To Inspire, Transform & Heal

Linda Wiggen Kraft
Creativity for the Soul

Lazy Art Days – Plaster, Paints & Wax

I’ve been busy having lazy art days.  These are days when I feel wrapped up in the present, in a flow of creativity that guides me along like a river.

I call these days lazy in that I sometimes work all day in my pajamas, don’t answer the phone, leave the dishes and the rest of the world behind.  And amazingly these lazy days are some of the most productive.

I had a purpose.  I wanted to make sure I had all the techniques and tools down for creating  plaster, paint and wax portfolio covers  for my Morning Mandalas, Meditation and Journaling workshop at The Mandala Center in New Mexico July 25 -29th.  Also I wanted to create a way to store my own mandalas in a beautiful way.

I have a collection of mandalas that are no larger than 11 x 11 inches.  These art journaling pages are created individually and not bound in a book. Here are a few of them.

These and many more mandala art journaling pages needed a home.  They needed sturdy yet beautiful portfolio covers that could hold them.
Inspired by a workshop I took with Stephanie Lee a couple of years ago I worked with the technique of plaster gauze that gets wrapped around a stiff backing – in this case 12×12 foam core board – painted and then covered in beeswax.  The top and bottom covers and mandala pages in between are are held together with ribbon, lace or string.
Above is the front of  a top portfolio piece.  The calligraphy I did many years ago, the Buddha photo is from a postcard my Dad got in Japan after WWII, and the daffodil photo is one of my flower  mandala photos.

This is the backside of the top.  All four sides -front and back of two pieces -are inspired by an e.e. cummings poem – in time of daffodils.

“in time of daffodils(who know

the goal of living is to grow)

forgetting why,remember how
in time of lilacs who proclaim

the aim of waking is to dream,

remember so(forgetting seem)
in time of roses(who amaze

our now and here with paradise)

forgetting if,remember yes
in time of all sweet things beyond

whatever mind may comprehend,

remember seek(forgetting find)
and in a mystery to be

(when time from time shall set us free)

forgetting me,remember me”

― E.E. Cummings
This is the bottom portfolio cover. This side will be on the inside touching the back of the bottom mandala art journal page.

This is the very back outside of the two portfolio covers.  The raised textured surface was created with extra plaster added.  Sort of like finger painting with thick white paint.
Of the eight sides I created, this is my favorite.  It was supposed to be the back side of the top of second set of portfolio covers I made. One of the most interesting parts for me is the little tear on the left. I didn’t like the other side and ripped off something I had done. This side also had some of the gauze ripped off. As usual this “mistake” became a very pleasant surprise.

This became the back of the top piece. It had a pocket on the bottom that I ripped off, and I like it much better.

And the bottom portfolio piece showed me what not to do. I didn’t cover the foam core with plaster gauze, just added a thin layer of plaster.  Well the plaster broke up when heating the wax.  I covered the exposed foam core with sumi ink and put wax over it.  It looks interesting, but I am not in love with it.  So now I know what to do with covering the base – add plaster gauze.

Start with a base.  I used 12 x 12 inch foam core.

Use strips of gauze embedded with plaster.  This is available at art supply stores or online.

Dip plaster gauze strips in water to moisten and soften the plaster.

Wrap around base, smoothing the plaster, but leaving texture of gauze if you like.

Add plaster of paris to surface to create more texture if desired.

Plaster has to cure for 24 hours.  It not only dries out, the chemical process to harden takes time.

When dry the plaster can be painted.  I used watercolors, glazes, oil pastels and caran d’ache water color crayons.  Once the paints are dry, beeswax can be melted and brushed on.
I melted cleaned beeswax in a electric fry pan that has a temperature control.  After the beeswax is brushed on, it is fused with the paint and plaster with a heat gun to smooth out the layer of wax.  It takes practice but the surface becomes a soft translucent seal for the art.

Sorry I don’t have photos of the waxing process. I wish the lovely honey smell and soft touch of the wax could be sent via blog.  My hope is that lazy art days can be a part of the life of all creative souls and that these photos will inspire playing with plaster, paints and wax.






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