroque panels and they are so silky smooth to paint on– I’m so loving these and Brian is loving them, too, because that means he doesn’t have to help me build my own!  They are affordable, great quality, and come in many square sizes!  I love being a square 🙂


Welcome to my new blog!

My plan for 2009 is to bring you some great art tutorials, tips & tricks, share my work in progress, finished pieces, and favorite artists & crafters!
The project I’m currently working on is a tutorial on painting with encaustic.  You can see some teaser pics here and also a sneak peek at my newest painting- a 2 for 1 peek!
Looking forward to sharing my love of art with all my friends, readers, & fellow artists!