Encaustics

Encaustic painting utilizes heated beeswax mixed with pigment, a tradition dating back more than a thousand years. This encaustic series started in 2002 are abstract musings on my surroundings. 

I think of my paintings as environmental abstractions. My approach is a kind of ordering of my world; a progression that reflects the layers of the environment, whether urban or wild, and also the passing of time. Inspirations vary and change abstractly in the process, sometimes triggered by memory associations via the incorporation of a sketch or prior artwork. Space and light is reflected in my work, although the human presence is also referred to, just as we associate locations with human presence.  In this sense they are imbued with a history of people as well as nature.

Rather than begin with a pre-meditated subject, I add layers of horizontal bands or strips and allow the composition to evolve over months and years. I do this by cutting and tacking painted canvases and scrapped materials from the studio to build up the surface and to trigger new formal relationships and meanings. Through adaptive construction, the paint, tacks, selected studio debris, staples and paper all show, become an experiential part of the artwork as a whole. Older unresolved paintings may be cut and collaged to become newly active parts of the work; reclaimed pieces of the puzzle. 

  Reflected in this process is the yearning for expanse among the discord and congestion of city life, or else the sensations associated with emersion in nature. I am drawn to the subtle play between what appears on the surface as a fragment of canvas, but in the context of the greater composition it becomes a shape, a field, or a humming vibration of light and color.

The horizontal bands often present in my work not only hint at landscape but also become juxtaposed expressions of windows within and on top of windows - temporal planes of existence - both remembered and peripatetically discovered in the creative process.  The search is resolved when the rhythms of color, light and shape resonate with a sense of place that feels real and remembered. 

 

  DEPARTURE , 2007 Encaustics and mixed media on panel, 17 1/2 x 14 1/2 inches                                                                                                                                    Copyright Christopher Blyth

DEPARTURE, 2007 Encaustics and mixed media on panel, 17 1/2 x 14 1/2 inches                                                                                                                                    Copyright Christopher Blyth