My love of place and travel are at the root of my work. My travel diary is essential to my process, and is my steady companion wherever I go. Somewhere between a sketchbook, a journal, and a memory book, it is where I draw, write my thoughts, note of the names of the places I go and the people I meet, record the weather, the light, and the time of day. I include photos, textures and images of everything that catches my eye. Whether I am driving on the highway, hiking in the mountains, walking on never-ending beaches, or climbing mammoth rocks by the sea, I gather specific details and deep-felt impressions, my touchstones for the poetic interpretations I will later create in my studio.
Home again, I immerse myself in my memories. I begin to paint the broad stokes of the spirit of each place. As I contemplate the colours, light, lines and energy of a particular location, the specifics begin to fall away until often, it is simply the horizon, the vastness of nature or a solitary tree that continues to resonate, that becomes the focal point of my experience. Working with encaustic ( bees wax ) and pigments on wild cherry wood, I release the vibrant energies of nature through my choice of colours and the physicality of my process. Layered with encaustic medium, my works celebrate the luminous qualities of water, earth and sky, field and forest, landscape and nature. A tree bursting with life, the peacefulness of the horizon in a seascape, or flowers that appear to be dancing in a meadow – each painting becomes a meditation on the limitless beauty of the natural world.
Beyond the factual, beyond the particular, my works grow out of my visceral response to each location compelling me to explore even further – to deepen my connection to my process, the materials I use, my relationship to the world, and my place in it as adventurer and artist.
Encaustic is a wax-based paint, composed of : beeswax, resin and dry pigment.
It’s an ancient technique, dating back to the 4th century BC.
I create my own high-quality encaustic paint. It’s made with 100% pure pharmaceutical grade (USP) beeswax, which has been filtered without the use of chemicals and then I add a Singapore-grade damar resin. To create the various colours, I melt in the pigment into the encaustic medium. All of this results in the highest quality art paints.
Encaustic paint is kept molten in a heated palette. In my artistic process, I apply the paint with a brush, or I let it drip on a wild cherry wood frame. Then with a blowtorch, I reheat it in order to fuse the paint on the surface and also between all the layers. The word “encaustic” comes from the Greek word enkaiein, meaning to burn in, referring to the process of fusing the paint. Although they come from the same root word, “encaustic” should not be confused with “caustic,” which refers to a corrosive chemical reaction. There is no such hazard with encaustic.
Opulence. Encaustic is perhaps the most beautiful of all artists' paints, and it 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.
Wax is its own varnish. Encaustic paintings do not have to be varnished or protected by glass, because encaustic, which is the most durable of all artists' paints, is its own protector. This is because beeswax is impervious to moisture, which is one of the major causes of deterioration in a paint film. Wax resists moisture far more than resin, varnish or oil. Buffing encaustic will give luster and saturation to color in just the same way resin varnish does.
Non yellowing. Encaustic paint will not yellow or darken. However, wax itself is photoreactive, so unpigmented encaustic medium that has been kept in dark storage will darken slightly. However, when re-exposed to light the darkening will bleach out.
No solvents. Encaustic paint does not require the use of solvents. As a result, a number of health hazards are reduced or eliminated.