Archive for 2009

Hems and Haws

While I was painting my last few oil paintings, I had this canvas on the side of my easel as a way to work out the random ideas in my head and also as a way to use up the excess paint on my palette. I really hate to be wasteful with paint (it costs so much!) so in an effort to squeeze every cent of worth out of my paint, I usually create something that's a bit of a departure. And quite freeing, too!

Occasionally when I paint, I try to think about how the piece will fit in with the body of work that I've already created. I think about it all being linear and telling a story together. This is fine, but sometimes I think the work will find a way to fit itself in just from the sheer virtue of being from the same artist. This may not always be the way that things work out, but it's ok to open yourself up to experimentation and see where that goes. Right? :)

Hems and Haws
Oil on Canvas
20 x 20"
July 2009

New drawings/paintings...They Were Standing in the Shadows Watching

After some thinking, asking, & experimenting....I've finished some drawings/paintings on paper (I never know what to call them-- what do you say?) of an image I've had in my head for a while. These are each 15 x 15" on thick watercolor paper. I started with a charcoal base which I then over painted with white acrylic. The mixture of the white and the charcoal produced the grays and I then drew into it with a stick of graphite.

I was so happy with these that I also did a large drawing and then translated the imagery to encaustic paintings--- I'll post pictures of those soon!

Will be available on my website soon!

Website updated!

I finished upgrading my website! I'm so excited to finally unveil it. I've been working very hard and trying to figure out exactly what I wanted for it and, well, here it is!!! Please take a look and let me know what you think-- I'd love some feedback:

New paintings

(On the Verge; Encaustic, Oil Pastel, & Charcoal; 4" x 4")
I've been looking to create some new paintings to enter into the First Annual Autumn Arts Painting Challenge & Competition on Facebook led by some pretty awesome ladies/artists. Really got me thinking about creating imagery free of collage-- I wanted these paintings to be pure creation- just as the Fall is. I started with this tiny block in order to experiment with some new (to me) ideas. I wanted to use oil pastels directly on the hot plate and then mix some encaustic medium into it. This creates a very rich color that is a nice thickness. I fused it into the encaustic painting and it's interesting to see how differently it moves than just regular encaustic paint. For the specks, I crushed up some charcoal and embedded it into the painting. I wanted my next effort to have finer charcoal so.....

(Untitled; Encaustic, Oil Pastel, Charcoal, & Graphite; 12" x 12")
I wanted to challenge myself to make these next two paintings vibrant with lots of movement so I started this one with a thick pink background. I scraped the lines at the bottom right in with the tip of a sharp woodless pencil and the dots on the top left are finger prints of the super crushed charcoal with medium placed on top of it.

(Backwoods Sermon; Encaustic, Oil Pastel, & Graphite; 12" x 12")
I had this fresh green that I made and my husband said, "Slap that all over the place!" haha So I did! I used the oil pastels directly on top of the wax and also as a mixture from the hotplate as described above. I fused them until I was happier with the mixture and kept layering it all. Then I took my sharp pencil and scraped in these tree images. There's a nice dimensional quality to it with the indents that the lines made all the way through the wax until it hit the board.

I'm very happy with the results and looking forward to painting more! I love how this painting challenge made me think of moving in another direction-- it's just the pull I needed at the right moment.

Trick or Treat...

Halloween is my super-favorite time of the year! It's not just the ghouls, ghosts, and vampires that get me (although I really do love that part, too!) but it's the colors!

Fall is my favorite time of the year bringing into my head all the memories of my childhood. Halloween takes me back to elementary school parades dressed in the best costumes ever. And walking around at night trick or treating in the crisp autumn air. I see it, I feel it, and I smell it. And those colors just take me back!

So I had to make a set of encaustic paint that went along with those memories. The Candy Corn set of three wax paints is what resulted. I even photographed it on an old beat up grey chair to keep going along with the vision-- how I love it all!

This is also part of the Maine Team Halloween Scavenger Hunt -- join in, it starts today!!

A new home for Abe...

A few months ago I completed a series of ten paintings and immediately installed them in the Freeport Square Gallery in Freeport, Maine. The series is entitled "Mummies of the Civil War" and features prominent officers on each side of the fence. There are 5 Union men and 5 Confederate men, each molded into their own mummified form, to be preserved in their history for eternity.

The link between the Civil War images that I'm so drawn to and the history of encaustic paint going back to Egyptian times is what inspired these paintings. They each measure 10" x 22" and are on cradled birch.

Today I found out that Abe Lincoln sold-- hurray! I'll be posting more very soon-- still working on my website relaunch and on the class schedule and renovation of Sweetland Retreat.

Ring around the hot plate...

Encaustic monotypes are starting to be a fun new pasttime of mine! I love noodling with it and seeing what results I can get. KISS is my new mantra for this project -- "Keep It Simple, Stupid"

Simplicity is key while working with this techinique, especially from the beginning. You can't be tied to a full thought or idea in your head because monotypes don't work that way. And, certainly, hot monotypes don't work that way! They tend to have a mind of their own. Which is fine as long as that's the only thing that you're counting on to happen correctly :)

More to come....

Rings in the Sand
Encaustic & Oil Pastel Monotype
approximately 9" x 3" on watercolor paper
August 2009


I've been MIA from my blog but I assure you-- I've been working hard! Teaching workshops, getting Sweetland Retreat up and running, home renovations, and summer heat; it's keeps a gal busy.

But I wanted to share with you a sample of a new treat-- Encaustic monotypes! This one is called "XO, three over nine" and made with encaustic paint and oil pastel. This was painted & drawn directly on a warm hotplate and then the print was pulled from it. It's a tough process but I love the unexpected result and guesswork.

I'll be listing it in my Etsy shop soon but I've just been enjoy 'the making' these days-- I have more to share and will be back in action posting more to my blog each week.

I still love you!

XO, three over nine
Encaustic & Oil Pastel Monotype
9" x 5"
August 2009

Encaustic workshop results...

I am so impressed with the work that was produced at my Intro to Encaustic Painting workshop! The women came with such great enthusiasm and excelled SO fast!! They each made 3-4 paintings that were astonishingly beautiful. Each armed with a box full of mixed media supplies and stories behind all of their materials, it was really breathtaking for me to watch them create.

These first two are by Leslie Goode, who comes from a background of fiber arts. She brought with her natural elements such as birch bark, leaves, chinese lanterns, and rocks. The square painting started with a layer of orange encaustic which she then covered with her handmade paper. Once she fused it on with the tacking iron, the orange came through in the thinner spots of the paper creating a very beautiful textured painting.

Ronnie Decker is a mixed media artist and public school art
teacher who wanted to learn encaustic for a long time. She was so enthusiastic and came to the class toting horse hair, plastic onion bags, and feathers, amongst many other great items. She was a natural at letting the medium take over and seeing where it wanted to lead her to.

I have more photos of the rest of the class which I will blog about again...I really hope to see these ladies again in my intermediate class to see what other wonders they will create!!

The very best part of teaching is watching another artist move through the process. Seeing what they bring to the table and why; the stories behind the work and the end results. It makes me very proud to have the opportunity to work with them!!

Webcam heads up..

Heads up- I plan on setting up my webcam while I paint encaustic tonight- come check it out! I have a new series that I'm going to start working on- inspired by my painting below. They are still civil war focused but they'll be on long boards and looking more like mummies. I'm so excited! Hope it all works out tonight- I plan on turning on the webcam around 5:30pm. I'll update here when starting.
Live right now!

B&W Exhibit

Two of my encaustic paintings are hanging at the Freeport Square Gallery in Freeport, ME. Both of my black & white Ghosts of the Past paintings for their B&W show. The gallery is absolutely beautiful and we also had the chance to see a live concert there last night- very cool!

Ghost hunter...

Animated gif of the progress of my latest painting.  It's still in progress, just one more day working on it and I think it'll be done.  I really like seeing how this one has moved along!  I kept changing my mind about what colors I wanted it to be and put this painting aside for a while.  Then I decided to turn Abe into a rooted being and it all started to come together.

Dreams coming true!

I am so excited to say that tomorrow is the first day of classes at Sweetland Retreat!!!!!!

It's been a long road of renovation and learning and growing but we've finally made it to this point!  There's still work to do in order to open as a Bed & Breakfast but our goal was to have classes started by this summer and here it is...2 weeks before the Summer Solstice.  Who would have thought we'd be ahead of schedule?

And to celebrate, we're offering a special discount of $10 off to anyone who takes both classes this Saturday and Sunday- The Reiki Atunement class (good for Reiki Level 1 or 2) and the Full Moon Ceremony & Drumming Circle.  

Craft Fair & friends

Yesterday was the Etsy Maine Team craft fair in Freeport, ME. It was SO much fun to put more faces to names and meet people like Pam that I've known online for about a year and a half! LOVE when that happens.

The quality of the work at this show far surpassed any other show that I've done. No "granny" items, no $1 store finds or prices, it was quality all the way with fair prices for everything. I was impressed and honored to be a part of it!

I even had some interest in my encaustic classes, which is the best part for me! I love explaining the process to people and seeing their eyes light up and have them ask if they can learn it :)

Anyway- for more Maine Team info look here!

Buy Handmade

Thank a Vet...

While you're enjoying your Memorial Day this beautiful weekend, take some time and thank a Vet.  I promise you it'll mean the world to them.  Safe travels!

& thank you SSgt Samuel Erwin, Jr! ♥

Here it is-- your moment of zen!

Intro to Encaustic Painting - Saturday June 20th, 10am - 2pm

at Sweetland Retreat: 256 Pond Rd, Manchester, ME

Learn the ancient art of encaustic painting! Encaustic is the use of beeswax and damar resin melted together and combined with dry pigments to create a unique painting medium. This paint is applied hot/molten and manipulated with a direct heat source. It makes for a lovely layered image into which objects and photographs can be added. If you've seen a Jasper Johns painting then you've seen an encaustic painting!

This class will cover a brief history of encaustic, supplies and where to buy them, setting up, basic encaustic painting including fusing, embedding objects, and creating texture, as well as cleaning up, and caring for your paintings. Participants will complete 1-2 small paintings. No painting experience necessary. Open to ages 15 and up.

$70 includes all supplies; feel free to bring along objects to incorporate (dried natural objects, paper, and photographs on plain paper work well)

Instructor: Jamie Ribisi-Braley, Manchester, ME (<-- That's me!)

Jamie is passionate about creating art and about sharing her techniques and knowledge. She loves to learn how the old masters created their supplies and how they used them. Jamie believes that once you have the foundations of a medium, you’ll know how to make it work for your voice.

Jamie is co-owner of Sweetland Retreat and received her BFA in Painting from Boston University.

Register now!

Workshops available at Sweetland Retreat

We are now offering our first set of workshops at Sweetland Retreat!! I'm so excited and can't wait to get the ball rolling on this! What an exciting time in our lives-- our dreams are now reality!

Our first class will be Reiki Attunement Class -Part 1 on Saturday June 6th, 1:30pm - 6:30pm

It is a 5 Hour course during which you will become a Reiki Practioner. This is the first of 3 steps in becoming a Reiki Master.  Being attuned to Reiki gives one the ability to easily access the Reiki (Universal Life Force) energy, for the purpose of healing a person or situation. 

Space is limited, so register now! More info and registration form available here:

Our second offering is a Full Moon Ceremony & Drumming Circle on Sunday June 7th, 7:30pm

In this special healing and releasing ceremony we will create a sacred space for healing and support and to raise a collective consciousness. 

More info and registration form available here:


I'll also be listing some Encaustic classes, too!  Just need to pick a date for that-- I'll post again with more info!

Please spread the word if you have friends that you think would enjoy our classes!


Commission Progress

I worked another session on this oil painting commission yesterday (and I secretly worked on it a little while ago, too! sshhh).  I laid some brighter colors on top of the dark underpainting and it's starting to have some more volume now.  

As I spoke about in my last progress post, I really love revisiting this composition and thinking of new colors to use.   My favorite part is this vivid blue -- I'm really enjoying how it's interacting with the deep dark blue underneath it and the pinks & white of the water next to it.

Sweetland Retreat- Featured in newspaper!

We were featured in the Kennebec Journal Woman's Quarterly today!  

This is a wonderful article about Sweetland Retreat, the Artist Retreat and B&B that my hubby & twin sister are about to start, written by Nancy McInnus and we think it portrays us exactly as we are! She really has a gift for words.  We didn't know exactly what she'd think of us giggling and rambling on about every idea we have for Sweetland and what we are trying to make it be.  But she captured it brilliantly.

Or you can see it on the KJ's flipbook here:

Groovy colors- what should I name this?

This is my newest color line but I'm stumped as to a name for it! I keep thinking of Reese's Pieces but I know that there's just a bit of copyright issue there :)

Any ideas?

If I pick your title I'll give you 20% off any item in my shop!

I've been framed...

Getting ready for a big art fair I'm doing next weekend in Gorham, ME.  I've framed up a bunch of my giclee prints in preparation and I'm getting nervous & excited!  I'll also be selling some of my original paintings and my handmade encaustic paint, too.  If you happen to be in the area come on out and visit:

University of Southern Maine - Costello Sports Complex
College Ave, Gorham, ME
Saturday, April 25th    10 AM – 4 PM
Sunday, April 26th      10 AM – 3 PM

Funny tea leaves

"The Amount of Tea I Drink in a Week, mixed version"
Encaustic and Vanilla Chai Spice Tea on cradled birch

10" x 10"
March 2009

I created this slightly larger version of my tea painting series for an exhibit at the Harlow Gallery in Hallowell, ME titled "Off the Wall: Humor in Art."  The opening was last night and plenty of food was had by all!  

I've been working on a bunch of other paintings at once-- my mind is slightly distracted by Spring rolling in but I'm getting it in gear.  I have a bunch of work that I'm looking forward to finishing and alot of wax to make!  I'm also revamping my website-- can't wait to finish that project!

All my ducks in a row...

I made a 4lb batch of encaustic last night-- 35 cakes in total.  Two sets of my new Venetian Vacation color line and the rest are currently just clear medium.  I love how these all look stacked together!!

Thought I'd share :)


Introductory Sale - PDF Tutorial- Making oil paint by hand

To celebrate the release of my new oil paint making tutorial-- I'm putting it on sale for a limited time for $2 -- you can't beat that with a stick (unless you are cruel).  

Ever wonder what goes into making a tube of oil paint? Then this tutorial is for you! Learn how to make your own oil paint from scratch! Read about the different properties of various oils and what would work best for you as an artist. Making your own paint can save hundreds of dollars a year on supplies and is a technique that is much easier than you think! 

This 6 page PDF tutorial is easy to read and filled
 with clear photos of each step in this process.
 Includes a complete list of materials, step by step instructions, and a list of supply resources with tons of money saving suggestions!

Normally priced at the already low price of $3.50, you just can't go wrong with this deal.  On sale until midnight EST March 25, 2009.

What are you waiting for?  Buy it already and quench your curiousity!

PDF will be emailed to you right away-  buy it at or right here: 


Commission Progress

I dipped back into my oil paints and got started on a commissioned painting for my friend, Sarah.  I'm so excited to make this for her new home and brighten up her space with my work!  I hope that she will love the final version and will enjoy reading about it and seeing the progress here on my blog as I go along!

She had asked me to make a painting similar to Deluge (sold last summer) but gave me complete artistic license to change around the colors, movement, feel-- whatever!  It's a rare opportunity for me to be asked to revisit a painting and it's so much fun!  I love going into it thinking of how to improve upon the last piece and make this one special.  I've been mixing some of my own oil paint and am using it to complement my store-bought paint (that purple above the river is my own handmade color!)

You can see in this first image how I begin a painting.  I lay down a very thin wash of color cause nothing's worse than facing a blank canvas! I also love to pick a color that I want to shine through the entire painting.  It will give this a nice vibrancy/glow.  I then rough sketch where I want things to go using some more paint.  Then I get right into the color.  This is how it's looking so far after my first layer of color.  (Not the best photo since I'm working at night but it's what I can offer at 11pm)  It'll change as I keep working on it and I'm going to add some slightly brighter colors.  

I can't wait to work on this more!!!


A wonderful day!

I was surprised to find myself in an Etsy Finds email and Storque article today entitled "Yours And Yours Alone"!  Not only was it nice to get recognition in such a well put together art grouping but I received over 65 shop "hearts", tons of item hearts (including over 53 on this painting), a bunch of sales, and a couple of great emails from people!  It was such a great day!!

I'm so excited because I've also decided to take out a spot in a print ad for my encaustic supplies through Indiepublic that will go in the May issue of Cloth Paper Scissors.  I've never done a print ad before but this seemed like such a great fit for such a wonderful magazine.  I can hardly wait until May!  


Maine Team ACEO Challenge

The wonderful Etsy Maine Team is having an ACEO team challenge.  The idea was to make an ACEO with a Maine theme that was also recycled/upcycled.  I made these three while at Jes' craft brunch on Sunday.  They are all made on top of recycled cereal and cell phone boxes courtesy of my hubby, and the collaged images are all from Country Living magazines that were in desperate need of being recycled.  Here's the skinny on them:

-"Friggin' Fiddleheads" This one was made with Kellie in mind since she loves to say "friggin'".  This one features a beautiful image of a yummy fiddlehead on top of some other local greens.

-"Sabbathday Lake Shakers" My official entry to the challenge-- Made in honor of my favorite group of people and the only remaining active Shaker Village in the world, Sabbathday Lake in New Gloucester, Maine.  Among their many beautiful beliefs is the thought that everything must be made with as much skill, love, and piety as possible- even a chair for they thought that an angel might come and sit on it.

-"Silliness in the backyard" OK, this one was done as a joke and Susan's daughter Nell thought it was hilarious and prompted me to glue it down for real.  Featuring the many faces of Maine: Lobsters, wild turkey, roses, and ferns :)


Abe and Me- Progress

Abe and Me
Originally uploaded by Jamie Ribisi-Braley
A progress photo of a new encaustic painting I started today. Part of my "Ghosts of the Past" series, this one features a great civil war image of Abe Lincoln visiting a camp.

This is my largest encaustic painting yet and I wanted to show the scale so I took this cheese-ball pic of me holding it :) This is just the first layer of paint and I've since added another-- this one's going to take a little bit longer than the rest! Fusing the layers is an arm aching experience but I still really enjoy it!

The top of the painting has a pink sky and the bottom, so far is a greyish green. I'm thinking of using alot of grey on top of the underpainting but I'll just have to see how things go! I love not having a plan and going with the flow- so to speak!

VAST "Welcome Spring" Trunk Show on Etsy

I will be participating and co-moderating the Etsy Visual Artist Street Team's (VAST) Trunk Show tomorrow night!  Come and take a look and meet new artists with a great range of styles, medium, and prices!

"Welcome Spring" will feature art from 25 VAST members who will be presenting their work LIVE!  Come take a peak and ask questions-- get to know us and our art!

Wednesday 02/18 at 7pm Eastern time in the Etsy Virtual Lab Gallery Room:

Value Pack- Yellow Encaustic Medium

I decided to list a set of 4 natural encaustic medium cakes in my shop as a value pack-- for those that like to buy in bulk!  I always stock up on my art supplies so I'm sure lots of others would, too!

I love to put other people's Etsy products in my photos to help promote one another.  All of the encaustic wax in my shop has great handmade items to accompany them!  This one features paintings by my husband, Brian Braley.  His shop is called Discarded Treasures and he focuses on using recycled materials to make great pieces of art!  His paintings are so thoughtful and full of science, math, architecture-- you name it!  I love to see what he creates and this top one with the letters on it is my favorite, titled "Alphabet Soup" - I just love the colors and the layers!

More on him soon-- he'll get a feature in one of my "Artists I Admire" posts-- of course!  :)

Prepping Canvas

I've been commissioned by a dear old friend of mine to create an oil painting for her.  I'm so excited!  So I've stretched a new canvas and began priming it.  This picture above is of my favorite part of the prep stages-- I always brush on some water to release the sizing in the canvas and watch the water bead up-- I love it!  Then I brush it in really hard and get the canvas nice and taught.  Then I banged it like a drum!  What a great sound.  

I've applied the watered down coat of gesso already then went on a long walk to enjoy the beautiful day today in Maine.  A couple more coats of straight gesso and I'll be ready to paint!  I'm going to blog about my progress so that she can watch it evolve :)

Winner announced!!!

The "Hot Mess: Painting with Wax" giveaway has ended and I used to randomly pick a winner from the blog entries! The lucky post number was #19 which is..... drum roll please!

... Penguen ....

CONGRATULATIONS Penguen!! I'll be contacting you in a couple of minutes to send you your prize! Enjoy!

Etsy Beeswax Team Sale

For the Love of the Bee Etsy sale

During the month of February, the Beeswax Team will be donating 5% of proceeds to the "Save the Bees" research group.

The disappearance of bees on a global scale isn’t an issue to put under the carpet. Considering bees pollinate about 1/3 of everything we eat, when bees begin disappearing, we should do more than watch it happen if we want to protect our food sources.

Please come join us and show your love this Valentine's Day in an unconventional way! 

View our team comic to read more info:

And visit our forum thread for a full list of particpiants.
Here are your resources to help you understand CCD and for the sale this month:

To hear the Bee Team's first ever encaustic podcast
For more on 
Save the Bees research group
More on Colony Collapse Disorder 

5% of my proceeds from any encaustic related item in my Etsy shop will go towards bee research. Purchase any original encaustic painting, handmade encaustic paint, Hot Mess wax painting tutorial, giclee prints of an encaustic painting, or necklaces featuring encaustic work and 5% of your purchase will automatically be donated. 

Daffodil Days- Help raise funds

This isn't an art posting today but rather a posting from the heart! ...

When I was a kid, I volunteered for Daffodil Days to sell flowers and raise hope, awareness, & funds in honor of my grandmother's passing from cancer.  The first year I participated, my grandmother was still alive and it was a wonderful feeling to hand her a bouquet of daffodils and tell her that what I had done for her.  

I hope that you will join me in making any contribution that you can to bring light, hope, & love into a cancer patient's life.   I recommend the "Gifts of Hope" package which starts at $25 and provides flowers anonymously to cancer patients.  You will not receive anything physical from this donation but you will enrich the lives of a patient.

Thank you for reading and hope you're able to contribute in some way!  Click here to go to my American Cancer Association fundraiser page.

Things are looking up up up

Yesterday I received a phone call from the Board President of my gallery association-- they are inviting me to run for a Board position!  This is so exciting-- hooray!  I also asked to be put on the slate for Secretary cause I just love typing so much!  I take the minutes of our meetings at work and rather enjoy it so I thought I could lend that skill to the team.  

Anyway-- They vote in April at the annual meeting so I'll find out for sure then.  Cool!

And so I don't leave you pictureless-- for all of your letter writing needs :)
Set of 4 original gouache notecards

Don't forget to enter my giveaway!!

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