recent paintings and news

recent paintings and news

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


When I paint into sky it is the culmination of what was and what is to become that engages me. In all these years of sky-painting, Joni Mitchell’s words to ‘Amelia’ still resonate in my heart and mind.

March, Remains of the Day
oil/wax on canvas
18x30in, 2011

This is painted on a surface that was primed fairly thickly with molten beeswax and dammar resin. I smoothed it by burning in with heat, then, when cool, polished to harden it. I make my own cold wax medium to control the consistency and purity—using eco-friendly turps, beeswax, and linseed /stand oil of varying strengths. I will polish the painting when it is completely dry to give it a luminous glow and add more depth. I have a hard time photographing encaustic work or work painted with cold wax anyway, so I do it prior to this final process, trying to cut down on the ___glare! I am not too happy with the colours and digital noise on this image so looks like I will have to re-shoot regardless.

On an inspiring note I saw a red-winged blackbird today! Yay! And I’m so jazzed that we have more light in our days—things are good

*keep reading for poem and video


I was driving across the burning desert
When I spotted six jet planes
Leaving six white vapor trails across the bleak terrain
It was the hexagram of the heavens
It was the strings of my guitar
Amelia, it was just a false alarm

The drone of flying engines
Is a song so wild and blue
It scrambles time and seasons if it gets thru to you
Then your life becomes a travelogue
Of picture-post-card-charms
Amelia, it was just a false alarm

People will tell you where they’ve gone
They’ll tell you where to go
But till you get there yourself you never really know
Where some have found their paradise
Other’s just come to harm
Oh amelia, it was just a false alarm

I wish that he was here tonight
It’s so hard to obey
His sad request of me to kindly stay away
So this is how I hide the hurt
As the road leads cursed and charmed
I tell amelia, it was just a false alarm

A ghost of aviation
She was swallowed by the sky
Or by the sea, like me she had a dream to fly
Like icarus ascending
On beautiful foolish arms
Amelia, it was just a false alarm

Maybe I’ve never really loved
I guess that is the truth
I’ve spent my whole life in clouds at icy altitude
And looking down on everything
I crashed into his arms
Amelia, it was just a false alarm

I pulled into the cactus tree motel
To shower off the dust
And I slept on the strange pillows of my wanderlust
I dreamed of 747s
Over geometric farms
Dreams, amelia, dreams and false alarms

Joni Mitchell



  1. Beautiful work Jan, I especially like the way the sky is standing out above the landscape and the light on those clouds gives an almost three dimensional feel to it. What attracted you to working in the wax medium, is it a new working method or could Van Gogh and the folk from the past have used similar methods? thank you for sharing the song.

  2. Thank you Jan, I'm all choked up over that video. I've only just discovered Joni Mitchell. I mean really discovered her. Youtube I guess. She's truly gifted and brilliant musician. The painting is wonderful, and thanks for the technicals. That polishing technique is interesting. I did that with my gouache paintings for the same reasons. Do you have Photoshop? I came up with a very cool, simple way to photograph large shiny [or any] art. Let me know if you're interested. B)

  3. WonderfulWorkGoodCreations:)