Artist Statement - The Waxes


For the Love of Bees:  Works in Hot and Cold Wax 

It all begins with a flower and a honey bee.  Bees collect nectar and pollen from flowers and transport them to hives where either beeswax or honey is made.  Artists discovered how to use beeswax in their works centuries ago.  The practice comes to us from ancient Greece and perhaps even earlier.

While there is evidence of use throughout art history, waxes are in the midst of a revival today for many reasons.  I am drawn to them because of their permanence and historical background plus the brilliance of color and visual effect.  The painting also hardens quickly, which is an advantage over working with slow-drying oils.  And, then there’s the aroma.  My studio smells like honey while I am working making it a delightful experience.  Bees have even dropped by as if they have found their home.

The wax process is simple.  Pigment is mixed with beeswax and a resin and worked from a warm palette using a brush for hot wax applications. The final treatment is using a heat gun to fuse and bond the painting.  For cold wax, a solvent is added to the wax and pigment mixture softening it for application with a palette knife.  

My works are inspired by my life experiences.  I have had flying dreams since childhood and in my dreams I soar through the clouds looking down on the Earth.   My landscapes, therefore, resemble Google maps, which I use as source material when sketching my paintings.  Many of the images are taken from land formations surrounding the Arkansas River.  The color choices are solely mine and based on color theory.  Some are analogous color schemes, some complementary, and others are taken from proven selections on the color wheel.   

I also enjoy exploring with beeswax to see how far I can take the medium.  I have entombed dyed papers, a by-product of making silk scarves, with beeswax and finished the solid wood top of a table I made with a mixture of pigment, beeswax and damar crystals. 

IMG 5043