Project Description

 Floral Photo Encaustic Workshop

Instructor: Leah Macdonald

Days/Dates/Times (2023):

  • Friday, April 14, Meet & Greet (Exhibition Opening) 5-7 p.m. / Artist Talk 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 15, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 16, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Length: Meet & Greet/Artist Talk + 2 day/6 hours each day workshop

Class Fee: $350 OCAF Members/$400 Non-members

Materials Fee: $60

Ages: 14+

Level: Beginner to Advanced (All!)

Location: OCAF’s School Street Studios building / Lower classroom


Workshop Description:

Join Leah Macdonald for an intensive and captivating immersion into the art of encaustic painting and collage, as well as techniques of floral photography. Students will layer photographs taken in class with mixed media and encaustic to create beautiful one-of-a-kind artwork.

Workshop Outline

April 14, Friday Evening:

  • Meet & Greet at the Gallery
  • Opening reception 5-7 pm

April 15, Saturday (10am-4pm):

  • Photography session with a floral theme and guest florist
  • Discussion: lighting, photographic equipment (from digital SLR to iPhone), composition tips, styling the photograph, background ideas, making interesting flower photographs
  • Break for Lunch – 1 hour
  • Photography editing demonstration by Leah: how to convert digital photos to black and white for painting, cropping, contrast and picking photographs
  • Photo printing for each participant
  • Attaching photos to substrates: demonstration by Leah
  • Discussion: collage ideas and techniques, using found images, wallpaper, prints made from gelli plates and magazines, old letters as additions to base collages
  • Work Period – 1 hour

April 16, Sunday (10am-4pm):

  • Waxing demonstration by Leah– using wax medium to coat the photos and using stencils of botanicals to add texture and depth, also embedding magazine images into the wax
  • Work Period – 1 hour
  • Lunch Break- 1 hour
  • Demonstration by Leah: adding encaustic paint, fusing and scraping
  • Work Period – 1 hour
  • Final demonstration by Leah — Painting the surface with pigment sticks to show off the encaustic painting and make the painting come together, using the pigment sticks to pop the flowers and create a painting
  • Work Period – 1 hour
  • Final wrap up – including a share of artwork made by each student
Click Here to Register for the Floral Encaustic Workshop
InstructorLeah Macdonald
My work has included flowers in some way for over 20 years. I started photography in high school and became passionate about the darkroom and analog film processing. I was inspired by the red lights, trays, and magic of creating imagery with light and chemicals. For years I connected and worked in various forms of photography, book making, painting and collage. I discovered beeswax in college. I was experimenting and trying to find an original voice – something that transformed my photographs beyond the reality of subject matter to a more ethereal, intuitive place or maybe a dream.

In the last 10 years flowers have grown to become a stronger element and inspiration in my work. I have a poem from my childhood that is about flowers. I have a personal love and affection for their beauty and strength and fragility. I often focus on the dualities of life, good/bad, light/dark. It is in these contrasts that I can best express my creativity. Flowers have dualities; they are transformational and a true metaphor for life. In some of my previous bodies of work the flowers were connected to or surrounding women, in their hands, on the heads, attached to their clothing. I was describing our intense need to connect with nature for spiritual and mental health. Also, a deep love for beauty.

My new work for this show is just the photographs of flowers embedded in this intense process I have created over the years. Every year my work evolves as I become technically more proficient with the medium of encaustic. I have pushed the boundaries of how to photograph flowers. My process is a complicated dance of painting, fusing and scraping in a rhythm that can repeat. The beeswax and flower photographs intertwine in so many beautiful ways expressing the wonders of nature, the beauty of color and the sensuality of both subject and process.