The Horizon Series of Encaustic works is a contemplation of the intriguing and soothing effect of gazing into the distance. In this series I have chosen to express visually that feeling of wonderment and release you get whilst gazing out at the ocean horizon. I am intrigued by how the colours and texture of the ocean are influenced by the colours and light in the sky.
The ever elusive horizon fascinates, whether it be land or sea. Looking wistfully at the horizon encourages us to contemplate what’s beyond, recognising that there is more out there worth exploring. The horizon draws our attention outwards rather than inwards, which can be refreshing and uplifting and can give us the courage to move forward. For myself, the horizon means a sense of space, freedom and instantaneous exhalation. Running a busy household with 4 children, I get this sense of peace when I allow myself the time to gaze into the distance over the ocean at Anna Bay at Port Stephens.
Encaustic medium is beeswax melted with damar resin crystals. The damar resin raises the melting point of the beeswax and also adds lustre and durability. I add white pigment to the medium and lay many layers onto board, fusing with a blowtorch between each layer. This becomes my platform which I then add my colour to. Using my hands, I rub in dry pigments over many layers and fuse with the blowtorch between each layer. I begin with an idea of how I want the piece to look, but many times, as the beeswax can be so unpredictable, it takes on a life of its own. It is a very messy process, I have to wear a mask to protect my lungs from the fine dust, and by the end of the day I’m usually covered in blue!
I first started to research Encaustics in 2009 when I was reading an article and came across the word ‘Encaustic” and had to look it up to find out what it was. I instantly became obsessed with it. I loved the process of making my own medium, the smell of the beeswax melting, measuring and mixing and playing around to find out what it could do. Over the years, I have developed my own style of working with encaustics, and love being surprised when the unexpected happens in my work. I love working with my hands over the wax, I love the unexpectedness of the medium, and I love the fact that my artwork has this beautiful subtle long-lasting aroma that wafts from its place on the wall.
Encaustic lends itself beautifully to images of water because the natural element of beeswax reflects the natural texture and translucency of water. When laying the white encaustic platform for my colour, I can choose to scrape back any natural bumps that occur with the many layers, which will leave a very flat surface which emulates a calm sea or sky. Or, I can deliberately leave these bumps, to echo the waves and movement that happens in less calm waters. Also, the unpredictability of how the wax responds each time I fuze the colour on the surface, reflects the unpredictability of the ocean and skies.