Category Archives: Uncategorized

Back in the Studio

With a new year come new opportunities. I’m excited to have re-activated my studio after wrapping up an intensive Masters degree in Arts Administration in December, 2013. My studio is located at the Manitou Art Center in Manitou Springs, Colorado. I am happy to have visitors so just ask or stop by during open hours. The Manitou Art Center is a multi-use space with full printmaking, ceramics, and mixed-media studios, as well as a maker space and multiple galleries.

Up next is a solo show opening Friday, March 6, 2015 at the Commons Gallery under the Colorado Avenue bridge. It is exciting to be creating and showing work again and pushing my practice forward as an artist.


Here are some images of work in progress – india ink and encaustic on panel with mixed media and transfer. Happy New Year!mcconnell-workinprogress3 mcconnell-workingprogress2 McConnell-hands-workinprogress1


What’s New?

Thanks to an exciting new position at the Galleries of Contemporary Art at UCCS (I started as co-Director last August) I have been pouring my energies into curating, managing, and co-directing other people’s art.  I love this field of work–always new ideas to develop, interesting artists to work with, new work to be exposed to, and new skills to learn.  Curating is an art form in and of itself, as is fundraising, exhibition design, event coordination, and all the other aspects that make up a great job in the arts.

In the past year as well I have been accepted into the Master’s in Public Administration program at UCCS and have already been taking classes (it’s like an MBA in the Non-Profit field).  Again, new challenges and all the rewards that come with that.

All this is to say that I have slowed down my studio practice considerably, though I hope to maintain it while working full time and pursuing a Master’s degree.  I have a terrific studio and hope to be working towards a new exhibit in the next six months to year.  I have also put my workshop teaching schedule on hiatus–there just aren’t enough hours in the day!

I am still primarily an encaustic painter and hope to continue to explore new ideas, posting those here as I can.  Thank you for your patience and you can always see my newest work on my facebook page:

Summer 2010 Workshops!

I’m teaching two workshops this summer at the Bemis School of Art in Colorado Springs (part of the venerable Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and a truly lovely space in which to teach and take a class).

One is an all around intro class (perfect for all levels really) and the second is an intermediate class, in which those with encaustic painting experience will be encouraged to push beyond their previous experience.

Dates and Descriptions:

Encaustic Painting
Learn the ancient art of painting with Encaustic (Beeswax) medium. Suited for beginners through experienced artists, the workshop will cover all the basics of painting with Encaustic, including creating your own encaustic paint, painting and moving the wax around with heat and tools, layering collage elements, drawing into encaustic, metal leafing, photocopy transfers and more! Each participant will be provided with four birch plywood panels and all encaustic materials and tools. There will be a
$25 materials fee payable to the instructor on the first day of class. Ages 16-Adult

AYW114 McConnell $158 (Members $143)
Sat & Sun 6/12-6/13 10:00am-4:00pm

Intermediate Encaustic Painting
Do you have some experience with Encaustic Painting and want to take your work to the next level? This two-day workshop will review the basics of working with molten beeswax and pigments while exploring advanced techniques in more depth. Work in a series to push exploration of your ideas and skills. There will be a $30 materials fee payable to the instructor
on the first day of class for supplies including six panels in various sizes. Ages 16-Adult

AYW124 McConnell $158 (Members $143)
Sat & Sun 7/17-7/18 10:00am-4:00pm

Classes fill fast!  Registrations are now being accepted from the general public:

I hope to see you at one of my classes this summer, I guarantee you will learn a lot about the ancient art of encaustic painting!

Encaustic Paintings 2009

Domus #3, Encaustic and collage on panel, 24x24". 2009.

Domus #2, Encaustic and collage on panel.  24×24″, 2009.

Encaustographis, installation at Smokebrush Gallery

Encaustographis: Gallery Talk Video

ENCAUSTOGRAPHIS, Smokebrush Gallery, May 2009


Encaustic Painting–What is it?

Encaustic (Beeswax) Painting—F.A.Q.

Will an encaustic painting melt?
It would take intense direct heat to damage an encaustic painting, but subzero temperatures cause the wax to become brittle and can lead to cracking. Really you should not leave an encaustic painting in direct sunlight or intense cold, because extreme temperatures can damage any fine painting.

·         Because I add Damar Resin to my beeswax, this makes it a true encaustic medium.  The addition of about 10% resin gives the wax a hardness and higher melting temperature (around 200 degrees).

Can I touch the surface of an encaustic painting?
You should never touch the surface of a piece of fine art but if you do, make sure your hands are clean. I usually have other mediums worked into the painting or on the surface (dry pigment, oil pastel, oil paint) and touching could mar or damage the painting’s surface.

What kind of finish do you use on an encaustic painting?
I apply no finish, but seal the final layer with an even blast from the heat gun I use to set each layer of wax.

How many encaustic layers do you apply?
Depending on the mood and feel of the painting, I might apply two or three layers, or ten to twelve, or more.

Can you mix other mediums with the wax?
I often mix in dry pigments, oil pastel or oil paint for pigment. I often use the wax as a base and then apply other mediums in layers, often interspersed with layers of wax. 

Where can I read more about encaustic painting?
The Art of Encaustic Painting, by Joanne Mattera, is a comprehensive book on encaustic painting techniques—I highly recommend it.

Is Encaustic Painting a new medium?

Encaustic is considered one of the most ancient painting mediums in the world. Its oldest recorded use is the famous Fayum portraits painted on tombs from Roman Egypt around 100-350 A.D.  It has enjoyed a recent revival in popularity among artists and patrons.

How do you paint with beeswax?

When I am ready to paint, I melt the encaustic medium and add pigment in tins sitting on griddles on my studio table. I use a brush to paint the encaustic onto a panel, which lies horizontally on my table so that the melted wax doesn’t run. I paint swiftly, often only a few strokes at a time, for the wax cools very quickly.  After I’ve applied a layer to the panel, I use a heat gun to reheat the wax, smoothing the surface a bit and bonding the new layer to the one below. I continue to build up layers of wax with pigment added, heating it after each layer with the heat gun. This layering lends an ethereal quality that is part of the appeal of an encaustic painting. In some paintings I add other materials—paper, fabric, twigs—to create a collage effect. Some paintings have 10 or more layers of wax; others are more gestural in feel and involve less layering.  I paint on hardboard panels so that these layers of wax don’t crack with movement as they would on stretched canvas.