by Robyn Child Cole
Very early on the morning of September 1, 1984, two months before my 30th birthday, I walked out of jail. I had called my parents to come pick me up and they were there waiting, (who does that? who calls their parents?) both mother and father looking at me with a mixture of horror and disappointment. How could their straight-A daughter wind up in jail on a drunk driving charge? What should they do with me now?
We drove to my apartment in silence. I mumbled my thanks, went in, poured myself a glass of wine and went to bed. I lay there, contemplating what had just happened and the dark turn my life had taken over the past 10 years. My mind reviewed the contents of my medicine cabinet to see if there was anything in the house I could take to permanently end the misery I was in.
That thought scared the crap out of me. That it had gotten to the point where I would even think about suicide.
I hit an emotional bottom that morning. From that low, through a series of honest, real conversations with trusted friends, I made my way to sobriety. One month later, on October 8, my “real life” began, my transformation.
In the 30-plus years since I haven't taken a drink or a drug. My life has transformed. My way of living in sobriety has given me the courage to live the life I once only dreamt of.
I met my husband, another gift of sobriety, when I was 6 years sober. In 2011, when I was 56, and 26 years sober, we took early retirement. After decades as a successful graphic designer and marketing communications director in the mad-paced Southern California business landscape, I wanted to turn my attention to fine art — a lifelong passion. My husband and I moved to Central America and I began my art career. Wonderously, recognition and sales took off. After seven years, in January of 2018, seeking a larger market, we moved here, to beautiful San Miguel de Allende, Mexico's art colony and wedding capital.
Living the Dream
Part of my process is to be an autobiographical artist, trying to present the concept of transformations not only in my life, but also suggesting it in the lives of others: do we think, seriously, about how we choose to live our lives? do we stop self destructive behavior? do we accept a job offer that takes us out of our comfort zone? do we move to another country to experience a richer, fuller life?
Those are concepts I’ve been exploring in my series called “Authentic Lives” and am further exploring in my new series called “Distant Dreams”. Paintings from both of these series are featured in my show beginning February 2nd at Galeria San Francisco at the Fabrica La Aurora.
Part of my autobiography is to present the colors of my surroundings. The colors of San Miguel are dramatic, varied and intense. It is through the mediums of encaustic as well as cold wax/oil that I am able to present these.
Currently, as a painter in the contemporary and abstract style, I am also a process artist. I invite people to experience the process of the work: to see every stroke, every mark, every color choice, every line. Process, materials and physical qualities are what speaks to me. Both the encaustic and cold wax/oil paint mediums allow me to present that visual history to my viewers.
Encaustic uses hot beeswax melted with resin and color pigments to form the paint. I apply many layers of the hot, molten paint on a wood support, fusing each layer to the underlying one with a torch or heat gun. This produces a painting that can never fade, since the colors are permanently locked in the wax/resin. Encaustic is fluid, which allows my message to subtly change as I'm creating it. The luminosity of the medium allows for a painting with many layers, evoking many stories and inviting touch. Viewers become much more involved with a painting that can be touched, in additon to their visually enjoying the sensual experience of encaustic.
Featured in my February show is this “End of the Day”, from the Distant Dreams series. (Encaustic on cradled wood panel, 24”h x 36”w):
In the cold wax technique pellets of beeswax are mixed with natural solvents to create a "mayonnaise-like" consistency. This cold wax is then mixed with pigments to achieve a cake frosting-type of consistency. It's fun, sensual and joyous.
Cold wax allows for more time to to explore, change and complete my message. Because its drying time is a bit longer than encaustic, I am allowed the freedom to try new techniques and develop new directions. I can work in a series of paintings and after a couple of hours can return to the first painting to add more layers. It’s a wonderfully luscious medium to add to my oil painting and allows me to work fast and freely.
Featured in my February show is this “Ancha de San Antonio”, from the Authentic Lives series. (Cold wax on cradled wood panel, 36”h x 36”w):
Both encaustic and cold wax media take me on elaborate, colorful journeys. I invite you to view this journey with me at Galería San Francisco located at Fabrica La Aurora. The gallery is located on the far parking lot near the entrance to the duck pond.
I teach both encaustic and cold wax/oil via 2-day workshops at Galería San Francisco’s new teaching facility, part of the gallery’s expanded space at Fabrica La Aurora.
For more information:
contact me - firstname.lastname@example.org
or call the gallery - 415 152 6699
or click for more information -
Robyn Child Cole is an internationally collected, award-winning mixed media artist, currently working in encaustic and cold wax/oil. When she isn't finding ways to live life fully and authentically, she is also a teaching and exhibiting artist, exclusively represented by Galleria San Francisco in Fabrica La Aurora in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
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