IEA Newsletter - April 2013
Chris Paschke, Artist, Tehachapi CA
Art has always been a part of me. My great grandfather was a stone carver, my father an electrotyper turned custom picture framer, and I'm second cousin to renowned Chicago contemporary abstract artist Ed Paschke. When my father died over thirty years ago I was advised to keep the money making picture framing portion of the family art supply business because "artists always need frames"…so I did. With a degree in Creative Arts and Design and a passion for using the written word as subject matter I established Designs Ink a calligraphic design and custom framing studio in Redding CA in 1980.
During college I was first inspired by the perfection of gilded manuscripts and the Book of Kells, but my structural calligraphy was set free post college when studying with contemporary master calligraphers as David Howells, Karlgeorg Hoefer and Gottfried Pott (Brown Tao I). The calligraphic aspects in the works of Kline, Gottlieb, Pollock and Motherwell moved me more into the abstract expressionist genre (Hidden Falls)…and I dearly love the Chinese masters of the spontaneous style. So my eclectic style melded of all of them, sometimes more calligraphic other times more abstract, frequently with an Asian flair (Chinese Bulbul).
Brown Tao I, 15x15"
Mixed media paper collage, ink gouache, graphite and 24ct gold leaf
Hidden Falls, 15x15"
Mixed media of gesso, gouache, watercolor and ink
Chinese Bulbul, 10x10"
Mixed media of gesso, ink and Chinese watercolor
I prefer to create the essence of an image over that of realism. From the moment I saw my first contemporary encaustic painting with all its translucence and depth, the medium spoke to me. After two cancelled R&F workshops (California and New York) I finally began my new life in wax with a two-day Rodney Thompson workshop in 2007, who launched my passion for embedding into wax while achieving a smooth, glasslike surface (Embedded Fortune).
Embedded Fortune, 12x12"
Medium with embedded original brush written Chinese characters on mulberry paper, on birch panel in gilded float frame.
Inspirational Water, 15x22"
Mixed media of black and walnut ink, resist and encaustic on paper
Born in Chicago and having lived and all over California, I relocated my life and business to Connecticut in 1990 and shortly after was signed with Wild Apple Graphics, Woodstock, Vermont as a print and licensing artist for wall décor. I am currently also working with Grand Image, Inc; Sagebrush Publishing; Editions Limited; and Artaissance, an online print-on-demand company. Designing wall décor is far different than painting for a gallery. As a wall décor artist you are taught to "paint for the beige ladies in Kansas" and create decorative wall art and pattern design that will appeal to the masses, sold in big box stores across the nation. Birds, flowers and calligraphic sayings are often the assignment for the day, and since encaustic pieces--that may be fabulous in person--do not necessarily photograph well, I revel in the delight of preparing exhibition shows where I can create anything. Such was my recent invitational solo show for Tehachapi Valley Arts Association (TVAA) in the heart of historic Tehachapi, CA.
Reception photo 1
Once the techniques are explained, viewers better appreciate the originals.
Reception photo 2
Part of selling your art is working it at the reception.
In preparation for the show I played with the moving and pushing of multiple layers of opaque wax with a torch. What I love most about wax is the predictable--yet unpredictable--nature of the medium. Knowing how to manipulate the wax yet it forever having a mind of its own. The wonderful repetitious tide lines in After Sunset and the woman who emerged from beneath the wax in Spirit Within were not expected yet very welcomed.
After Sunset , 6x6"
Many opaque layers accented with oil stick.
Spirit Within, 6x6"
Encaustic on 8-ply rag board, #2 from nine-up series.
From this collaboration is where my latest show was born. My favorite is the nine-up series of small abstracted landscapes of layered encaustic on 8-ply rag board panels, all designed to stand alone--yet become a unit in presentation by being the same size, in the same frames, and using the same base color palette. Mountain Meadows has a cool icy feel almost that of a glacier, again unplanned accept for the layering of indigo opaque low on the panel and nearly pure titanium between. The show has been a great success and I cannot wait to begin preparing for the next.
Mountain Meadows, 6x6"
Encaustic on 8-ply rag board, #7 from nine-up series
Bridge To Nowhere, 6x6"
Encaustic on 8-ply rag board, #9 from nine-up series
My style will forever echo the elements that have influenced me over the years. Bridge To Nowhere may have the feel of Franz Kline but is a true Paschke. Bold calligraphic marks will never be far below my surface. Every step in one's life brings us to where we are today, and I wouldn't change a thing.
Chris Paschke is an accomplished calligrapher and artist with her most recent exhibition at Tehachapi Valley Arts Association, Tehachapi CA. She remains an active member/artist of International Encaustic Artists; Friends of Calligraphy, San Francisco, CA; Sumi-e Society of America; and Fine Art Trade Guild (UK), teaching, writing, and creating. She's a professional artist, writes monthly columns for trade magazines, teaches framing to framers, and yes…she is the professional framer who writes your monthly column Framing Matters.
Tehachapi, CA 93561
Encaustic pieces from Chris's current show at TVAA may be viewed at www.DesignsInkArt.com/encaustics.htm