Monday, March 19, 2007

New Media Monday; Encaustic

Tony Scherman, "Grace Kelly" from the "Blue Highway" Series, 2001, encaustic on canvas, 40 x 40 inches.

Tony Scherman, "MM" from a series entitled "The Junkies" 2006
encaustic on canvas, 84" x 96"

There are many artists who use encaustic, which is a painting medium made up of pigments and hot wax. It has been used for over a thousand years - dating back to ancient Egypt. One of the better known modern artists to use encaustic is Jasper Johns. His well flag and target paintings from the 50s utilized collage and encaustic. I'm going to spotlight the work of Tony Scherman - a contemporary artist who uses encaustic for most of his work. Like many mediums, digital images of wax paintings never do them justice. In person, many encaustics have a depth and sheen that is difficult to place: more matte than oil, but more depth of color than most acrylic paintings. If you've never used encaustic, I would recommend trying it, though it is very difficult to master. A great place to start is with Joanen Mattera's book titled "The Art of Encaustic". As an artist who uses encaustic herself, Mattera interviews Scherman, Johns, and other artists and has specific instructions on how to best utilize the medium.

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