Unique Color: Sepia



Notes on the R&F Paint Making Process


From a paint maker’s point of view this color can be a bit daunting, if not downright frustrating to wrangle into reality (apologies to Management, just being honest here). There are a few reasons for this. Let’s take a look.

#1. There are five pigments in this formula.

Did you say five?

Yes, Five.

#2. It’s just brown, right?

Well, Yes and no.

Yes, it is brown..ish. So no, it’s not just brown. It’s nuanced and subtle, warm and cool at the same time. What we refer to around here as ‘complex.’

Sepia is Richard Frumess at his finest. This formulation found its place in the R&F color line approximately 23 years ago (the first batch was made on 4/10/1996). Many a paint maker past and present has bemoaned its presence on the production schedule. Not because it’s not an interesting color to make or use; because it’s a beast to get right. But when your number is up, it’s up, and you get to work.

When we talk about the ‘complex’ mix this is exactly what we’re referring to. As stated above, it contains five pigments. They are as follows: Quinacridone Magenta, Brown Pink, Ultramarine Blue, Titanium, and Zinc White.

Each of these pigments (every pigment actually) has a unique personality. The paint maker’s job is to bring out the distinctive traits of a pigment – make them known for the painter but also get them to play well with each other. Mill one component too tightly and it could dominate, or worse, fall flat.

But when these mixes work out, when all the pieces come together as intended, the result can deliver a complexity and depth unmatched by any ‘single pigment’ color. It is nuance and discovery prepared with care and experience and delivered directly into the hands of the painter, the printmaker, the artist.

We hope you enjoy. Keep Painting.

Learn + Connect: Upcoming Events

R&F Core Instructor Dietlind Vander Schaaf demoing at Artist & Craftsman in Portland, Maine

R&F Core Instructor Dietlind Vander Schaaf demoing at Artist & Craftsman in Portland, Maine

From Portland, Maine to Los Angeles, California, there are many great demos taking place this fall at locations across the country. Join us to connect with an area educator and learn more about R&F’s range of products. Please note that most locations require advance registration.

September 27

David Art Center, 3020 N Arnoult Rd., Metairie, Louisiana

Encaustic demo with R&F Core Instructor Julie Snidle

October 5

Raw Materials Art Supplies, 645 S Los Angeles St., Los Angeles, California

Pigment Stick demo with R&F Core instructor Caryl St. Ama

October 12

Artist & Craftsman, 1917-1921 E 7th St., Los Angeles, California

Encaustic demo with R&F Core Instructor Caryl St. Ama

October 13

Artist & Craftsman, 821-825 Chapel St., New Haven, Connecticut

Encaustic + Pigment Stick demo with R&F Core Instructor Leslie Giuliani

October 19

Binders Art Supplies and Frames, 3330 Piedmont Rd., Atlanta, Georgia

Pigment Stick demo as part of ArtFolio with artist Mariana Depetris

October 20

RileyStreet Art Supply, 1138 4th St., San Rafael, California

Pigment Stick demo with R&F Core Instructor Cari Hernandez

October 26

Artist & Craftsman, 1660 La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, California

Pigment Stick demo with R&F Core Instructor Caryl St. Ama

October 26

The Art Box, 422 12th St., Lynchburg, Virginia

Encaustic demo with artist Christine Rooney

October 26 + 27

Plaza Art, 633 Middleton St., Nashville, Tennessee

Encaustic demo as part of Hands On Creativity with artist Jean Parker

November 2

The Art Box, 5784 Three Notched Rd., Crozet, Virginia

Encaustic demo with artist Christine Rooney

November 8

Philadelphia Sketch Club, 235 S Camac St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Encaustic demo with artist Lorraine Glessner

November 15

Artist & Craftsman, 540 Deering Ave., Portland, Maine

Pigment Stick demo with R&F Core Instructor Dietlind Vander Schaaf

December 8

Artist & Craftsman, 143 Calhoun St., Charleston, South Carolina

Artist & Craftsman, 981 King St., Charleston, South Carolina

Encaustic demos with R&F Core Instructor Dietlind Vander Schaaf

From The Collection: Carol Bajen-Gahm

Carol Bajen-Gahm,  Root Cellar Meditation #12 , 20” x 17”, encaustic, Pigment Stick, walnut ink, and seaweed print on Kitakata paper mounted on panel, 2016

Carol Bajen-Gahm, Root Cellar Meditation #12, 20” x 17”, encaustic, Pigment Stick, walnut ink, and seaweed print on Kitakata paper mounted on panel, 2016

In 2017, Carol Bajen-Gahm was part of THE LAST PICTURE SHOW: FORCES & artifacts, a two-person exhibition with Pamela Blum at R&F. Root Cellar Meditation #12 was part of this exhibition and was later acquired for R&F’s permanent collection. Highly influenced by the natural world, Bajen-Gahm’s work investigates time shifts, spatial juxtapositions, and the disordered aspects of nature. She has long been attracted to dark spaces, such as tangled roots, wells, and caves, as well as dreams and fairy tales.

Root cellars provide an example of a dark space as nurturing force, a kind of transformation by preservation. Bajen-Gahm became fascinated with root cellars when she attended the 2 Rooms Artist Residency in Duntara, Newfoundland in 2016. A tiny remote village on the Bonavista Peninsula, one hundred and seventy five miles north of St. John’s, Duntara is a summer destination. The population shrinks to less than fifty in the winter. Root cellars abound in the region and are a major part of survival during the winter months.

Bajen-Gahm was in Duntara for two weeks during the fall and was struck by the serious focus residents had on the coming winter. She watched as boats were taken from the water, firewood was neatly stacked, and root cellars were well stocked. Deeply influenced by her immediate environment, Bajen-Gahm considered a time when food was less secure and residents has to rely on their own efforts to survive.

In her Root Cellar series, Bajen-Gahm used mixed media to create a dense abstract structure as a meditation on the complexity of our world. Layered patterns were inspired by thoughts of darkness, not as something engendering fear, but as a nurturing force in the preservation of food. Additional elements used related to food production and preservation, including seaweed (a fertilizer) and tobacco netting (a crop protector).

She began by creating seaweed contact prints on printmaking paper and then glued these prints to a support. In some cases, she added digital transfers of photographs. On top of this surface, she worked with charcoal, graphite, pan pastel, encaustic, and Pigment Stick. As she continued building, inevitably she experienced “a state of chaos,” which would continue as “the process became geologic, a back and forth shifting between deposition and erosion,” until eventually the disparate elements came into balance.

Of Bajen-Gahm’s work, Blum said “the place and landscape narratives cause the observer to shift mental viewing distances within each image…the resulting imagery - indeterminate places and spaces - transcends her materials. These artifacts shift scale from biological processes to human habitation, huge earth forces and aerial views.”

Bajen-Gahm has lived in Torbay, Newfoundland since 2003 and worked as a full time painter for over twenty years. She is the recipient of a Joan Mitchell grant and has been an artist-in-residence at the Julia and David White Artist Colony in Ciudad Colón, Costa Rica, as well as the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony in Temecula, California. She recently received a grant from The Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council (ArtsNL) to create a body of work inspired by crumbling World War II gun installations in nearby St. John’s.

You can find out more about Bajen-Gahm and the workshops she offers at Torbay Bight Studio by visiting bajengahm.com.

Unique Color: Green Earth



Notes on the R&F Paint Making Process

Green Earth

A little over twenty six years ago (February 24, 1993 to be precise), paint maker Richard Frumess created a small test batch (just 32 oz.) of what he then referred to as “Terre Verte,” now known in the R&F color line as Green Earth. According to Richard’s account, he was looking for a Green Earth that leaned grey. Early hand mixed versions included Raw Sienna, Viridian, and Bone Black, but for the first milled, production batch he would increase the total number of pigments to five – including Raw Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Chromium Oxide Green, Viridian, and Mars Yellow Light.

Needless to say, this batch fell short of his standards, but not for the reasons you might think. While it is difficult to make a single color out of five pigments (side note: many R&F colors contain up to five pigments), it wasn’t the complexity of the mix that vexed him, but the consistency of the finished paint. It was far too opaque – not at all reminiscent of traditional Terre Verte.

Richard went back to the drawing board and began to mix and mix…and mix (see image above). Finally it hit him. Terre Verte is not a ‘strong’ color and there was his solution. Sometime it’s not what you put in, but what you take out. With this newfound insight he would reformulate by reducing not only the number of pigments present, but the quantity of each pigment. It worked.

Today R&F’s Green Earth contains just three pigments: Stil de Grain, Viridian, and Ultramarine Blue, and is available in both encaustic and Pigment Stick color lines.

We hope you enjoy. Keep Painting.

From The Collection: Lynette Haggard

Lynette Haggard,  Unfolded #3 , encaustic and cardboard on panel, 2015

Lynette Haggard, Unfolded #3, encaustic and cardboard on panel, 2015

The second in our “From The Collection” series is Unfolded #3 by artist Lynette Haggard. One of several pieces from Lynette’s 2015 solo exhibition at R&F, Frames of Reference, Unfolded #3 is an exploration of the structure within a grid, as well as the grid’s relationship to a light and indeterminate space.

Lynette, who currently lives and works in a suburb of Boston, received her BFA in Painting from Philadelphia College of Art (now University of the Arts). Her work has been exhibited widely during the past twenty years and is included in collections ranging from the New Britain Museum of American Art to Massachusetts General Hospital. In 2018, Lynette was the recipient of a fellowship to the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She has served as a panelist and a presenter at the International Encaustic Conference and was a featured artist at Geoform.net, an international online scholarly resource and curatorial project that focuses on the use of geometric form and structure in contemporary abstract art.

Over the past decade, Lynette has developed parallel bodies of work that explore modern abstraction. Her paintings address issues of complex spatial relationships, geometry, and color interactions. Her assemblage and sculpture utilize consumer detritus, such as paper and cardboard. With inspiration that draws upon connected shapes, scored folds and flaps, typography, and graphic signage, as well as a focus on texture and patina, Lynette’s work reveals a particular pleasure in the way edges meet and intersect.

Lynette Haggard,  Rhythmo Box #1

Lynette Haggard, Rhythmo Box #1

The Unfolded paintings in Frames of Reference developed out of an earlier series Lynette created called Rhythmo Boxes, which were wall objects that explored the rectangle and box forms. Several of the Rhythmo Boxes (including the one above) were included in the exhibition.

Frames of Reference demonstrated the evolution of Lynette’s work into a more geometric and hard-edged aesthetic than found in previous work. You can view more of Lynette’s work on her website http://www.lynettehaggard.com/.

Exhibition view of Lynette’s 2015 solo exhibition Frames of Reference.

Exhibition view of Lynette’s 2015 solo exhibition Frames of Reference.

It is an honor for R&F to support artists by purchasing their work and including it in our collection. And if you find yourself headed to Kingston, let us know and we’ll show you around our collection in person.

Keep painting.

Unique Color: Ancient Gold



Notes on the R&F Paintmaking Process

Past, Present, Future

It’s hard not to consider grand ideas and cosmic connections when pondering a color like the one we’re about to introduce for the very first time at the International Encaustic Conference in Provincetown. Ideas like time and space, the rise and fall of civilizations, socioeconomic inequality, even presidential politics (wink, wink). Its unique luster is that beguiling even in the crowded and shiny company of our existing eight color iridescent lineup.

And although we’re calling it ‘Ancient Gold’ it is very much of our time, dare we say futuristic even.  We hope you give it a try.

As always, Keep Painting…

The International Encaustic Conference + An R&F Exhibition

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(in)Forming Works: Meet the 2019 Teaching Artists

On Center Gallery | 352 Commercial Street | Provincetown, MA
May 31st - June 5th | Opening reception May 31st, 5:30 - 9:00pm

This group exhibition features R&F Handmade Paint's 2019 teaching artists: Dale O. Roberts, Dietlind Vander Schaaf, Kate Collyer, Kelly McGrath, Laura Moriarty, Lisa Pressman, Leslie Giuliani, Lorraine Glessner, Sarah Rehmer, Caryl St. Ama, Pamela W. Wallace, and Wayne Montecalvo. Curated by Sean Noonan, R&F's Education & Studio Coordinator, and held in conjunction with the 13th International Encaustic Conference.


The 13th International Encaustic Conference 

The International Encaustic Conference will take place Friday, May 31 through Sunday, June 2 in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Produced by Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill, the conference offers an opportunity to connect with other artists, as well as gallerists, curators, collectors, and more. Jam-packed with talks on subjects ranging from the environmental politics of wax to materials, method and process, and demos on casting, encaustic monoprints, and alternative surfaces, the International Encaustic Conference is not to be missed. The vendor room is packed with must-have materials for you to take home and the hotel fair Sunday morning offers you a chance to build your collection. 

Bookending the conference are pre- and post-conference workshops led by instructors from across the country. There is still space in several workshops. To learn more about any of these workshops or to register, visit www.castlehill.org/info-blog/pre-post-conference-workshops.

5/29 + 5/30: What Do Colors Really Do? with R&F founder Richard Frumess
5/29 + 5/30: Exploring The Fundamentals Of Encaustic with veteran R&F instructor Laura Moriarty
5/30: Mixing Your Mediums (And Maybe Your Metaphors) with former New England Wax President Debra Claffey
6/3 + 6/4: Alternative Materials When Exploring The Line with veteran R&F instructor Lorraine Glessner
6/3 + 6/4: Drawing Within Painting with Irish artist and instructor Joanna Kidney
6/3: Professional Development with pioneer and luminary Judy Pfaff
6/3: Exploring Materials And Teaching Methods with longtime conference presenter Milisa Galazzi and R&F Core instructor Lisa Pressman
6/4: Making A Place For Yourself In The Art World with The Art of Encaustic Painting author and conference founder Joanne Mattera
6/5 + 6/6: Crossing Dimensions With Textural Wax with veteran R&F instructor Kelly McGrath
6/5 + 6/6: Out Of The Box with freestanding and sculptural painting artist Susan Lasch Krevitt
6/5 + 6/6: Next Level - Working Large with R&F Core instructor Dietlind Vander Schaaf

Upcoming R&F Core Artist Workshops


In January 2016, we launched the R&F Core Artist Program in an effort to expand and improve upon existing workshop and demo options and to reach a wider geographic region by working directly with artists in their home areas.

From North Carolina to Texas, there are many great workshops taking place in the next couple of months taught by one of R&F's 9 Core Artist Instructors. Check out the line up below to see if there is something happening near you.

Catalyst, Westminster, CA
Caryl St. Ama
May 11 

Sebastopol Center for the Arts, Sebastopol, CA
Cari Hernandez
May 11 + May 18

Cullowhee Mountain Arts, Cullowhee, NC
Lisa Pressman
June 17 - 21

Aha Studio, Blue Mountain Village, Ontario
Jeff Hirst
July 9 - 12

Eastern Shore Art Center, Fairhope, AL 
Julie Snidle
July 12 - 14

Southwest School of Art, San Antonio, TX 
Michelle Belto
July 19 - 21 

Maine College of Art, Portland, ME
Dietlind Vander Schaaf
August 3 - 4

R&F Handmade Paints, Kingston, NY
Leslie Giuliani
August 21- 23

Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, ME 
Jodi Reeb
August 25 - 31

Unique Color: Cobalt Turquoise

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Notes on the R&F Paint Making Process

Cobalt Turquoise

Cobalt Turquoise is hands down one of the most underrated colors in the R&F color line. A semi-transparent gem of a blue that can conjure ideas of the sea - think Mediterranean - bluish and greenish, old and wise. So underappreciated, so misunderstood, it frequently finds itself on the dreaded ‘bottom seller list’ year after year. Oof. How’s that for transparent?

Why is this so? How can such a complex and beautiful color get overlooked by so many, for so long? Well, we ask ourselves this question each and every time we make it. Let’s take a closer look at its story.

First introduced into the R&F color line in 1992 as an encaustic paint, later as a Pigment Stick in the summer of 1993, it originally contained three pigments: Cobalt Green Light (no longer available), Cobalt Blue and Viridian. In our retail display case it has the unfortunate fate of landing in-between two of the most well-known, time tested, go to colors in the history of all artist colors – Cobalt Blue and Ultramarine Blue. Talk about a tough crowd.

Could it simply suffer from being overlooked, out-shined by its more famous neighbors? Perhaps. Or maybe if we’re being honest it might have to do with its price tag - a Series 6 in the Pigment Stick line - a result of its densely packed, Cobalt, Viridian formulation. These are just a few of the facts of its long, storied history. Maybe there are other reasons, maybe we should have called it “Mediterranean Blue” and solidified its wistful, romantic nature.

Anyway, we hope someday you’ll give it a try and let us know what you think. Available in both Pigment Stick and encaustic color lines. Keep Painting.

From The Collection: Rifka Angel


If you’ve been to R&F for a workshop or tour, you might have noticed we have quite an impressive collection of paintings. This piece by artist Rifka Angel, Sonja or Remembering Dostoyevsky’s Literature, 13” x 10”, encaustic on panel, date unknown, is one of our oldest. Though Karl Zerbe, the German painter who served as chair for the Boston Museum School’s painting department in the 1930s and 40s is widely credited for his work with encaustic, Rifka Angel preceded him by several years. Angel began working with encaustic in the early 1930s and continued doing so until her death in 1988.

Born in 1899 in the town of Kalvarija in Lithuania, the second of four children in a middle class Jewish family, Angel boldly followed her father to New York at the age of thirteen. Despite long hours working in a sweater factory, she managed to attend three years of high school, falling in love with American literature, and later studying dance.

Her first marriage to a painting student at the Art Students League introduced her to the world of art. She began modeling and eventually developed an interest in painting, garnering praise from contemporaries such as John Sloan, and exhibiting with artists Ben Shahn and Louis Ribak. Angel attended the Moscow Art Academy for 9 months in the late 1920s before continuing on to Paris, where sketches of the city formed the basis for her first solo exhibition at Knoedler Gallery in Chicago in 1930.

During her career, Angel participated in exhibitions at prestigious spaces ranging from the Whitney Museum, to the Chicago Art Institute, Van Diemen Lilienfeld Galleries, and Roland de Aenlle Gallery. Her final exhibition, a 40-year retrospective, took place in 1963 at Beatric Orenstein’s Park Avenue Gallery.

Unfortunately, Angel’s early contribution to the medium is rarely acknowledged and little known. We at R&F are grateful to have her work in our permanent collection. In 2005, R&F held an exhibition of Angel’s work and published a monograph to accompany the show. You can download a pdf of this monograph here.

Learn + Connect: Upcoming Events


There are many great demos scheduled to take place in the next few months at locations across the country. Check the schedule below and consider joining us to connect with an area educator and learn more about R&F’s range of products. (Please note most locations require registration in advance.)

March 16

Artist & Craftsman, 828 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL

Encaustic demo with artist Jeff Hirst

Artist & Craftsman, 307 Market St., Philadelphia, PA

Encaustic and Pigment Stick demo with artist Lorraine Glessner

Eastern Shore Art Center, 401 Oak Ave., Fairhope, AL

Encaustic demo with R&F Core Artist Julie Snidle

March 17

Artist & Craftsman, 3804 Fourth Ave., San Diego, CA

Encaustic demo with artist Josie Rodriguez

March 23

Artist & Craftsman, 1002 Barret Ave., Louisville, KY

Encaustic demo with artist Amy Finder

Artist & Craftsman, 555 Pacific Ave., San Francisco, CA

Pigment Stick demo with R&F Core Artist Cari Hernandez

Art Supply Warehouse, 6672 Westminster Blvd., Westminster, CA

Encaustic demo with R&F Core Artist Caryl St. Ama

Art and Frame of Sarasota, 1055 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL

Encaustic demo with artist Shelley Jean

Sam Flax, 1495 Northside Dr., NW Suites B & C, Atlanta, GA

Encaustic and Pigment Stick demo with artist Helen DeRamus

March 27

Artist & Craftsman, 137 W. North Ave., Baltimore, MD

Encaustic demo with artist Angela White

March 30

Artist & Craftsman, 701 Northwest 27th Ave., Miami, FL

Encaustic demo with artist AJ Grossman

Artist & Craftsman, 2906 N. Lombard St., Portland, OR

Encaustic demo with artist Elise Wagner

Art and Soul, 755 Petaluma Ave., Sebastapol, CA

Pigment Stick demo with R&F Core Artist Cari Hernandez

April 6

Artist & Craftsman, 751 Broadway, Saugus, MA

Encaustic demo with R&F Core Artist Dietlind Vander Schaaf

Village Art, 715 Hahman Dr., Santa Rosa, CA

Encaustic demo with R&F Core Artist Cari Hernandez

April 13

Jerry’s Artarama, 1109 New Britain Ave., West Hartford, CT

Encaustic demo with R&F Core Artist Leslie Giuliani

April 20

Artist & Craftsman, 7926 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, PA

Encaustic demo with artist Lorraine Glessner

Artist & Craftsman, 761 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Pigment Stick demo with artist Kelly McGrath

April 27

Artist & Craftsman, 307 2nd St., Brooklyn, NY

Encaustic demo with artist Kelly McGrath

May 11

Artist & Craftsman, 203 W Gorham St #1, Madison, WI 

Encaustic demo with artist Jeff Hirst

May 24

Artist & Craftsman, 540 Deering Ave., Portland, ME

Encaustic demo with R&F Core Artist Dietlind Vander Schaaf

Image credit: Kimberly Stoney

Unique Color: a note on light*

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Unique Color:

a note on light*

Notes on the R&F Paint Making Process

Pretty early on in the discussions of our new website we began throwing around ideas about how we might capture and convey color in a different, more unique way. But how? We knew we wanted to move beyond the dry technicality of the ‘color swatch’. The flat square most of us are accustomed to seeing online and in print may suggest color but hardly captures the true, studio experience of light landing on fresh paint. Most paint manufacturers (us included) go to great lengths to inform the artist of the care and skill they employ to make their color – the premium ingredients and technology, the expertise – yet it’s rare to hear mention of arguably the most important ingredient in color and that is, of course,  light*.  

Light on top and through and bouncing back – that is the true story of color. So with that in mind we decided to put it front and center and photographed our entire color line, our ‘color swatches’,  in the natural light of our production facility so that you, the artist, can be in the room with us at 84 Ten Broeck to experience color as we do. To move around it, to negotiate glare and nuance, to allow it to reveal the true nature of what makes color – color. We hope you enjoy.  Keep Painting.