Artist & Writer

Nicole Pakan


    Tales from the Hive: V1-4 Asphalt

    One of the things I admire about Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch is her bravery. Over the course of her encaustic career she has taken experimentation to whole new levels. She has made it her life’s work to reach, teach and inspire those around her, and share her experiences with her students and peers.  

    One example I’d like to talk about today is incorporating atypical materials into art. In this example, Trish took asphalt patching medium (that’s right, the stuff you’d use to repair a leaky roof) and used it with her encaustic—with rich results.

    This medium is water based asphalt, with sandy inclusions, and has a rich brown hue when it dries. You can use it as a base layer, or between layers of wax. You can smear it, rub it into tool marks, or trowel it on in textured peaks. Here are some examples of how I have started working with asphalt.





  • Tales from the Hive: V1-3: Intuitive Painting

    When I attend workshops, I try to force myself to explore and not revert back to things that I already feel like I do well. My objective is not to leave with finished pieces, but to explore the facets of the medium I’m working with.

    One workshop that I took a lot away from is Attune and Release with Amanda Jolley. Intuitive painting is, in Amanda’s words, a process where you lay down the paint — colours you’re drawn to — with no expectations, no judgement, only joy. I think it will be particularly useful when I’m feeling stuck, when I don’t like where a piece is going, and want to move in a new direction. It’s also a really relaxing process where I can just let my mind wander and not worry about achieving a particular look or feel.

    A key component of the workshop was to take photographs with a digital camera after each application of paint. This provides a really interesting glimpse into the evolution of the painting.

    The photo documentation helped me to be brave and to overcome the reluctance I usually feel about covering something that I like. With some pieces I can’t bring myself to keep painting for fear that I may not like what follows. But holding back can limit the potential of the painting. With this process, I became confident that I could recall and recreate an element in the paintings’ journey, even when it is no longer visible by the end.

    I’d like to share the journey of one painting that had a strong beginning, and ugly middle, and a very pleasing end. If I let myself become too attached at the start, I would have taken this in an entirely different direction. It would have been safer, but would not have yielded this kind of dynamic result.







    Tales from the Hive: V1-2: Dye

    Dye has been used in textiles from as far back as 2600 BC. My newly discovered and now favorite dye Indigo has a long and illustrious history. Prior to the rise of overseas trading, it was considered a rare luxury pigment in some parts of the world. Since the middle ages, it has been used widely in Asia, Europe and Africa. Perhaps Indigo’s biggest claim to fame is a good old pair of blue jeans, although now those snazzy denims are coloured with synthetics instead.  

    One of the things I enjoyed most at my encaustic retreat this year is my experimentation with dyes. I was surprized to learn that a healthy vat of indigo is alive with fermentation — the dark bubbly yeast blooms are what give us the rich blue we so enjoy. We must be careful to not deplete the vat, but with a little manipulation, the blooms can create some extremely interesting patterns on a substrate.

    I don't have much in the way of finished pieces to share, but I have number of paths to explore and am excited to see just where this interesting element can take me.


  • Tales from the Hive: V1-1

    One of my favorite times of year is an encaustic retreat that I attend just outside of Seattle at a place called Dumas Bay. Before I discovered Encausticamp, I had never in my life had the pleasure of spending a week with such a welcoming, inspiring and downright awesome group of people. Although the attendance shifts from year to year, the collaborative and supportive culture does not. I am lucky to have found my tribe—even if it crosses time zones and vast distances, and I only see these folks in person once per year.

    But what do you do there? you might ask. The focus of the week is encaustic…anything and everything that can be used in conjunction with this dynamic medium. This year I attended workshops that encouraged experimentation with dye, tar, combustibles, resin, and intuitive painting. I also had the benefit of taking a strategic planning session that will help me grow my art career.

    Over the next week I will share some snap shots of my week in the hive.

  • Buffing, Framing, & Quietly Freaking Out

    Well, at least the first two are true. The third is more like waffling between complete confidence and last minute panic about getting all of my work prepped and ready to go for Art Walk. Last night I took a visual inventory and was pretty happy about how everything looks so far — the pieces that have been cleaned up and are ready to go out on the town. I have also been photographing my new work, so it will be appearing a few pieces at a time on my website and various social media. 

    Now if only the weather would cooperate…fingers crossed!