The best part of being an art instructor is professional development; learning a new art form, acquiring a new technique. Not only do these serve as new tools to pass on to our students but, maybe (if we’re lucky), new forms of self expression.

Artmania hires art instructors that not only teach art, but live it, breath it and revel in learning more! Over a week ago, we had encaustic artist Katrina Stock in our studio. She lead a workshop for the staff at artmania; revealing the secrets of encaustic painting (painting with hot beeswax and coloured pigments onto a surface).

img_1719If you read my previous blog post about Katrina Stock, you’ll understand my excitement. Katrina’s art pieces grace artmania’s walls and sparked my curiosity in encaustic work. I was thrilled to be spending an afternoon with her and the rest of artmania’s staff, experimenting with this new form of art. It was not as easy as it may look.

Katrina walked us through the different types of pigment mediums, the art of layering the wax, and the different effects that can be established with mixed media; using tissue paper, natural cloth and stencils.

I followed Katrina’s lead (as did we all); began to transfer images from my younger days in Montreal. And the more I played with the wax and pigments, I was aware of the vulnerability I carved into my piece. It was not a bright and lovely piece.

“Most of the time one is discouraged by the work, but now and again by some grace something stands out and invites you to work on it, to elaborate it or animate it in some way. It’s a mysterious process.” Leonard Cohen

And so, using encaustic as a new form of expression, I carved my pain into the wax. Living with chronic pain for some time, I can no longer pretend to erase it from my work, my life. I lay out my vulnerability.

And only days later, I realized how timely it was; a foreshadowing of the death of Montreal’s Patron Saint, Leonard Cohen.

Was I feeling sorry for myself?  Can you hear Cohen whispering from his Book of Longing, the beginning of the prose, If I could Help You :

“If I could help you buddy, I would

I really would

I’d pray for you….”

Pain showed itself as I worked, but I moved around it, aware of my limitations.

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”. Leonard Cohen


blog post written by Domenica Mastromatteo