There is something sensual about encaustics that brings you in and makes you aware of the idea it is trying to share. Everything about encaustics stimulates me, from the textures to the process; from the smell of the beeswax, the color of the piece, the composition of the whole down to the sense of being drawn into the many translucent layers. I love the organic luminosity when working in the medium; it is exhilarating, challenging, and involved.
Encaustic is a wax based paint (composed of beeswax, resin, and pigment), that is kept molten on a heated palette. It is applied to a porous surface and then reheated to fuse the paint. Encaustic is perhaps the most beautiful of all artists' paint and is as versatile as any 21st century medium. It can be polished to a high gloss, carved, scraped, layered, collaged, dipped, cast, modeled, sculpted, textured, and combined with oil. It cools immediately, so that there is no drying time, yet it can always be reworked.
I work in a very intuitive way, and most of my work begins in a similar fashion. It is about discovery, the hint of possibility. The accumulation of layers of encaustic medium, oil paint, pigment sticks and mixed media create the foundation for my paintings. I fuse each layer to the previous layer with my butane torch.
As I layer with R & F encaustic-colored paints, the painting develops, I try to keep a balance between highly textured areas and other subdued, quieter passages. Several layers of encaustic medium are embellished with powdered pigments and then manipulated with a torch. Varying degrees of wetness and dryness affect the results. I add several layered applications to create areas of light and depth. I will often add other materials to help build texture such as glass beads, rusted metal pieces, and broken slate with encaustic paints for texture.
Commitment to the encaustic process opened the door to my artistic voice. I scrape the wax away revealing what is underneath and then build back on top of what once was in a meditative, repetitive process. Melting, scraping through layers, building up and sculpting ensures that the outcome of each work is uncertain, and it is this unpredictable element of the wax that my art feeds on. Molten layers of wax need to be added, taken away in places, and added again to build up the texture and essence of the piece. For days I work on a painting only to destroy it when the work gets too comfortable, too predictable. Gradually I have learned to trust the process and to be brave and confident that the intent will manifest into the finished work. My work mirrors my life which is also multi-layered, enriched by the texture of spiritual values, family, friends and teaching special needs students.