“Before the Oceans Rose,” encaustic with lights, 2023
about the paintings
All these artworks are painted in encaustic. Encaustic paint is made from beeswax and color. It looks like a big bar of colored soap and I melt it on a large metal surface. Then I pick up the color with my brush, apply it to a prepared board and repeat. The paint cools immediately, and thus becomes hard. Next I use a heat gun or torch to “burn in” the color, or to smooth the surface. It’s hard to tell online, but in person my painted surfaces can mimic stained glass. Other times, I paint out thin sheets of it, and construct wax flowers. The beauty of this medium is it’s versatility.
Four of the paintings take their names from the seasons: Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. Each painting depicts the ideal weather in the central panel, and the “new normal” (meaning weather extremes) on the sides. The year I painted the “Winter” painting, there was almost no snow, in a region that usually had multiple snowfalls.
The painting “Surfing” is a somewhat humorous look at what we will do when the oceans rise-take up surfing! On the sides of this surfer, two headed frogs, jellyfish and wasps float in an all too warm sea. I painted this after reading how rising ocean temperature cause some species to flourish, and others to mutate or die. Clearly the winners in a too warm ocean will be jellyfish.
“Balancing on Ice” depicts a fragile human baby on melting ice flow. A polar bear and a walrus sit beside him, and the ends of the painting depict severe weather.
“Listen” asks us to listen to all the planets animals, who are reminding us about the nature of global warming. A large figure above the women throws fireballs, representing the rising temperature of the planet.