You may remember the art project in grade school, where you color in different crayons completely over a page, cover it with black crayon, then scrape off the top layer with a drawing, you would reveal a surprise of color. This child-like element of surprise is still exciting to me and is the basic way that I work with encaustic.
Working with encaustic is a very textural and almost sculptural medium for me. I carve and draw into the wax using a variety of tools that I've found over the years, including old ceramic, dental and garage tools. Sometimes, I just use a pencil and just draw right into the wax and paint.
I then repeat this process with another layer of wax and drawing while carving and scraping away some parts. I may repeat the process a dozen or more times over time to build up colors and layers. I compare it to a wave washing on the beach revealing new patterns and objects each time.
It is fun for me to reveal parts of past drawings and reveal a new image or story that didn't exist before. It is almost like secrets and coded messages are returned, retold and rebuilt. I love stately old buildings that have a long history. As the paint and bits fall off and decay, a building's true character is revealed. This aging process adds to the depth and beauty of the architect's original vision. I hope that my paintings evoke memories of the past, and maybe tell a unique story through clues and fragmented bits.
Inspiration comes from my fascination with hieroglyphics, iconography, old maps, and typography. I also am intrigued by mathematical and scientific equations and formulas. Bringing these as inspirations into my work, help me to build these stories.
In my Arizona home, I am able paint outside from about November until early June. I stop for the summers, when it gets too hot and I lose control of consistency of the paint and wax. I love that the changes of weather, temperature and humidity all make the experience a bit challenging. But the birds singing and many bees tempted by the smell of wax "cooking", make it a joyful experience.