About five years ago I began incorporating bees’ wax mixed with tree sap into my artwork. I initially began experimenting with the many techniques you can use to lay wax down onto fine art photography prints, different surfaces and papers.
I love the way you can build textures upon textures, enhance colour and areas of important to guide the viewer around my artwork but most of all I love the ethereal feel the wax gives my artwork. I get lost in my wax “darkroom” as I heat, fuse, paint and scrape revealing my encapsulated artwork.
Many people are intrigued when they see my original photo-encaustic wall art, often initially thinking it is a canvas but as they see the photograph up closes they simply just have to touch when they see the texture and depth in the piece. After inspection, next comes the question: “What is it?”
Photo-encaustics is a lovely mixed media technique that uses beeswax and dammar resin as a medium to create encapsulated art work. The official description of photo-encaustics is as follows –
Encaustics means “to burn in or fuse.” First practiced by Greek artists as far back as the 5th century B.C, encaustic combines beeswax with dry pigment and tree resin to bind pigment. The “caustic” part of the term indicates that heat is used to melt and blend the layers of wax into a unified piece. Historically, Encaustics have been used to paint Egyptian funeral portraits and by Greeks to depict mythology in art. In the 20th century, encaustics made a revival with well-known artists such as Van Gogh and Picasso.
As well as creating original artwork, I am being commissioned to create photo-encaustic artwork of owners’ horses. The end result being a one of a kind artwork filled with texture and depth.
I really enjoy using wax and pan colours to enhance my photographs and build on texture and colour. Some of my original photo-encaustic work is re-photographed and then the image is hand-printed onto beautiful printing papers, which adds another level of depth and an emotive layer to my photographic work.
It is an ever-evolving creative process that I love. I think it stems back to my art college days when I learned the process of Batik, where you create textile wall hangings with silks and wax along with the hands-on process of being in a traditional darkroom before the world went digital mad!
My artwork is focused on horses and the natural world around us. I believe that creating photo-encaustic artwork not only enhances my fine art photography; it gives my work a deeper connection to the natural world using nature’s gift of bee’s wax.
Esther Marie Gallery
86 Huddersfield Road, Newhey