I have worked in diverse media since the mid-1980s and my art references and reveres the natural world. I look forward to continuing an exploration of media and technique for the remainder of my art-making years.
Encaustic monotype is a magical and exciting process. My current series of landscapes depicts existing and imaginary places. I call on the memory of landscapes with imagination playing the largest role in my work. The shapes and forms of undiscovered landscapes come to life as I develop the prints with repeated applications of color.
Earlier prints recall the beaches and shorelines of the Pacific NW while the recent landscapes show the craggy mesas and high deserts of northern New Mexico.
New Mexico has many lonely stretches: mile upon mile of desolate and barren land. The emptiness arouses various emotions in us including awe for its eerie beauty, a protective desire to keep the land untouched and preserved from development, or a vague uneasiness over its wildness and lack of human habitation. In contrast, the mountain ranges and sunsets of New Mexico inspire our reverence.
The encaustic printing process is mercurial and the paints melt and blend in a way that can only be loosely controlled at first. I use a “hot box” with an aluminum surface that heats up and melts the encaustic paints which immediately fuse with paper under lightly applied pressure. Encaustics cool quickly and a composition on paper can then be intentionally developed with tools and by over-printing additional colors to add texture or layers of color to create depth.
The encaustic paints heat up and cool off, much like the day-to-night temperatures of the land. This process of hot and cold echoes the fiery heat of the New Mexico desert during the day and the cooler temperatures at night. I use “scorched earth” colors like yellow ochre, copper and sienna, and the reflected sunset and twilight shadow colors of burnt scarlet and violet which later deepen to indigo under darkening skies.
My mixed media assemblages of found objects in wooden boxes evolved from earlier paintings and pastels related to plant forms. The new three-dimensional format challenged me to configure composition in new ways. I painted encaustic wax panels, collaged and stamped rice papers, and printed monotypes in combination with seed pods, branches, bone and coral. I enjoy assembling objects with my printed images and playing with unusual combinations of dissimilar objects.
Time spent in Western Australia and Japan subtly influenced my aesthetic approach. The assemblages reflect the Japanese concept of wabi sabi -- the beauty of imperfect, unpolished and impermanent things. The worn wooden boxes bear the patina of age, their compartments can be irregular, and the plant materials will gradually fade and change over time.