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Russell Thurston Margaret Berry Karon Leigh Rodney Thompson Barbara Michener Catherine Nash

Up Coming Events Techne`

2011 Fall Issue

Fall 2011 For More Information about the Encaustic Art Institute: Website: Blog: Facebook: Encaustic-Art-Institute/332917031347

Happy Holidays

Founder: Douglas Mehrens, Encaustic Art Institute Administration: * Douglas Mehrens, Founder/CEO President: *Sherry Ikeda, Board of Directors: * Glenn Fellows * Michael Allison * Perry Lovelace * Douglas Mehrens Artist Board: * Russell Thurston, Program Director * Kari Gorden, Membership Director * Kate Palmo, Education Director * Linda Fillhardt, Blog Coordinator * Perry Lovelace, Marketing Director * Barbara Gagel, Fund Raiser Coordinator * Teena Robinson, Graphics & Computer Support * Michael Phillip Pearce, Carbon Vudu LLC, Magazine Art Director. Cover art by Russell Thurston, Tree (How the West was Won), 2010. The Encaustic Art Magazine is published by The Encaustic Art Institute, 18 General Goodwin Road, Cerrillos, NM 87010-9779


Greek word meaning (enkaustikos).



©2011 OWNERSHIP OF DESIGN this information prepared by Encaustic Art Institute shall remain the property thereto, and shall retain all common law, statutory and other reserved rights, including the copyright thereto.












Book Spotlight


04 05 06 10 15 18 22 24 26 29 31

From the Institute Calendar of Events Russell Thurston Margaret Berry Karon Leigh Rodney Thompson Barbara Michener Catherine Nash Techne` 1.Techne, or techné, the Greek word techné is often translated as craftsmanship, craft, or art. It is the rational method involved in producing an object or accomplishing a goal or objective. Techne resembles the implication of knowledge of principles, although techne differs in that its intent is making or doing, as opposed to “disinterested understanding.”

Michelle Belto

Dear Readers: Welcome to the second edition of the Encaustic Arts Magazine, the semiannual free on-line publication from the Encaustic Art Institute. This issues cover image is of an amazing encaustic sculpture piece by Russell Thurston, called “How the West Was Won”. Be sure to read about it in his interview. Douglas Mehrens

Also, Arizona artist Michael Pearce is featured in the magazine’s “Techne” section, discussing his use of encaustic with steel sculptures. And let’s not forget the source of our materials, our friends the bees. Check out this issue’s article on how bees make wax. You’ll BEE amazed. Be sure to mark your calendars and plan to attend one or both of the two encaustic conferences: The Sixth International Encaustic Conference, June 1-3 at the Provincetown Inn on Cape Cod, preceded and followed by encaustic workshops; and Sept. 8-9, the International Encaustic Artists’ “encaustiCon,” San Antonio. Have a creative 2012 to all. Douglas Mehrens Founder and CEO The Encaustic Art Institute



From the Institute

In this issue we continue interviews with “hot” artists who work with encaustic but many of whom started their art careers with other media. Included are Nebraska artist Margaret Berry; Arizona artists Karon Leigh, and Catherine Nash; California artist Rodney Thompson; Idaho artist Barbara Michener, and New Mexico artist Russell Thurston.


2-11, Margaret Berry HOME: The 2011 Birdhouse Interiors and Art Exhibition Bancroft Street Gallery, 2702 South 10th Street, Omaha, Nebraska 2 - Jan. 2, Larain Matheson Edgewater Gallery 356 North Main St. Fort. Bragg, California 10 - January 7, Sharon Sperry Bloom Opening Reception: December 10, 5 pm - 9 pm Corrales School of Art, 4908 Corrales Rd Corrales, NM 18, ENCAUSTIC ART INSTITUTE Christmas Party


Jan. 4- Feb. 25 Martha Pfanschmidt Opening Reception: Jan. 4, 5:30-7:30 pm Facture Bullseye Gallery 300 NW 13th Portland, OR. 97209

7 - February 25, Molly Geissman Opening Reception: Jan 7th. 7th Annual Encaustic Invitational Conrad Wilde Gallery 439 N 6th Ave #171 Tucson, AZ.

5 - 29, Michelle Belto Opening Reception: Jan. 12, 5:00-7:00 pm Marking Time New Encaustic Paintings and Sculptures Lockett Gallery Art Center of Corpus Christi

29 - April 1, Martha Pfanschmidt Opening Reception: Feb. 29, 5:00-8:00 pm So many...just one Waterstone Gallery 424 NW 12th Portland, OR 97209

7 - Feb. 25, Kelly Wagner Steinke & Molly Geissman Opening: Conrad Wilde Gallery 7th Annual Encaustic Invitational Exhibition 439 N. 6th Avenue #171, Tucson, AZ.


10 - March 1, Margaret Berry Blazing the Wax Trail: Nebraska Encaustic Artists Norfolk Arts Center Norfolk, Nebraska 18 - Feb. 26, Martha Pfanschmidt Opening Reception: Jan. 18, 5:00-8:00 pm The Sum of the Parts Waterstone Gallery 424 NW 12th Portland, OR 97209 27 - March 3, Kathleen Waterloo Opening Reception: 27, 5-8 pm ‘Solo Exhibition’ Circa Gallery 210 North 1st Street Minneapolis, MN 55401 612-332-2386

1-25, Patricia Aaron Opening reception: March 9, 6:00-9:00 pm Spark Gallery 900 Santa Fe Drive Denver, CO 4, Michael Phillip Pearce Opening reception: March 4, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm Carbon Vudu 2538 North Richland St. Phoenix, Arizona 29 - April 20, Patricia Aaron Opening Reception: March 31, 11-1 pm Translations Gallery 1743 Wazee Street Denver, CO.

April 13 - May 30, Kathleen Waterloo Opening Reception: April 13th, 5-8 pm ‘Solo Exhibition’ Addington Gallery 704 N. Wells St. Chicago, IL 60654 312-664-3406

Calendar of Events




Sep. 9, to March 2012 Josie Rodriguez Luminous Layers, San Diego International Airport Terminal Two East


On going 2011-12

THE FEELING OF BEING THERE IN THE WORLD: A Conversation With Russell Thurston




Ru s s e l l T h u r s t o n

Santa Fe painter Russell Thurston has been working with the encaustic medium for more than a decade and has become one of the most innovative and accomplished encaustic artists in the country, with numerous solo shows in Santa Fe, Chicago and New York. A founding member of the Encaustic Art Institute, he’s taught workshops all over the country. He spoke about his work with Gretchen Reynolds, a journalist in Santa Fe.

Nerve Net, 2011, encaustic, oil and India ink on wood. 49” x 37” x 2”

GR: What was it about encaustic that hooked you? RT: I loved the seductiveness of the medium, the luminous quality of it. I also loved that you could see the hand of the artist in the work. It was so different from the more impersonal, slick,

GR: What makes working with encaustic so unique, do you think? RT: I love the properties related to the seductive surface, the tactile feeling, and the fact that you can manipulate it in so many ways. So much of it involves heat and how it’s applied. But it takes awhile to learn to control. That’s not to say that you can’t make encaustic look like oils or other mediums, but it’s harder to work with and, for me, the pleasure of encaustic comes from finding ways to use its particular strengths effectively, instead of trying to make it perform like some other medium.

GR: In your work, what do you feel are your main themes? What are you trying to explore? RT: I think my primary theme is the collision between science and nature, or technology and nature. Is technology going to save us or be our downfall? That’s an issue that really interests me. If I had to sum it up in one sentence, it would be that my work is about the power struggle between nature and technology. I’m also interested in visually depicting the things that are unseen—particle physics, String Theory, interrelated systems. If I hadn’t been an artist, I would have been a scientist, but I couldn’t do the math. GR: Are you aiming for realism? RT: No, not really, not in the sense of representation. I’m more interested in our place in the natural world, my place in it, our feelings


Tree (How the West was Won) Detail 2010, Encaustic, metal, string, tissue paper and wood. 6’ x 3’

GR: What’s one of your least favorite aspects of encaustic? RT: It wouldn’t be about working with the medium, but about the realities of dealing with storage and shipping of encaustic work. It can be fragile and accidents happen if you don’t take precautions. I’ve had a painting melt in the back of a hot car in the summertime. Most encaustic artists could tell a similar story. You do have to use a little more care in shipping and handling, but I’ve learned how to deal with it.


GR: Did you know much about encaustic at the time? RT: Not really. I’ve always loved Jasper Johns’ encaustic paintings, the look of them, the way he built up the surface, letting all the brush marks and drips show. But I’d never tried to use the medium myself and didn’t know anything about the techniques. I took a workshop that was being taught by Paula Roland, a terrific artist, here in Santa Fe, and I got hooked right away.

GR: Did you find encaustic easy to work with? RT: (laughs) No! Anyone who’s tried painting with encaustic will tell you that, initially, there’s a steep learning curve. You can’t paint with encaustic in the same way that you can with acrylic and oils. You have to heat and fuse the layers, and you have to work very quickly. It can be pretty unforgiving. At first I got frustrated a lot. With some time and more research about the medium, I learned to accept encaustic on its own terms and then I started getting the results I wanted in the paintings.

GR: What’s one of your favorite aspects or strengths of encaustic? RT: I love that you can come back to an encaustic painting days, weeks or even years after you’ve first created it and work with the surface again. That’s pretty hard to do with oils or acrylics. Also, it’s a bit like alchemy. You transform the surface with heat and beautiful things happen on the surface and in the colors, some of which you can’t control. But if you know that’s going to happen, you can embrace the unexpected and incorporate it into the art.


Russell Thurston: My art training was in photography and illustration and I worked in advertising in Chicago after grad school. Then I began doing illustration work for corporate clients and worked at that for a number of years. It was an interesting time to be working as an illustrator, since computer-based illustration was just becoming possible. I still liked making everything by hand then eventually used the computer to facilitate the final art. Then in the mid-1990s, I moved to Santa Fe. I loved living here, but it was relatively remote, in terms of corporate illustration work and everyone was starting to use stock, so the market dried-up. So for a number of reasons, I decided to really focus on doing fine art and see where it would lead. One day I was on Canyon Road, which is lined with galleries and I saw some work in one that really attracted me. It was some encaustic paintings by Betsy Eby. I thought that they were so interesting and the surface was so beautiful that I decided I wanted to learn how to use that same medium.

computer generated pieces that I’d been making and I liked that aspect.

Ru s s e l l T h u r s t o n

Gretchen Reynolds: How did you ever start working with encaustic?

GR: Do you start a painting knowing what you want it to be? RT: I tend to work very intuitively. I always have a mental picture of the work in my head, but it changes during the process of making it. You have to kind of go with what the painting wants to be. It’s very much like a journey without a map. There will often be two or three versions beneath the final painting that you won’t even see. I like knowing those other paintings are under there, because I

can go back and liberate parts of them by scraping into the surface. The work reveals its own history, the story of how it was structured. There’s an archaeology to the painting when you look down through the layers. GR: How has your work evolved since you first started working with encaustic? RT: When I first began with encaustic, I was used to working with collage and mixed media, so that aspect of encaustic seemed a natural extension of what I’d been doing. Encaustic accepts collage and mixed media elements very readily. So my first pieces were collages. But as I became more comfortable with the medium, I began to engage much more directly with encaustic itself.




Ru s s e l l T h u r s t o n

about it. I’m not trying to portray the natural world, per se, but the sense or feeling that you have when you’re in nature—the awe and the mystery of being engaged with nature or science. My work reflects the world I see and am trying to make sense of. It’s a map of my feelings about the world, rather than of the objective world itself.

The Fountain, 2010, encaustic, tar mastic & mixed-media on wood. 49” x 48” x 3”

Ru s s e l l T h u r s t o n

GR: How do you get ideas for your paintings? RT: I like what Leonard Cohen said when asked about his song writing. His response was, “If I knew where the good songs came from, I’d go there more often.” I’m never sure where or when inspiration will come and that’s O.K., as long as it keeps coming. For additional information on Russell Thurston check out: & Represented in Santa Fe by Vivo Contemporary Art.


GR: Does encaustic work well for sculpture? RT: In many ways, it’s a great medium for 3D work, because it’s very malleable. You can carve it, cast it or paint it on a 3D form. But it’s also tricky, because when you try to fuse it with heat, it wants to run off down the sides.

GR: How do you see your work evolving going forward? RT: It’s interesting, because it’s going in two different directions. I’ve begun some works on paper that are much simpler than what I’ve done in the past, just the encaustic and paper. They’re mostly about mark making with different tools and trying to control the gesture in a more minimal way. Basically I’m trying not to think too much and just get lost in the joy of painting. Then there are these new sculptures I’m making that are very complex, using wood, lenses, LED lights, solar panels and all kinds of found objects. They’re a return to some ideas I had in art school but are so labor intensive that I can only do a few a year.


GR: Could you describe how you made “Tree (How the West was Won),” which is a remarkable sculpture? RT: I was invited to participate in “Pollination,” a group show at the new Santa Fe Convention Center Gallery. The show was part of the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Santa Fe and centered on the theme of how cultures and ideas cross-pollinate one another. I set out to explore the concepts of history, Manifest Destiny, and the conquest of the native peoples of New Mexico. I wanted to reference old-fashioned anthropology exhibits, with their staged dioramas that represent a very one-sided version of history. The sculpture that resulted combines a dead cedar branch and an encaustic vessel containing wax “ghosts” that can be seen through a viewing lens. Technically, this presented a challenge, since it was like building a ship in a bottle.


Schematic, 2011, encaustic, oil and collage on wood. 39” x 49” x 2”

Ma rg a re t B e r r y

Margaret Berry in her studio

Happy Accidents…




Beeswax has a mind of its own, and encaustic artists often talk about happy accidents in their work. It turns out I came to the world of encaustic via a life-threatening car accident and a simultaneous accidental encounter with Joanne Mattera’s newly published 2001 book. These events triggered a desire to return to studio art after years as director of an arts organization. It also meant a return to wax as my medium. A decade earlier, I had been a successful batik artist so I was delighted to find in encaustic a more complex way to use beeswax and my Javanese tools. I became a re-emerging artist. As poet Antonio Machado said, “I dreamt---marvelous error!--- that I had a beehive here inside my heart. And the golden bees were making white combs and sweet honey from my old failures.” Since that bittersweet turn in the road, I have explored the breadth and depth of encaustic expression, taught all levels of workshops, served on the Board of International Encaustic Artists and been fortunate to exhibit with the most talented of our colleagues in this medium. Here in the Midwest, I have been able to blaze the wax trail as an artist-in-residence for the Nebraska Arts Council and to be the first to show contemporary encaustic at the Sheldon Museum of Art in 2007. It has been exciting to watch the encaustic movement catch fire and to be able to fan the flames in this part of the country.

Growing up on the prairie outside Wahoo, Nebraska, I had access to a great many natural materials and a generous view of the horizon. I remember seeing the tails of tornadoes, the green aura of approaching hailstorms and grasses taller than I, waving in the wind. As a child, I converted the old chicken coop into an art studio, welded old implement parts into sculptures and created miniature landscapes in the garden. There were no art classes or teachers nearby so it was just me, the natural materials and my love of expression. Yet today, in another happy accident, this early art scarcity drives my encaustic artist residencies. It is a thrill to give access to a high level of artmaking and exquisite materials, not only to fellow artists, but to such unlikely groups as girl prisoners, visually impaired teens and elementary students in an international school.

Fields Series: Germination, Cultivation, Ripening, Harvest

Ma rg a re t B e r r y

a natural born artist…

drawn to the land…



Land is a big deal in my life. I am not only a child of the Great Plains landscape but also a steward of the homestead my ancestor pioneers plowed. Humans come and go, but the land remains, layered with our stories, making it infinitely rich for art-making. Plains writer, Willa Cather, summed it up, “What was any art but a mold to imprison for a moment the shining elusive element which is life itself- life hurrying past us and running away, too strong to stop, too sweet to lose.”


Tall Grass

On a larger scale, my work hints of the man-versus-nature issues of our time: pure atmosphere versus pollution, sustainability versus adequate food and aquifers versus pipelines. Currently, there is much discussion about placing an oil pipeline through the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground ocean in the world, just below the Sandhills of Western Nebraska. Aquifer series deals with both the layers of this discussion and with the real layers of sedimentary soils that filter precipitation. In a democracy, we form sediment of opinion that hopefully filters a result that is the best for man and for the land.

Red Harvest

see, absorb, forget, create‌.


Ma rg a re t B e r r y

My encaustic images reflect these strong, elusive elements in contrast with the enduring land: horizons, seasons, weather patterns, fertility, cycles of growth and fruitfulness. In some works, there is tension between fluid sky and tended earth, between free-form clouds and orderly parallel crop lines. In others, the tension is between flow and control of the wax, sometimes between a painted surface and a poured one. For example, in the Fields series, the skies are more than 30 coats of paint paired with all-or-nothing pours over the bamboo sticks depicting cultivated land.


It was an epiphany when I finally connected my love affair with raked Zen gardens to the contoured fields of the Midwest. The contracted form of a designed garden expresses the same peacefulness of repetitive curved lines and the same adoration of the land. Even in my exploration of more whimsical subjects like candy soda bottles


Ogallala Aquifer

Ma rg a re t B e r r y Acres

Even though I am rooted in the Great Plains, my work is increasingly transnational. Through BrushstrokesTV, the online channel of a British media company, my videos are watched in over 40 countries and accompanying DVDs and products are also exported. Contemporary encaustic has been mostly an American phenomenon to this point, but ripples of interest are radiating around the world. The next decade of the encaustic movement promises to be even more explosive and exciting. I predict it will come full circle with exhibitions in the lands of its ancient roots. An encaustic spring, if you will. The season of encaustic is only beginning around our world.


For additional information on Margaret Berry check out:


“exploser, fragmenter, ramener” (explode, break apart, bring back) -Orlan


made of wax, the embedded bottles stand like crops in rows. Love of the land is one of the threads that pulls my work together. Picasso said, “I put in my pictures everything I like. So much the worse for the things – they have to get along with one another.” In a corollary to that, I pursue in my work everything I like. So much worse for the baffled – they have to accept that or miss the conversation completely.

Explore a variety of techniques using encaustic paint on paper in this fun, informative DVD.

Karon Leigh

15 Fall

Evidence of Life In A Fossilized Sample

I am fascinated and in awe of nature and inspired by weather, light, time of day and seasons...


K a r o n L e ig h

An ongoing examination of my surroundings and how I fit into the world has been at the forefront of my awareness throughout my life and is a main consideration in my artwork. Nature teaches us that simplicity and complexity exists together in all things and that nothing exists inherently in itself. I am fascinated and in awe of nature and inspired by weather, light, time of day and seasons, as well as historical and geological time, especially how it relates to landscape. Although my art is mostly abstract, and my process very intuitive and experimental, landscape is often the subject if not an element in the painting.

K a r o n L e ig h Portfolio 16 Fall

Geological Study 1

Since 2005 I have been painting almost exclusively with encaustic. I am drawn to its versatility, its luminous and rich color and the fast set up time, which allows for very spontaneous creation. Building up texture and moving the painting away from the traditional 2-D surface I find to be an exciting benefit to working with encaustic. As I consider myself

a mixed media artist, I am often incorporating other medium into my work: oil paints, inks, collage papers, photographs, found objects and also experiment with different substrates such as gypsum board, Luann board, fabric and papers. The images shown here are from a series developed from

time discovering the landscape of Arizona, observing the rocks and mountainous formations in the southwest, always asking the “what if” questions, “what if I could take a slice out of this or a sample out of that – what would that look like, what story or history could it tell and how does that make me/you feel?”



K a r o n L e ig h Geological Study 2


Karon Leigh lives in southern Arizona with her dog, Maggie, where she teaches painting at her studio and digital support services in her community.

Ceremonial Robes Developing a conceptual series using encaustic




Ro d ne y T h o m p s o n

by Rodney Thompson

“These are the Ceremonial Robes for the Priesthood of Shamans, Magicians, and Wizards of our time…” While most of my 2-D art is minimalist and relates to a sense of quietude, depicting vast spaciousness and unrestrained possibilities, when I indulge in sculpture it is often for social or political commentary. This series of wall-hung sculptures is entitled “Ceremonial Robes”. Its origin, like many of my sculptures, began when an object “called to me”. This is a phrase that comes to mind when I see some thing or material that evokes a deep emotional response within me. I frequently do not understand the exact nature of my response initially but I recognize it as touching something important in my psyche. I will save the object in my studio and live with it, sometimes for years, allowing it to speak to me, and eventually it may find a new home in my art. In this case it was a small package of electronic resistors hanging in a display at Radio Shack. The neat rows of brightly color-banded beads on straight wires immediately caught my eye. Their precious beauty intrigued me as they are usually hidden away inside boxes, unappreciated for their aesthetics. I find fascinating how large numbers of small objects placed together transcend their individual nature and become a new material rich in texture. The visual qualities of these resistors suggested beaded garments to me. While taking objects out of context from their normal use and presenting them in new

Ceremonial Robe #3 Encaustic, electronic parts, teabag paper, chop sticks, hake brushes, paper. 49 ¼” x 50”

Ceremonial Robe #5 Encaustic, electronic parts, teabag paper, coffee filters, paper. 48” x 50 ¼”

Ceremonial Robe #7 Encaustic, electronic parts, chop sticks, paper. 54” x 50 ¼”



Ceremonial Robe #9 Encaustic, electronic parts, teabag paper, coffee filters, chop sticks, cotton swabs. 56” x 62”


Ceremonial Robe #8 Encaustic, electronic parts, paper. 53” x 48”

Ro d ne y T h o m p s o n

forms for visual impact appeals to me, so is using them in a way that has meaning relating to their original intent. Thus, the idea of an abstract representation of ceremonial costumes arose, but specifically they would be the robes for the priesthood of the electronic industry. I researched images of traditional costumes and ceremonial garments to develop my own personal amalgamation and synthesis of sartorial elements suggesting ethnicity without them being specific to any one culture or style. My concept was a museum like presentation of a number of life size robes and smaller vestments, collar pieces and breastplates, that would represent our culture’s obsessive fascination with technology and disposable electronic products. The tiny packages of resistors at Radio Shack would have been too expensive to provide the amount of materials I sought. Ultimately I found industry surplus resistors and capacitors for sale on Ebay at an acceptable price and I acquired reels and boxes of 1,000-5,000 units, amassing a delightful palette of colors, sizes and shapes. My biggest hurdle was convincing the seller to display color images of the items, not just their electronic specifications. I am interested in the contemporary social structures emerging around us. While many profess devotion to traditional religion, I see true worship, both in time and money, directed toward the obsessive acquisition and dependence on the burgeoning availability of electronic devices. The way people spend their days increasingly revolves around access to these devices. The industry continues to infiltrate our lives with new products, and then upgrade the technologies, further strengthening our bondage to them. It is this phenomenon that fascinates me in its overwhelming social pressure for us to be involved

Ro d ne y T h o m p s o n

Breastplate #1 Encaustic, electronic parts, teabag paper, chopsticks, paper, twine. 23” x 21”




in ways that parallel primitive societies where the priesthood dazzles and provides in ways that the common people do not understand yet remain enthralled and faithful. It is the creators of our electronic wonders, the magical boxes that entertain and pacify the populace, insure domestic tranquility, and influence our thoughts and lives that we pay homage to through the money we earn with our labors. Computers, cell phones, music players, video games, digital televisions with hundreds of channels, and other devices of electronic wizardry have come to dominate our quest for status and happiness. As with ancient shamans and mystics, only they truly understand the magic in these devices while in our awe and ignorance we spend precious hours on the phone waiting for the tech support acolytes to confer upon us their benevolent wisdom. We revere and honor this Priesthood with our sacrifices and fealty. What do we sacrifice? We give up the hours we work to afford the products they create and the time we spend, our minds locked into the Wizard’s programs, instead of being mindfully aware of the beauty and wonder all around us in the natural world that is even more amazing and free.

Breastplate #4 Encaustic, electronic parts, chopsticks, teabag paper, cotton swabs, coffee filters, paper. 18” x 18”


For additional information on Rodney Thompson check out:


Collar Piece #2 Encaustic, electronic parts, teabag paper, coffee filters, paper. 12 ½” x 12 ¼”


Ro d ne y T h o m p s o n

These sculptural works are constructed of modular wood panels using encaustic to apply color and to incorporate the electronic parts, paper, and other materials common to everyday life. These objects, such as teabags, coffee filters and chop sticks are considered disposable, like our cherished electronics that are soon discarded to be replaced by the next version, insuring our continued allegiance to the industry and a consumptive lifestyle. The parts of the robes are bound together by wax, like the wings of Icarus, also bound by wax, impermanent and vulnerable to dissolution when the next generation of wizards and shamans appear to usurp the present regime with newer mind controlling wonders yet unimagined. I do not intend to condemn technology or the electronic industry per se, but rather I attempt to raise awareness of how we as a culture are responding to this new age. I don’t deny being an active participant but it seems important for me to be cognizant of my role and my choices. It is up to each of us to find the balance of mindful attention to life with the mind absorbing scripted input from electronic devices. It seems fitting to this balance that such an ancient and natural material such as beeswax be used to offer this view of such a contemporary and technological phenomenon.




Ba rba ra M ic he ne r


I hunt in gift shops, antique stores, thrift shops and at garage sales. Like a treasure hunt I’m delighted when I find a good quality, unique wooden bowl. They need to be large, from nine inches round and larger, thus the salad bowl reference. I especially like the ones that are well used, cracked, with knots or patched with wire or glue.


I sand the wood down to a clean surface removing stains, sealants or cooking oils, reclaiming the wood’s original color. Turning the bowl in my hands I study the grain and character of its shape. As I consider it, I think of the original artist that cut and ground a block of wood out of local trees and the hours spent to give it shape. I think of the owner of the bowl, how it was used and how it came to be discarded.


With a pencil I draw lines on the wood where the wax will go, following the grain, complimenting its uniqueness. Layers of colored wax are carefully painted on curved surfaces. Sometimes stones, beads, plant materials or fabric are added. Even snake skin, jewelry and seeds have been used. Furniture oil goes on last highlighting the handsome wood grain and color.

Ba rba ra M ic he ne r

Life is a Salad, Art Bowls



All that is required to care for these bowls is a soft, dry cloth to remove dust and an occasional oiling of the wood. They are best displayed on an easel or plate stand, tipped up to show the interior of the bowl.



In comparing these bowls to the struggles and pleasures of humankind, I suggest we not throw them away, but give them another chance to show their beauty and character. As an art piece they are a statement of our persistence, of our connection to the earth through the wood and wax. Each is named as a celebration of the potential of the human spirit.


For additional information about Barbara Michener check out: For bowls and gifts:

Catherine Nash

Having curated for over a year from calls to artists, internet research and word of mouth, Nash’s project will not only include one work each of almost 100 visual artists in a gallery section, but will feature the works of 28 international artists within a portfolio section. Nash is traveling across the U.S. through April of 2012 to conduct these 28 studio visits, taping one-on-one interviews that will be embedded into their 4 page spread each as a clickable video. Contemporary Paper & Encaustic will be available in DVD format by the summer of 2012, so that you can also experience and learn from these dynamic creative leaders in the field.


Cat he r i ne Na s h

Artist Catherine Nash has developed an exciting project: Contemporary Paper & Encaustic will bridge the visual arts worlds of paper & encaustic. Rather than a how-to publication, Contemporary Paper & Encaustic will present artists from around the world who integrate the two media in innovative and compelling ways. Nash will focus on how media corroborates with the expression of ideas and content within this interactive e-book on DVD, a brand new type of teaching tool formatted for use on the computer.



Catherine Nash, New Growth Kozo paper cast into a lashed armature of willow branches and encased in white and amber beeswax, dead tree with root ball and dried much found in the Rillito River, “grafted” found branch with waxed green gampi paper leaves. 80”h X 33” diam.

Catherine Nash, Sky Nest Cast gampi and abaca paper fibers into a lashed armature of creosote branches, encased in encaustic, oil stick, white line transfer. 7”h X 13”w X 13”d

Laura Anderson Barbata, Mexico City, Mexico & NYC, NY David A. Clark, Palm Springs, CA Georgia Deal, University Park, MD Christel Dillbohner, Oakland, CA & Germany Jessica Drenk, Clemson, SC Joan Giordano, NYC, NY Valerie Hammond, NYC, NY Cari Hernandez, San Francisco, CA Ann Holsberry, Emeryville, CA & France Deborah Kapoor, Seattle, WA Tatana Kellner, Rosendale, NY Roberto Mannino, Rome, Italy (skype) Michael Marshall, Atlanta, GA Alexandre Masino, Montreal, Canada (skype) George Mason, Nobleboro, ME Dennis O’Neil, Alexandria, VA Maya Portner, Honolulu, HI (skype) Priscilla Robinson, Austin, TX & Taos, NM Paula Roland, Santa Fe, NM Marybeth Rothman, Tenafly, NJ Lynn Sures, Wheaton, MD Lisa Switalski, Miami Beach, FL Rodney Thompson, Redding, CA Russell Thurston, Santa Fe, NM Mona Waterhouse, Peachtree City, GA & Sweden Cynthia Winika, New Paltz, NY Daniella Woolf, Santa Cruz, CA

About Catherine Nash: A long time resident of Tucson, Arizona, Catherine Nash, M.F.A. is an artist who freely mixes media in her work to express her ideas. Specializing in Japanese and Western hand papermaking, encaustic painting and mixed media drawing, Nash is a teaching artist who balances her studio work with artist-inresident teaching, lectures and workshops across the United States, as well as in professional studios and universities in eight European countries, Australia and Japan. She has published 4 educational DVDs on the art of papermaking and is currently writing a book that surveys international artists entitled “Contemporary Paper and Encaustic”. Her work has been included by invitation into numerous national and international exhibitions, most recently in Japan, Bulgaria, Poland and Australia. Her love of travel and different cultures has inspired her to live, exhibit, research and teach on four continents.


The 28 interviewed artists within the portfolio section of Contemporary Paper and Encaustic will include:


Artist Lynette Haggard has also blogged about Nash, her work and this project at: http://lynettehaggard.blogspot. com/2011/11/catherinenash-tucson-az.html

Cat he r i ne Na s h

For additional information regarding this project: project/contemporary_paper_and_ encaustic_international_trends


Catherine Nash, M.F.A.Tucson, AZ

Making, creating, contriving and designing sculpture from steel with encaustic came from vast amounts of experimentation and trial and error. I am going to share with you what I have learned thus far. In this article of Techne’ I use steel as a 3-dimensional sketching technique. It enables my conscious mind to rest and encourages my unconscious to flow. This form of personal listening to explore and investigate spatial relationships of architecture without my conscious mind inhibiting what I perceive to be truth and fact. I started using this method while I was studying, Tor Norretranders,The User Illusion, when I was writing my architectural thesis. My process of 3d sketching -- I prefer to use steel instead of wood because it is very fast. When you are in the moment, there is very little time think rationally. To illustrate this process, I have chosen to deconstruct a sculpture I call Piranha, created back in 1998. It began as an architecture probe, contrived from 3d sketching. I came up with this fabrication process from studying architects and designers, mainly Lebbeus Woods, who was the main catalyst of my approach to building.




The original Piranha was a horizontal cantilevered structure that was a model of a mixed use building. It was a large urban space with many levels for living,

Piranha, 1999

dining and shopping. However, like life it changed throughout the years! I would say in 2005, it turned into a vertical hanging sculpture and was no longer an architecture model. The fragile model evolved into a rustic skeleton. Here is my process.


Piranha, Donated to the Encaustic Art Institute’s Permanent Collection, 2008. Steel + Encaustic 14”T X 4”W

Steel + Encaustic Michael Phillip Pearce

Hammered out flat

I hammer out the steel and make most of them as flat as possible.

I grab random pieces and just start welding them. Usually I begin with a spine or centering object. I normally work with a spine like that of mammal or animal it seems to be the organizing framework.

Refining the edges

This is where I stop sketching and start refining the form. I grind/ sand, and re-weld to finalize the form and make it as clean as possible.

Encaustic burning

In the final stages I burn wax into the metal with Map Gas. Map Gas gets much hotter than butane. Sometimes the art will catch on fire.


Tack welding the 3 dimensional sketch


I take some snips and just grab random scrap pieces of metal and cut them to an assortment of shapes. This is my palette of steel in conjunction with some another found objects or remnants form other fabrication projects.


Rough cut 22-25 gauge steel

Encaustic coloring

Layers of encaustic

I use a spray bottle filled with water for rapid cooling. This quickly solidifies the wax. Sometimes I use metal shavings mixed with melted wax to give it a molten look. I found that some colors are very delicate and may wipe off by just touching it. These are avoided because it defeats my purpose of the encaustic protective skin.

Piranha, detail




Mother’s Day, 11”W X 14”T

I can go through several variations of colors and textures, but I try and cater to the audience who is going to be seeing it or its final resting place so to speak. White burns the best into the steel and turns into a cobweb of wax. Once the structure is hot it is easy to keep building or changing the color.

For additional information please visit: Refer to the Lab Tab and Deleted Scenes.

M ic he l le B e l t o Many contemporary artists use paper wrapped over birch panels or paper as a collage element in their work. In Wax + Paper: Techniques for Combining Handmade Paper and Encaustic Paint, Michelle Belto introduces us to hand paper making so that we can make our own dimensional supports for encaustic painting. This is a hands-on book, with clear, visual steps to making paper supports in the studio with inexpensive equipment. The first half of the book explores the many ways paper can be wrapped, glued, stretched, pulp painted and made into sculpture. The second half of the book is full of techniques that can transform these amazing forms into works of art.


For additional information about Michelle Belto check out:


Techniques for Combining Handmade Paper and Encaustic Paint

Book Spotlight

Wax + Paper

The Encaustic Source of the Southwest Ampersand Encausticbord R&F Encaustic Paints and Mediums R&F Encaustic Tools Enkaustikos Hot Sticks and Hot Cakes Enkaustikos Damar Resin and Waxes


A r t i s a n - S a n t a Fe.c o m ART W O R KS H O PS I N SANTA F E

2601 Cerrillos Rd. 505.954.4179

Store Hours: Mon-Sat 9-6, Sun 12-5 A LB U Q U ER Q U E • SA NTA FE


Paula Roland’s

• Encaustic Workshops • DVD: Encaustic Monotypes-Painterly Prints with Heat and Wax • Anodized Aluminum Plates • HOTbox™ THE OPEN STUDIO LLC., SANTA FE, NM

Events 31 Fall

Sunny Days, Warm Nights at IEA’s Portland Encaustic Retreat Refresh. Replenish. Reconnect. Nurturing the Inner Artist. This was the theme for the International Encaustic Artists retreat, September 22-25, 2011, in Portland, OR. The setting for the retreat was McMenamans-Edgefield, a European style resort set on seventeen acres about ten miles outside Portland. Inspirational Voices: Encaustic Masters Juried Show The Columbia River Gallery in Troutdale (owner Donna Erwin) was the perfect setting to showcase the awesome talent of our encaustic artists. There were 70 artists in the exhibit, and 158 images. Best of Show went to Karl Kaiser , 1st Place: Andrea Schwartz-Feit, 2nd Place: Melinda Fellini, 3rd Place: Shaun Doll, Honorable Mention: Kanaan Kanaan, Honorable Mention: Karen Frey. The two Saturdays after the retreat, there were encaustic demonstrations at the gallery.

Presentation Day Melinda Fellini and Kelly Williams gave moving personal stories about giving oneself to art; Jef Gunn took us back into the minds of various artists’ statements to help inspire our own work; Kanaan Kanaan told his personal story of blending culture and religion together to create art, peace, and conversation; Bridget Benton spoke on art as a communication – a way to move creatively through the process; Shaun Doll answered questions about process, especially when you want to branch out into three dimensional or mixed media work; and Mark Rediske with his funny and fun stories, all woven together with his art. We all were inspired and recharged by their stories.

Demonstration Day There were four creativity stations, but the demonstrations never overlapped. That meant you could stay at a station and continue to make art or move from demo to demo and learn. This went on all day, with lots of materials provided to make as many projects as we could fit in. Presenters were Linda Womack-Surface work with pastels and wax crayons; Andrea Schwartz-Feit-Cold Wax; Kimberly Kent-Monoprints; Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch-Mixed Media Foundations; Pam Nichols-Painting on Paper, transfers and collage; Karl Kaiser and Manuela Kalestiantz-Carving high and low relief; Ellen Koment-Painting with dry pigments; Richard Frumess-Pigment Sticks; Binky Bergsman and Randi Harper-3-D, Unconventional surfaces such as paper clay and metal; Jef Gunn-Water Pigments; Peter Rossing-What’s new in Encaustics. The vendor tables were available all day and very lively. Lots of new products and information.

Lorna Strotz (Secretary), Lorna Kemp (Volunteers), and Margaret Bertrand (Chief Business Officer).




The Annual Membership Meeting and Banquet Chief Business Officer Margaret Bertrand talked about the highlights of the IEA year – membership more than doubled, a great new web page, two very successful exhibitions, and so much more.

Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch demonstrating mixed media techniques.

Marketing Day Moderator Robyn Andersen introduced the day’s presenters and they gave an overview of their area of expertise. The experts were Eileen Goldenberg-Marketing for Artists; Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch and Robyn Andersen-Publishing; Giving Back/Grants/Helping in the Community-Kelly Williams; Galleries-Jason Horejs; PR/Media/Workshops/ Fairs & Festivals-Robyn Andersen and Judy Wise-Photographing Your Artwork: Paul Bogardus; How to Do a Video: Aaron Kelly; Packing and Shipping: Larraine Seiden and Lisa Kairos; Framing: Donna Erwin; Loose Ends.

Eileen Goldenberg giving her marketing presentation.

EncaustiCon 2012 We also learned about next year’s event from Michelle Belto. It will be held in beautiful San Antonio, Texas September 6-9, 2012, with an additional full week of post convergence workshops that will be held at the Southwest School of Art. The encaustiCon official hotel is the historic El Tropicano. Registration will begin around February 1, 2012. This year’s theme initiates an international conversation about the role of encaustic as a medium and/or a modality. For more information contact Michelle at, with IEA in the subject line. All of us are eager to reserve our place!




Attendees, presenters, planners, and vendors join together for a group photo.


The afternoon was filled with individual critiques in many topic areas so you could talk one on one about your work and where you want it to go. Before and after the retreat were many workshops, an opportunity to play all day with a topic and/or technique.

How Bees Make Wax It all begins on a flower in a field. Bees collect nectar from flowers and bring it to the hive where it becomes either beeswax or honey. A bee’s diet consists primarily of honey, and any honey not consumed by the bees or in the raising of brood is stored as surplus and is ultimately consumed in the winter months when no flowers are available. However, it is honey’s other use that interests us, its conversion into beeswax. The production of beeswax is essential to the bee colony. It is used to construct the combs in which the bees raise their brood and into which they store pollen and surplus honey for the winter. Worker bees, which live only around 35 days in the summer, develop special wax-producing glands on their abdomens (inner sides of the sternites of abdominal segments 4 to 7) and are most efficient at wax production during the 10th through the 16th days of their lives. From about day 18 until the end of its life, a bee’s wax glands steadily decline. Bees consume honey (6-8 pound of honey are need to produce a pound of wax) causing the special wax-producing glands to covert the sugar into wax which is extruded through small pores. The wax appears as small flakes on the bees’ abdomen. At this point the flakes are essentially transparent and only become white after being chewed. It is in the mastication process that salivary secretions are added to the wax to help soften it. This also accounts for its change in color. The exact process of how a bee transfers the wax scales from its abdomen to its mandibles was a mystery for years. It’s now understood to be processed in either of two ways. Most of the activities in the hive are cooperative so it should be no surprise that other worker bees are willing to remove the wax scales from their neighbors and then chew them. The other method is for the same bee extruding the wax to process her own wax scales. This is done using one hind leg to move a wax scale to the first pair of legs (forelegs). A foreleg then makes the final transfer to the mandibles where it is masticated, and then applied to the comb being constructed or repaired. Beeswax becomes soft and very pliable if the temperature is too high (it actually melts at 149 F). Likewise, it becomes brittle and difficult to manage if the temperature is too low. However, honeybees maintain their hive at a temperature of around 95 degrees Fahrenheit, which is perfect for the manipulation of beeswax, not too hot to be drippy and not too cold to be brittle. A honeycomb constructed from beeswax is nothing short of a triumph of engineering. It consists of hexagon shaped cylinders (six-sided) that fit naturally side-by-side. It has been proven by mathematicians that making the cells into hexagons is the most efficient shape. The smallest possible amount of wax is used to contain the highest volume of honey. It has also been shown to be one of the strongest possible shapes while using the least amount of material. The color of beeswax comprising a comb is at first white and then darkens with age and use. This is especially true if it is used to raise brood. Pigmentation in the wax can result in colors ranging from white, through shades of yellow, orange, and red all the way to brown. The color has no significance as to the quality of the wax (other than its aesthetic appeal). Formerly, wax was bleached using ionization, sulphuric acid, or hydrogen peroxide which resulted in the inclusion of toxic compounds. Bleaching has now been abandoned by reputable candle manufacturers and other suppliers of beeswax. If beeswax has a medicinal smell, chances are that it has been chemically altered or bleached. Here at Beeswax Co. LLC, we only use North American beeswax that is 100% pure... definitely not chemically processed. Smell one of our candles for proof of its purity! by

Encaustic Art Institute Magazine Fall 2011  
Encaustic Art Institute Magazine Fall 2011  

This is a online art magazine produced by the Encaustic Art Istitute located in Cerrillos, New Mexico. A Non Profit Organization.