In my Studio. Always a happy place.
I create abstract and primitive artwork that references the natural environment, and my own personal symbology to make unique statements. Having painted now in this medium for over 12 years, my main challenge is to control the compositional elements, which are often chaotic and develop quickly, to deliver paintings that are original and speak in an authentic voice.
I’m inspired by ancient civilizations, archeological dig sites, especially those sites in southern France around Sarlat where I've had the privilege of viewing some of the earliest cave paintings in person.
The linear elements in many of my paintings are runes, a system of pictographs representing the forces and objects of nature, and a precursor to current languages. They were initially devised by ancient northern civilizations as simple, earthly symbols which could be found everywhere and were used in both trade and the sacred.
Artist at work. (Probably should have been looking at what I'm doing!!)
About Encaustic and the Work
Encaustic, the medium, is a combination of bee's wax, and damar resin, that is heated on a palette until it becomes liquid. Encaustic as process is the act of applying the hot wax to a warmed surface and then fusing it to the substrate or wax layer below it, using a heat gun and/or propane torch or other heated tools.
I work mainly with a bright, earth-toned palette, kept warm in containers on my hot palette. I occasionally use other colors for accent or a specific series.
The work always incorporates many layers of wax and the surface is often scraped back or carved, and manipulated in some other way. Works are often augmented with hand-made collage papers that are rusted, stitched, burned, or distressed. Sometimes the paintings will include embedded beads or bark or be embellished with foil, newsprint, sand, or found objects. Very often a painting will be scribed and marked with oil paint and pastels to add subtlety and an underlying conversation to the finished work.
Strong patterns, shapes, and lines, often only partially seen from beneath the wax, yield a mysterious quality to the stories I tell. I find that the linear runic pictographs that I frequently use, add to this subtle mystery.
I start out with an idea or brief sketch but often find my process hijacked by an energetic, certain, creative impulse that takes me in an exciting direction ending in paintings that are surprising to me and remain mysterious to me. This is my definition of a successful painting!
The finished works are definitely sensual and textural and beg to be touched. They have a light, lingering fragrance of bees wax. The paintings are easily maintained with an occasional buffing with a soft, clean cotton cloth. This is necessary because the wax will continue to naturally "bloom" becoming slightly matte finished. Buffing will not only clear the surface of dust but also bring back the luminosity and slight shine. While they are impervious to water, they should not be hung near fire or bright sunlight.