My “Natural Abstractions” series are watercolor + wax works focusing on amazingly colorful natural occurrences that scream for exploration/exploitation/abstraction in an artist’s studio – from the bizarre and beautiful hot springs of Yellowstone to the mysteries of stellar nebula or northern lights in our night skies. My artwork always presents more of the essence of a subject, rather than a realistic representation. In fact, I mean for my viewer to participate in deciding what the subject actually is. Vivid colors are my signature, though an occasional monochromatic piece can be just as impactful.
People are familiar with watercolor as a medium and perhaps even encaustic (wax). But I have combined both of these media in my work to present an interesting dichotomy. Watercolor and wax shouldn’t even be able to mix, should they? However, each medium becomes obvious upon close inspection, and the view from farther away brings the suggested subject matter to light.
Encaustic painting involves using heated encaustic “medium” which is beeswax, damar resin and linseed oil. Colored pigments are sometimes added. The liquid wax is applied to a surface such as wood or a specially prepared encaustic board. A blowtorch or heat gun is used to fuse the wax between layers. The wax is impervious to moisture and glass is not used in framing. (See my videos of hot wax in action.)
In my Natural Abstractions series I use layers of rice paper that I have created using my splash and pour technique with watercolor. Each piece of paper gets the hot wax treatment and becomes translucent, and then several of these colored papers are layered one on top of each other, with clear encaustic medium in between each. The result is a beautiful undulating textured surface with mysterious, enigmatic subject matter suggested by the overlapping colorful layers below.
Layers of colored rice paper, applying wax, surface of wax before fusing, corner detail of painting, and finished painting called “Cosmos and Caldera”: