Recently, I posted three paintings a day to Facebook as part of the Three Paintings for Five Days Challenge nomination I received from my friend Jean Schwartz. Since Jean pointed out that I use wax from my hives, I thought it would be fun to make the link from hive to painting. I currently have five hives. I have buttressed them with straw for extra warmth through these cold days. Wax is the beautiful byproduct of collecting honey in July. This process fostered a Hive Series which I featured on Day One.
Day Two brought me to the genesis of encaustic painting. This ancient technique, which means to “burn in,” dates back to early Greek, Roman & Egyptian times. If you’re in the Met in NYC, go see the Fayum mummy portraits. The three elements of encaustic are beeswax, pigment and damar, the binding agent. Damar is resin from fir trees. The paintings chosen for Day Two reflect my interest in that ancient period.
Working on a large scale, the encaustic process becomes incredibly physical. Tension builds as the solid medium of wax, pigment and damar liquefies on the heated palette. As I work the cooling medium with a blow torch on the wood surface, my composition emerges in luminescent layers. Day Three’s work references the less reference-based approach.
Day Four was an opportunity to bridge the ancient technique of encaustic painting to modern imagery. As encaustic materials became more and more available, encaustic painting has become more widely exhibited and more boldly employed. In my recent series of Raw & Pure, for example, I use carbon and graphite and sometimes gold in the paintings. The elements combine for a combustible conversation about natural resources and Earth’s raw and pure beauty.
The beauty of earth’s elements continue to be my inspiration. Day Five became an opportunity to display my newest paintings, “Earth Pattern,” “Earth Fire” and “Earth Smoke”.