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Artist Statement

I began my artistic journey as a photographer and photo artist, winning a variety of awards from juried art shows in Florida in the 1990s. Moving to NYC, I spent the next decade working, playing and exploring the city when I discovered the exciting world of Encaustic painting, the ancient art of painting with hot molten wax combined with damar resin. Inspired, I quickly added this medium to my artistic repertoire, and I have simply never looked back. While the lack of control in this medium can be frustrating for some, I find this “see where it goes” aspect to be energizing and deeply fulfilling. I adore the depth and luminosity that is such an inherent part of painting with melted wax. For the “other side of my brain,” encaustic offers endless possibilities due to the many techniques that this process affords. There is always more to learn and new techniques to try.

Using heat guns and torches, pottery tools and razor blades, inks, watercolors, pastels, tissue paper and photographs as well as dozens of other tools, I melt, cool, scrape, embed and paint one layer at a time until the piece is finished.

When unable to fire up torches and skillets, I find the vibrancy of alcohol inks a fun change and altogether unique challenge. Photography still has a place in my creative heart and taking photos still helps me breathe...deeply.

      Scroll below for Encaustic Painting Description

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Encaustic Painting

As early as the 5th century B.C., Greek shipbuilders applied coats of wax and pitch in order to fill cracks and to act as weatherproofing. Adding pigment (color) to the wax gave way to decorating the ships—and another elementary form of art was born. At that time, encaustic painting was a slow and tedious process. After all, one needed the sun to melt the wax; however, it added a rich depth and durability. In addition, wax withstood moisture, a real plus for boats!  

The most well known of encaustic art works came from Greek painters in Egypt in the form of the Fayum funeral portraits painted in the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. Funeral portraits usually painted on wood or panels, were painted during the peak of one's life or after passing, to be placed over the person's mummy as a memorial. While some of these portraits were painted with tempura, it is those encaustic portraits that are regarded to be the higher quality. Many of these pieces have survived and can be seen today in museum around the world. Their color has remained as fresh as when they were painted.

A period of great economic instability followed the decline of the Roman Empire. During this time, encaustic painting faded in popularity. Some encaustic work, particularly the painting of icons, was carried on as late as the 7th century, but for the most part it became a lost art as it was replaced by tempera, a cheaper, faster, and less demanding medium to work with. The artist did not have to wait for the sun to melt their wax!

The 20th century brought with it portable heating elements which started a stir among artists to dabble in this type of painting once again. A resurgence of encaustic painting has taken place and once again, become a popular medium for artists of today. Diego Rivera (1886-1995), Antoine Pevsner (1884-1962), Rifka Angel (1899–1988), Karl Zerbe (1903–1972), and Victor Brauner (1903-1966) were early proponants of the revived technique. Jackson Pollock (1912-1956), Alfonso Ossorio (1916-1990), Jasper Johns (1930 - ), Lynda Benglis (1941 - ), Robert Morris (1931 - 2018), and Nancy Graves (1939-1995) are some of the many foremost artists who turned encaustic into a modern medium. 

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