I’m an artist from New York – via Philadelphia – working in beeswax and oil, primarily. I worked in the film industry as a scenic artist for about fifteen years, which really led to my love of materials as well as anything filmic.
The paintings that I’ve been doing were mostly about non-peopled abandoned architecture. These kinds of environments would show both what they are and what they were, so it becomes kind of a temporal layering. This subject started to give way to imagining what people were behind these places, and it’s just evolved into the portraiture that I’m doing now.
Going back to the film influence, aesthetically speaking, historic photography has always interested me, and the paintings that I’m doing now are very large scale (6′ square) ‘historic’ portraits that mimic these tintypes and daguerreotypes. I use film stills as reference and subject matter for the paintings –
Figures from history that interest me become the subjects, and I like to ‘cast’ people that I know who have the same flavor, becoming another form of temporal layering – contemporaries of mine, from different periods of history, captured in a Victorian era ‘photograph’.
I teach at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Wayne Art Center, Fleisher Art Memorial and Woodmere Art Museum – courses about color theory, color symbolism and the cross-pollination of art and film. I also teach private lessons and classes in my Germantown studio.
There are so many good resources out there for encaustic painting. Here’s a brief description from R & F Handmade Paints, a leading brand and all around great encaustic hub:
Encaustic is a wax based paint (composed of beeswax, resin and pigment), which is kept molten on a heated palette. It is applied to an absorbent surface and then reheated in order to fuse the paint….It’s known for opulence. Encaustic is perhaps the most beautiful of all artists’ paints, and it is as versatile as any 21st century medium. It can be polished to a high gloss, carved, scraped, layered, collaged, dipped, cast, modeled, sculpted, textured, and combined with oil. It cools immediately, so that there is no drying time, yet it can always be reworked.
As for how I work with encaustic, I make my own paint and extend the color until it’s very translucent. Extending the color desaturates and quiets the palette, which suits the look I want. I also love inky, sepia tones from vintage photography. My paintings are built up through many many layers. Since I paint more or less realistically, I usually work light to dark in order to make the most of the luminosity of the wax. This also helps to allow light to move through the layers. I use oil paint as well. These paintings are all on braced panels.
NEW! Wax Portrait Gallery www.waxportraitgallery.com