POST 2011

Philadelphia Open Studio Tours (POST)

Dora’s Studio will be open during Philadelphia Open Studios next weekend on

October 15 & 16 from 12:00 noon to 6pm

Dora Ficher Art
915 Spring Garden St.
Studio #403 (4th floor)

Untitled ~ Mixed Media Collage, encaustic, oil sticks on panel 16×16 ©Dora Ficher Art 2011


The 2011 Philadelphia Open Studio Tour (POST) will take place next weekend and, once again, the Studios at 915 Spring Garden will participate on October 15th and 16th from 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm. This free, city-wide art exhibit showcases the work of painters, photographers, printmakers, clay artists, jewelers, sculptors and more! It’s an informal, intimate way to view the work and meet the artists.

I will be showing my Encaustic paintings as well as my oils, acrylics and ink drawing (my doodles which I share on Facebook every day)

Do you know what encaustic painting is?

Definitely stop by and see it in person.

I will be doing demonstrations of the encaustic process.

You can also grab a drink, eat some, and just hang out.

The studio is located at 915 Spring Garden (between 9th and 10th – entrance is on Percy Street).

I’m in studio #403 on the 4th floor.

Additional information, maps and directions can be found at the following sites:

Hope to see you there. Bring your friends!


Dora Ficher Art

915 Spring Garden St.
Studio #403
Philadelphia, PA 19123





Facebook fan page:

Hidden Quotes

123/365 “Hidden Quotes” Collage, Mixed media – encaustic paints, oil sticks on wood. ©Dora Ficher 2011


Enthusiasm moves the world. ~A. Balfour


Phone:    215-680-0922
915 Spring Garden St.
Studio #212
Philadelphia, PA. 19123


The Bees and me cont.

I did a Showing of my art this past Saturday at Plymouth Meeting Friends School’s 73rd Annual Strawberry Festival. It was a wonderful Day as it is every year. This year I brought my encaustic paintings, first time out in a public showing. Many people did not know what “Encaustic Painting” was so I decided to write down a little history about this wonderful media. Following you can see a few of my newest works.

©Dora Ficher Art “Entrance” Mixed media
@Dora Ficher Art “Sun Heat” 8×8 Encaustic
©Dora Ficher Art “Planters” Mixed Media Encaustic
@Dora Ficher Art 2010″Blizzard of 2010″ Mixed Media Encaustic 5×7

As I mentioned on my recent posts: I think I’m falling in Love, The Birds & The Bees, The Bees and me, I started doing encaustic painting a few months ago and I am LOVING it! Let me give you a little history on this medium.

I got the following information from

Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. The liquid/paste is then applied to a surface—usually prepared wood, though canvas and other materials are often used.

The simplest encaustic mixture can be made from adding pigments to beeswax, but there are several other recipes that can be used — some containing other types of waxes, damar resin, linseed oil, or other ingredients. Pure, powdered pigments can be purchased and used, though some mixtures use oil paints or other forms of pigment.

Metal tools and special brushes can be used to shape the paint before it cools, or heated metal tools can be used to manipulate the wax once it has cooled onto the surface. Today, tools such as heat lamps, heat guns, and other methods of applying heat allow artists to extend the amount of time they have to work with the material. Because wax is used as the pigment binder, encaustics can be sculpted as well as painted. Other materials can be encased or collaged into the surface, or layered, using the encaustic medium to adhere it to the surface.

This technique was notably used in the Fayum mummy portraits from Egypt around 100-300 AD, in the Blachernitissa and other early icons, as well as in many works of 20th-century American artists, including Jasper Johns.

Kut-kut, a lost art of the Philippines implements sgraffito and encaustic techniques. It was practiced by the indigenous tribe of Samar island around 1600 to 1800.[1]

In the 20th century, painter Fritz Faiss (1905-1981), a student of Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky at the Bauhaus, together with Dr. Hans Schmid, rediscovered the so-called “Punic wax” technique of encaustic painting. Faiss held two German patents relative to the preparation of waxes for encaustic painting. One covered a method for treating beeswax so that its melting point was raised from 60 degrees Celsius to 100 degrees Celsius (from 140 to 212 °F). This occurred after boiling the wax in a solution of sea water and soda three successive times. The resulting, harder wax is the same as the Punic wax referred to in ancient Greek writings on encaustic painting.

Encaustic art has seen a resurgence in popularity since the 1990s with people using electric irons, hotplates and heated stylus on a variety of different surfaces including card, paper and even pottery. The iron makes producing a variety of artistic patterns elementary. However, the medium is not limited to just abstract designs, it can be used to create complex paintings, just as in other media such as oil and acrylic.

The Bees & me

Following you can see some of the work I have been doing these last couple of days. It’s been such a fun and creative process. And I LOVE the smell of beeswax…

You can also see some photos of me at my encaustics workshop with Leah McDonald and Athena Petra

Working at Leah McDonald’s studio

Working at Leah McDonald’s studio. Photographer  Toni Robertson on the left and me on the right

Dora Ficher “Untitled” Mixed media, encaustic paints, oil sticks. 12×12

As with most of my work, be it oils, watercolors or encaustics like this one, I imagine in my head how I would like it to look or what I think I am doing but it never works that way. It usually ends up looking totally or somewhat different, which is how I want it to look now and it might end up being something totally different than when I started out. That for me is the fun of creating. I love to experiment and try new things out. I love to work with shapes and that’s usually how I start, but you never know where it will take me.

I need a title for this painting. Could you help me out and give me some ideas. You can leave your ideas in the comment section.

"Fusing" with a hot air blower
“Fusing” with a hot air blower
Dora Ficher “Water & Sky” Mixed media, encaustic paints, oil sticks. 8×10

This piece I started to do at the workshop but then kept playing around with it and ended up looking totally different.

Dora Ficher “Poppywax” Mixed media, encaustic paints, oil sticks. 12×12

For those of you who don’t know me, I love Poppies and all kinds of flowers so I had to try “My poppies” out with wax. I even stuck little mirror (that Heidi, my partner took off her jacket) in the middle of each poppy. See, we don’t throw anything away, we recycle everything and Heidi takes it to the school where she teaches for the kids to create with them. Now that I’m using more recycables myself with my encaustic work, I need to go through the bag before it goes to school and pick up goodies for me.

Dora Ficher “no-title” Mixed media, encaustic paints, oil sticks. 6×6

Dora Ficher “Oh” Mixed media, encaustic paints, oil sticks. 6×6

Dora Ficher “Glass” Mixed media Collage, Photos, encaustic paints, oil sticks and oil paints. 8×10

This piece was done at the workshop. It has several steps. Everything that you can see are photographs that I took and then cut up. They were glued on to the substrate along with other collage papers that I found in Leah’s big box of magic collage “stuff”. Then it sat overnight to dry and was continued the next morning. I painted it with some faded encaustic paint and then used mostly clear bees wax. Afterwards, I used tools to scratch around in order to be able to see some of the photos in the background, I filled in the scratches with black gesso, cleaned it all up and then highlighted the images with oil sticks and oil paints. I even stamped it with a flower stamp. Next time I will photograph the whole process.

The birds and the bees

Encaustic Workshop

What a great week-end!  Two whole days of just creating. The workshop was given by Artists / Photographers   Leah McDonald and Athena Petra. I got to be part of it along with a few other artists most of them photographers. I learned not only about painting with encaustics but also about encaustics and photography. Following is a visual journey of my week-end.

The “Bees Wax”
The paint melting
Leah McDonald

Leah showing us different things you can do with the bee’s wax once it’s applied to the substrate.

Leah & Toni

Toni Robertson, photographer

Leah McDonald and Athena Petra

Athena sharing one of her photographs


Rita Bernstein, photographer

Oil Sticks
Oil Paints

The painting room in Leah’s studio.

Encaustic Photograph

One of my “Hat” photographs glued to the substrate, covered with Bees Wax and painted with oil paints.

My paintings with encaustics will be up tomorrow.

This is my 2nd workshop in the last few months. I took another one back in December with encaustic artist Lorraine Glessner

I think I’m falling in Love

I spent a wonderful day on Saturday (4/10) learning new things which is one of my favorite things to do. Especially when it’s hands on and we get to play and try everything. I have to tell you, It was so much fun. It was five of us doing our thing and learning in this wonderful

studio setting.

I really think I am falling in love with this new medium called encaustics. It all started in December when I took my 1st Encaustics workshop. You would love this medium. It’s so soft, warm, and so forgiving. I am going back there today and will tell you all about it on my next post.

I will tell you about the artist teaching this class and about the artist wh works with her. You will get to see some video as well. Have to run to keep playing with my new love.

Getting Organized

I am taking Alyson Stanfield’s “Getting Organized” class for a 2nd time around. You will see why when you look at the pictures. Since I moved I needed to reorganized everything so what better than doing a refresher course of this class.

Following are some “Before” pictures. Stay tuned for the “After” pictures in about 3-4 weeks.

These 2 pictures are of the closet in my studio/office. There are so many things that I can’t even close the door. The containers in the closet shelves are either full of photographs or belong to my son who can’t take them because he lives in Manhattan in a much smaller place than this.


To the right of the closet I have bookshelves full of books plus papers which I’m not sure if I should get rid of. Let’s call this side the “office” side.


Still going around to the right of the whole wall of book shelves is some other kind of shelves where I keep many things. Then comes the shredder and a little table with drawer where I keep all my camp things. Those 2 big blue & green bags are actually binders with all the emergency forms signed by the parents.

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Hanging from these shelves I have These very cool colorful organizers (not sure what they are called) which I planned to use for my mail and other things but have not used yet. These shelves are in pretty good shape except for the top one.

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The pic on the left is what used to be my desk chair which I now use to put things on because I don’t have an “actual desk” in the room and if I have to sit I use the big red ball which is supposed to be good for my back.

On the left you can see my printer cover with papers which I haven’t gotten rid off and next to it is the file cabinet with the scanner on top and a box of something on top of that. But…if you look on the shelves under the printer and the shelves to the right, I have all the printing paper organized.

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Since I don’t have a desk anymore I got this computer desk on wheels witch I can take around the apt. It was the best solution for now.


So moving on to my studio side you will see that everything is much better organized and labeled. The picture in the middle has all my encaustics things. That black thing you see is a griddle which is used as my palette.

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The rest are a few pics of the studio side. Everything is a little cramped but…this is the room I have.

Here you can see my easel and table which I use for encaustics and watercolors.


And remember…Stay tuned for the “After” pictures in about 3-4 weeks.