By David Ryan Palmer
Open Studios, Arts Benicia’s annual event showcasing the widely disparate creativity of Benicians, takes visitors into artists’ work spaces to see where the magic happens.
But it’s not like they’ll get to plunge into the process itself, right? Turns out that’s exactly what they’ll do in at least one studio, headed by Cherry Moore.
Moore will show art lovers what goes into creating a print at her studio at 940 Tyler St. Plein air painters and other artists will also be showcased there, but it’s printmaking that will let people get their hands dirty, so to speak.
Printmaking is not simply reproduction but impressions of a base plate that is used to create images, usually on paper.
The ink goes on the print, and after a process of pressing the plate down on the paper, you get the finished product, Moore said.
People who go to the exhibit will likely be included in the process, she said, through peeling off the finished print or waxing the paper.
Moore isn’t just a printmaker: She usually works with “encaustic” material, which she described as an art form originally used by the seafaring ancient Greeks.
“They’d use it to seal their ships, and then they decided to use it for decoration,” she said.
Encaustic is generally beeswax that is heated up and colored. Sometimes decorative items are added to it.
“You use a hot plate and tins of color to achieve the desired effect,” Moore said.
The texture is so pronounced that encaustic can produce almost three-dimensional effects, Moore said. Metal tools and special brushes can be used to shape the surface before it cools, and heated tools can be used to mold the wax after it hardens.
Encaustic is compatible with just about any media, except for acrylic paint.
“It doesn’t really work well with acrylic,” she said.
During Open Studios, Moore will create encaustic art for guests as well as help with printmaking.
“I use ink, and paint sticks, to create the colors in my art,” she said. “There are many different methods, many possibilities.”
And many different artists taking part in this year’s event. In addition to Moore, dozens of others on Jackson, Tyler, Lincoln and Grant streets will open up their work spaces to the public.
If You Go
Open Studios is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and again Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A map of all the artists’ studios involved can be found at the Arts Benicia Gallery, 991 Tyler St., Suite 114, or can be downloaded from artsbenicia.org/exhibitions.