Sunday, June 27, 2010

Elise Wagner: Part II Announcing Solar Flare Show

Some of you may recall the candid and informative interview I posted with Elise Wagner, back in May. Well, she's been working very hard and her show goes up this week! Here's your sneak peak.

Elise Wagner: Solar Flare at Butters Gallery
July 1 - 31, 2010
opening reception: Thursday, July 1  6:00 - 9:00 pm
Butters Artist Event  Saturday, July 10  2:00-4:00 pm
Wagner will discuss her process, methods and motivations for her current body of work. She will also discuss the elaborate layering process of making her paintings.

Solar Riddle 3, 2010
encaustic, monotype and oil on panel
12" x 12"

Solar Riddle 1, 2010
encaustic, monotype and oil on panel
12" x 12"
Solar Strait, 2010
encaustic and oil on panel
36" x 36"

Solar Riddle 9,  2010
encaustic, monotype and oil on panel
12" x 12"

Solar Riddle 8,  2010 
encaustic, monotype and oil on panel 
12" x 12"

Solar Riddle 5, 2010
encaustic, monotype and oil on panel
12" x 12"


Solar Flare
My current body of work investigates solar flares, sun storms and the magnetic forces that they embody. I find it fascinating that the sun is so fragile and enormous and that all living things on our planet so rely on it. This duality and the beautiful violence of the image itself is captivating.

These images began showing up in my work as early as 1996. Two paintings from that time are part of the exhibition. Each are made with mostly found materials; linoleum, lath, shingle and encaustic. I originally came across images of solar flares in a 1957 book about weather patterns.

Now, the relevance of their impact is ever more striking on our modern world. With the advancement of satellite and digital technology, it is possible to observe solar flares more closely and in three dimensions. Recently, NASA scientists have predicted a peak in the occurrence of solar flares that will bring on a “perfect storm” impacting human life by 2012.

Creating a magma-like texture with molten beeswax and using the fire of a blowtorch for these images of sun storms has created a somewhat coincidental but symbiotic feel to the overall result and process of their making. The work has taken on a new physicality in an attempt to interpret movement and the massive force of solar flares on the sun.

Painting for me acts as a metaphor for all that that is unknown, intangible and incomprehensible to us as human beings. Though my work is driven by my own visualization and nostalgia of science’s attempt towards a definition of order, the anachronism in the work lies in its interpretation and contemporary quality.

Elise Wagner, 2010

work is viewable online at

Butters Gallery
520 NW Davis 2nd. Fl.
Portland, OR 97209


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lisa Pressman Artist Interview

Lisa's work on her wall
photo: Lisa Pressman

Lynette (LH): Can you share with my readers a little about yourself?
Lisa: I am a painter living in New Jersey with my husband Jay Rosenblatt, a photographer. We have two boys, 22 and 17. I am busy painting, teaching, working and all the other stuff.

Building a Bridge
24 x 24 wax and oil
photo: Lisa Pressman

Below the Surface
24 x 24 oil and wax
photo: Jay Rosenblatt

LH: Where did you grow up and what (if any) were there any early influences on your work?
Lisa: I grew up in Rahway NJ . The youngest of 4, I spent alot of time alone or on excursions with my Mom. She was interested in acting and was always in local plays. I remember helping her with her lines for numerous performances. When I was a teenager she began studying painting with a second generation abstract expressionist. Every week she came home with paintings to show me. She entered juried shows, sold some work, and actually won a few prizes. One of my earliest memories is being led by the hand by her around the Metropolitan Museum of Art. My father's family business was Rahway Lumber, a lumber and hardware store. I spent time being around paint chips,wood scraps, nails, and the lumber, I used to love to watch the guys make the paint. In college my father would take me to the lumberyard on Sundays.

That was literally..... I would come home with wood scraps and materials for my sculpture. I remember my mother, once in a while, would wash the wood shavings and dust out of my father's hair in the kitchen sink. That wood thing is in my blood.

Also, traveling to Israel when I was twelve had a huge impact. The contrasts, the old and the new, and being exposed for the first time to a different way of viewing the world was life changing.
 24 x 24 wax and oil
photo: Jay Rosenblatt
LH: Where do you live now?
Lisa: I live in West Orange NJ

LH: Did you receive any formal art training? If yes where and what did you major in?
Lisa: I studied ceramics , sculpture and painting at Douglass College. I went to Bard for my MFA in sculpture but came out with a MFA in painting.
LH: At what point in your life did you become interested in making art?
Lisa: I starting making pottery when I was about 15 and I thought that was what I was going to do. I fell in love with clay. It wasn't until college that I became interested in making art.

LH: Was there a certain point when you decided you were primarily an artist?
Lisa: I decided when I was in college. In the Douglass College art department there were some very interesting professors. They changed the way I thought about myself and what I was making. I have great respect for teachers, they can change lives.

LH: Can you describe bit about your work in general.
Lisa: I create work that slowly reveals itself through process, over time. I am interested in the unexpected moments in an intensely focused journey: intent and accident. Surfaces are luminous, textural, and meditative while, at the same time, they invite the viewer to explore, as an archeologist would dig for treasures hidden deep in the layers. The paintings are archeologically rich, referencing mapping, literature, and personal journals. Mark-making and collage elements add to an abstract narrative of marked time, places lost and re-found.

LH: What is your media?
Lisa: I am using wax, oil paint, graphite, india ink and papers.

Works on Paper 
12 x 12"
photo: Jay Rosenblatt

LH: What is your current work about?
Lisa: Recently, I set a few months aside to “not paint” Well “not painting” produced so much work. A new series came from that. It is so much easier to talk about the work in the past then the work I am in the middle of doing. My work informs me so right now, I am letting it. The new work is opening up what was underneath the paintings from my last series. There is an energy, an unraveling, a transparency, mark making, calligraphic line, a simplicity in the work. I am learning how to stop. I feel that I am using wax for its wonderful properties- translucency, transparency and for creating space. And I am using the oil paint for color. You will find remnants of journal pages, paper. This work along with most of my entire body of work addresses transformation, change and time passing.

LH: What is your workspace like?
Lisa: I work in the garage attached to our house. It is a bit tight with not enough natural light but I am happy to have the space. Having the studio in the house makes life easier for me.

Lisa Pressman's studio
photo: Lisa Pressman
LH: Describe how you work in your studio. How do you get "in a groove" and what inspires you?
Lisa: I try to be the studio by 10:30 and putter around for a while. Clean up, organize and then I look at what's around and start to "play".

I am inspired by the process itself, which includes the fear, the courage, the self-doubt, and the bravado it takes to get to those few Zen moments that make a painting work. I am inspired by the shadows on the walls, the colors and smells of the seasons, gardening, books, poems, and words and other artists.

Lisa's painting table with years of paint
photo: Lisa Pressman

LH: Do you ever get stuck with your work and how do you remedy this?
Lisa: Yes, I get stuck. Gardening, walking, using a different material, looking at books, taking pictures can help. A nap, also a few days break is always good.

LH: Do you have particular habits that you think support your art practice?
Lisa: Being in the studio.

LH: What are you reading right now?
Lisa: My Father's Secret War, books on colleges for my 17 year old.

Lisa Pressman's working wall in her studio
photo: Lisa Pressman
LH: Do you have other jobs other than making art?
Lisa: Oh, I have been waiting tables for 25 years. I also teach workshops and classes.

LH: Where would you like to be in 5 years as far as your art making?
Lisa: I have been thinking of installations.......walls of paintings.
I would like to be able to travel to paint or teach. I would like to do an artist's residency.

LH: Do you have any upcoming shows that you'd like to mention?
Lisa: I will be having a solo show at the Rosenfeld Gallery in Philadelphia in January 2011.

To see more of Lisa's work and to read her blog, visit:

Monday, June 14, 2010

David Clark: Artist Interview — Flow and Control Show

 Flow Series: Red Arrow #8
36" X 12" X 3"
Cast and poured wax on panel

Can you share with my readers a little about yourself?  Sure. I'm 44 and live in Palm Springs California. I was born in England and grew up in the United States. My mother is an artist and my stepmother was also, so I grew up mixing paints, stretching canvas and seeing lots of art. I've painted my whole life, but I began my creative life as an actor. I started working when I was really young, then went to N.Y.U. for acting. And doing theater and television commercials were my bread and butter through most of my twenties. I worked with some really amazing artists like Travis Preston, Peter Sellars and Robert Wilson, and a highlight of my theater career was getting booed off the stage at La Scala on my 21st birthday. That was a defining moment for me. Once you've been booed by 3000 people, nothing frightens you. 

After leaving my acting career I went to work in television production, and I worked on the production staff of "Sex & the City" for six years as executive producer Michael Patrick King's assistant. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of something creatively that was both such a joy to work on and received so well by the public. So after that job I thought, well, it's not going to get better than this in TV, so I retired from that and started painting full time. And that was three years ago. I told myself, I would give myself two years of working without showing anything to anyone and if after that point I thought the work had merit, I would start showing it to people. And that was last May when I went up to Wax Works West to take a workshop with Rodney Thompson. It was the first time I had shared any of my work with anyone other than my husband. 

Color Palette for Flow Series

Please describe bit about your work in general—what is it about, your process. Right now, my work is about colors and symbols. And I use a lot of found objects in my work. I'm inspired by them. It's a nostalgia thing. The history of the object, or the symbol or the idea, and then taking it and suspending it, or sealing it in wax. Or giving it a different context. And of course Red Arrows have been a fixture in my work since the beginning, and most people want to know what they are all about. For me the Red Arrow has a personal significance which I relate to a point of departure, a sense of movement, of direction. I am inspired by it, because it represents a place in my history as a creative person where anything is possible, where any idea can be realized in whatever form without judgement and without limits. So, it's a powerful symbol for me. A talisman even, and it's always coming up in my work. 

 David in front of his "Working Wall"

How many of the Encaustic Conferences at Montserrat have you attended? - This is my first Encaustic Conference at Montserrat. I learned about it last year from Judy, Wendy and Daniella at Wax Works West. I'm very excited to be going, and I'm really honored to be part of the juried show. 

Did you create this work specifically for this juried show?  I did. I really took Joanne, Joseph and Maggie's challenge seriously. That is, to create new work for the show. I had been thinking for awhile about doing some pieces with cast wax, and a few years ago I had been experimenting with doing dripped oil paintings, but they never panned out. So I went back to the idea of dripping, but with wax this time. And I knew I somehow wanted to incorporate different technical aspects of working with the medium in the work, and I decided to do a whole series inspired by the idea of flow and control, both in it's concrete and abstract sense. I incorporated brushed, dripped and cast wax into most of the pieces I made. And, I knew I wanted to work with color. 

In my practice, up until January, color took a bit of a backseat in most of my work. I'd buy color, lots of it, but I'd never use it. I had all of this paint and I thought well, where would I go with this? What does the idea of flow and control mean to me. I mean, it obviously had me thinking about the physical properties of the medium, but creatively it had me thinking about the abstract ideas of flow and control in my own practice, and that's really where the jumping off point was for me. One would say my work up until that point had been very meditative and restrained, controlled even. So I thought, well, let's have a little bit more flow creatively. Don't be so careful. Be messy. Throw the paint around a bit. Risk wasting it. Risk it being a mess. 

The resulting pieces are a success for me more in that they reflect my internal battle with the abstract idea of flow and control in my own work. And of course I knew that there would be arrows involved, and I kept thinking well, the Red Arrow has always been a point of departure for me, a point of inspiration, of possibility, and I thought the color should come from them. So, that's where it started, and ironically the first piece I made was the one they chose for the show. The pieces evolved from there, but maybe the first impulse was the strongest. I've made 7 pieces so far in this series, and they'll be more, so I thank Joanne Mattera, Joseph Carroll and Maggie Cavallo for inspiring me and throwing the guantlet down, so to speak, to push the envelope and create new work. 

What is your workspace like? I work in the garage of our house. It's my studio now. It's cold in the winter and hot in the summer and I have lots of crickets watching me work. I love it. It's my place.

Do you have other jobs other than making art? Right now my job is to make art. That's what I do. I work every day whether it's actually in my studio making work, making presentation boxes and cataloging work or working on my website. I'm lucky to have worked as an actor for many years, because it teaches you discipline. Your job is finding work as an actor, and being an artist is about showing up everyday and doing it. Making something. So it's important for me to try and do as much as I can everyday. 

Do you have a web site/blog etc. you'd like to share? I do. I have a website It's still a work in progress. Photographing the work and putting it online continues to be one of the most difficult parts of my practice. Trying to balance the photos correctly and size them and have the images pop online. It's a battle for me.
Thank you David!

Shelley Gilchrist: Artist Interview —
Flow and Control Show

Copper Falls, 2010
 43" x 16" x 1-1/4"
encaustic on panel

Lynette (LH): Please share with us a bit about yourself, your background and your art.
Shelley Gilchrist: When I was first aware of creative stirrings, I was in my mid-thirties, starting my family and finishing law school – so this was either a reactive step or an evolutionary one.  Whether it was the right move for the wrong reason or for the right reason is anyone’s call.  I had always looked at art seriously in museums and spent long evenings with art books, but there is such a chasm between looking and making.  As my children grew, I began to find pockets of time to take classes, first in La Jolla and then in Chicago.  Eventually I felt I was missing some serious arrows in my quiver and made the commitment to a second bachelor’s degree program in order to get the foundation, studio critiques and art history classes that seemed necessary to fill in the blanks.  This was really a commitment on the part of my family, too, and I’m very grateful to have that kind of support.  I was chiefly an oil painter when I finished school in 2000, making representational work in the feminist narrative.

Cascade Range, 2010
28" x 34" x 3/4"
encaustic on 5 panels

Among the women artists I admired 10 years ago were Eva Hesse, Anne Truitt, Elizabeth Murray and Lee Bontecou.  It’s hard to believe only one is alive now.  Their art forms are so distinct from each other that these artists would never be categorized together, but I thought one thing they shared is that they had “broken out” in some way, or broken through in terms of their ideas of what their art could be.  While I continued to paint narratively, I gradually started to follow some of my own impulses, and used differently shaped grounds instead of rectangular canvases.  In 2003 I happened to take an encaustic workshop at Oxbow; it’s a serious summer school in Michigan run by the School of the Art Institute, but to an artist, it’s summer camp! 

Exploring the inherent visual and tactile properties of wax took my interest away from external subject matter.  Like many artists who discover wax, I wanted to see what I could make it do – it was a fresh paradox:  to make new work in this very old medium that seemed to have limitless possibilities.  For awhile I tried every technique I could learn, as many of us do.  Focussing on the process led me from image-based work into abstraction.  When I got a scroll saw, I was able to create pieces with curved, shaped grounds and wax “molten” surfaces that are formally consistent.  This work loosely references landscapes and is a 2-D/3-D hybrid.  The first time I showed one of these pieces was at the 2008 conference, and Joanne Mattera chose it for an award, so I felt emboldened to enter it into other shows, both painting and sculpture.

While my art-making has been freed-up, so to speak, it has also been slowed down.  I’m always solving fabrication problems and learning woodworking skills, and a piece has to be well-resolved before I pick up a brush, since substrate and surface are so interdependent.  There’s no forgiveness:   if I change my mind about the ground while working on the surface, I have to start the piece again.  These days I often exhibit with two sculpture groups, 3-D-12 and Chicago Sculpture International.

LH: How many of these conferences have you attended?
Shelley: This is my 3rd conference. About 6 months after I attended my first (2008), I started FusedChicago, since the Midwest seemed to lack representation at the conference and I wondered where the encaustic artists in my area were hiding out.  (I only knew of three!)  Now we have about 35 active members, mostly in the Chicago and the ‘burbs, and a few more far-flung (Kansas, Ohio).  We’ve had two members’ exhibits so far, plus a gallery visit, a studio visit, and a monoprint workshop.  So you could say the atmosphere of the conference came home with me, but I think it’s a terrific weekend to return to here at Montserrat:  a chance to meet friends and colleagues and pick up new tips, see new tools and colors, and get refreshed on the techniques I haven’t used in awhile. 

LH: Did you create work especially for the Flow and Control Show?
Shelley: The two pieces that are in the Flow and Control exhibit are sculptural paintings that I happened to be making in the early spring – they are right smack in the stream of my current work:  I have made some installation landscape pieces (on multiple shaped panels), and this winter I also distilled a little more, using single panels. It’s amazing how difficult I am finding it to work reductively.  Who knew?  The good artists make it look so easy!  My hope for a piece like Copper Falls is that viewers find it to be not as much a painting as a presence in the room, exerting quiet energy.  (The actual Copper Falls is well worth the trip to the Upper Peninsula in Michigan – beautiful copper water.)

Shelley Gilchrist in her studio

LH: Where is do you work?
Woodworking I do in the basement or garage. My studio, the wax zone, is over the garage, and that’s pretty much wood-dust-free. I have had a studio at home only for four years.  It’s convenient, rent-free, and I never have a reason not to work, which is a mixed blessing.  Making art is what I do full-time, and it’s an isolating practice, so I definitely have to make an effort to get out and see people.  As well as FusedChicago, I am an organizer of a Chicago area networking group called the Artists’ Breakfast Group – we meet weekly over breakfast, with occasional dinners throughout the year, and we have annual Caffeine exhibits.  It’s loose and friendly; if you’re an artist, you can just pull up a chair and join the conversation -  Midwestern in the best sense!

My website is (soon to be an independent site; right now it’s linked directly to my gallery on a group site).  I contribute to our FusedChicago blog and I write the Artists’ Breakfast Group blog

Thank you Shelley!

Michelle Thrane: Artist Interview
— Flow and Control Show

Hot Glyphs
20 x 26"
encaustic on paper

Lynette (LH): Can you share with my readers a little about yourself?
Michelle: I am an artist, I live in Arlington Heights, a suburb of Chicago. My art studio is in my home. I have BFA from Ohio State University. I volunteer at the Art Institute of Chicago.  I love to travel, and I’m planning a trip to Africa. I’m already thinking about two series of encaustic paintings based on images and impressions of Africa.

I paint primarily with encaustics. Over the years I have painted with acrylics, worked with mixed media, digital techniques, and photography. But for the last five years I have focused on encaustics. I believe encaustic techniques give new dimensions to my work and give more depth to the ideas that I had played with in previous work. My recent work has, I think, taken on more cohesiveness since I started painting with encaustics.

LH: Please describe bit about your work in general—what is it about, your process etc.
Michelle: My work is generally abstract. I seldom begin with a preconceived idea of what the final painting will look like. Instead, the painting evolves and emerges as I work. I particularly like working on paper, but I do sometimes work on board or canvas.

My recent paintings use glyph-like markings. The glyph drawings are done with water-based paint.   When that dries, I start painting with encaustics.

I like creating a series of paintings and then taking a break from that series and experimenting with new directions. My last series included about twenty paintings on paper, but now I’m doing a few paintings on boards as well as trying to finish work I had put aside. After the conference, I will probably go back to working on paper.

Cool Glyphs
20 x 26"
encaustic on paper

LH: How many of the Encaustic Conferences at Montserrat have you attended?
Michelle: This is my first conference at Montserrat. I’m very excited about attending, and I am looking forward to the conference. Last year, I joined FusedChicago, and at the first FusedChicago meeting that I attended, the talk was about the Montserrat conference and how much everyone had learned, about all the great art, and the camaraderie with fellow artists.   I decided then that I would try to attend this year.

Dark Riffs
12 x 12" 
encaustic on clayboard

LH: Did you create this work specifically for this juried show?
Michelle: I have two encaustic paintings, Cool Glyphs and Hot Glyphs, in the Flow and Control show.   They were not painted for a specific show, but as part of a series of works on paper. I used to paint for specific shows, sometimes as a way to give myself a deadline. I have found, however, that when I paint on an almost daily basis, my work is better. Also, I prefer to develop my ideas and see where they take me rather than “hopping around,” trying to meet the requirements of a show.

LH: What is your workspace like? If you have photos of your space that would be of interest.
Michelle: My studio is in my house. I paint in one room and store paintings in another. My computer and printer is in a third room. I have also worked in a studio outside my home. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Right now, I like the idea that if I shut down for the day and then have an idea later in the evening, I can go upstairs and work for an hour or two, or even throw a load of laundry in the washer while I wait for the wax to melt!

LH: Do you have other jobs other than making art?
Michelle: In recent years, I have worked as a free-lance market researcher, doing both in-depth interviews and focus group moderating.

Michelle: I just recently published my first website.   I am very excited that I was able to create the site myself after a short tutorial from my daughter-in-law.   I hope to have more work on the site soon:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Laura Tyler: Artist Interview — Flow and Control Show

This is a trailer for Laura's video, Sister Bee. You can learn more about this video at

Lynette (LH): Can you share with my readers a little about yourself?
Laura: I live in Boulder, Colorado with my husband, Andy Schwarz and our fluttery dog, Hazel.  Andy  works as a web developer and I'm a painter who uses encaustic to make elemental, abstract images of plants.  I also make films including the 2006 beekeeping documentary, "Sister Bee."  Together Andy and I manage between 15 and 20 colonies of honeybees.  We sell raw honey and candles at our local farmer's market each fall.
5" x 4"
encaustic and ink on panel

Old Fashioned Rocketry
5" x 4"
encaustic and ink on panel

5" x 4"
encaustic and ink on panel

LH: Please describe bit about your work in general-what is it about, your process etc.

Laura: I am a materialist.  I believe the physical properties of the materials I use are part of the viewer's experience of the artwork. Gesture is also important to me.  Since I find it difficult draw expressively in wax I use multiple processes including editing to make gestural pieces that capitalize on the physical properties of wax, specifically its lively surface and ability to carry light and pigment. Puddles of wax equal emotion to me.  Line equals story.

I start by doing large scale drawings of plants from life using black ink. I then use a cropping tool to zero on on small areas of each drawing that are exciting.  I cut the exciting bits out, shuffle them and then spend a long time looking.  I choose just a few to make into paintings.  Those get applied to panels and coated with four to eight layers of clear and pigmented encaustic.  They are distillations of the plants that inspired them.  No longer plants per se, but holding a plant-like quality and serving as objects of reverie, much as clouds do for the cloud-watcher.

My work is about transformation.  One of the things that fascinates me about working with honeybees is watching them transform the energy of the sun into beeswax.  It's a beautiful and evident process. Plants use sunlight to produce nectar and pollen.  The bees collect these things and turn them into food which gives them the energy they need to extrude wax flakes from abdominal glands.  They then use their jaws to mash and shape the wax into comb which we collect and render into candles and paintings and other useful things.  I like to think of beeswax as stored sunlight.

Laura: This will be my second time attending the conference.  My first time was in 2008.
LH: Did you create this work specifically for this juried show? Please explain.
No, I didn't, though it wasn't for lack of trying!  Painting goes best for me when it comes from a place of experimentation with no agenda.  Though I'd wanted to create a new series of big pieces to enter into the show they didn't flow the way I'd hoped so I abandoned them a few days before the entry deadline and looked to earlier work.

The pieces I submitted, "Old Fashioned Rocketry," "Castle" and 'Rainforesty" are made of wax puddles curtailed by black ink.

I rent a small studio in downtown Boulder.  It's spare and quiet which is exactly what I need for painting.  It has a cool, hobbity vibe and is just friendly enough for me to feel comfortable but not TOO comfortable.

LH: Do you have other jobs other than making art? (If so, please give us some details).
Laura: Yes, I teach painting workshops.  I travel and speak about honeybees, sell DVD's  and produce film screenings.  Sometimes I do contract work in video production.  My husband and I sell honey and other bee products each fall.

See more about Laura's work at these sites:
My art blog:
Sister Bee:
Backyard Bees:

Jill Skupin Burkholder: Artist Interview —
Flow and Control Show

LH: Please describe your work in general—what is it about, your process etc.
Jill: The two pieces in the Montserrat show are from the series, “The Forgotten”. The images were photographed in antique stores and warehouses, capturing the strange assortment of discarded symbols and figures from our culture. I did not assemble the imagery but interpreted the scenes as found, by camera angle and composition. The texture in the image is from a 19th century photographic technique called bromoil printing that uses brushes and lithography ink to enhance the image. This hand-inked photograph is then scanned and digitally printed onto canvas.

16 x 24"
canvas with encaustic

Presented as an encaustic, each piece is animated by the smooth, sensuous wax surface. The assembled canvas and board art piece returns the subjects to their beginning, turning them again into silent objects filled with forgotten stories and hidden meanings. Incongruous icons stand together, daring us to remember a nightmare or to summon ideas that have vanished.

LH: How many of the Encaustic Conferences at Montserrat have you attended?
Jill: My first one was last year. The very first person to walk up to me with a welcome was Joanne Mattera, an early indication of the friendly, sharing atmosphere of the conference. It’s a great gathering where the experienced masters are so accessible.

LH: Did you create this work specifically for this juried show? Please explain.
Jill: No. I showed 6 pieces of this series in an exhibition at the Garrison Art Center in Garrison New York, last November. It’s great that the combination of encaustic techniques and photography is becoming more common.

LH: What is your workspace like?
Jill: I share my workspace with my husband, Dan Burkholder, who is a fine art photographer and educator. We have a large basement that includes a digital area, workspace, encaustic area and darkroom. Depending on what exhibitions are coming up, what workshops are being held or who is in a creative frenzy, the space adapts.

Photo: Jill Skupin Burkholder in her studio (red shirt, rear)

LH: Do you have other jobs other than making art?
Jill: I work with my husband, Dan, doing whatever needs to be done including organizing workshops, necessary office work, making travel plans or figuring out where we put more mat board. So yes, my full-time job is art but, as you know, you sure don’t get to actually MAKE art most of the time!

To see more of Jill's art, visit

Kelly Steinke: Artist Interview — Flow and Control Show

Umbrae, 2010
  12 x 12 x 3 1/2 inches
encaustic on panel
Photo by Christopher Zeleski

Lynette (LH): Kelly, we would love to know a little about you and your background.
Kelly: A native Texan, I am a painter and printmaker living and working in Austin.  After attending graduate school in Austin (University of Texas at Austin) for an MA in Art History, I continued my education in Chicago  (the School of the Art Institute of Chicago) for an MFA in Painting and Drawing.  Following my academic work in  Art and Art History, I lived in New York City for a few years where I worked on large scale oil paintings in my Chelsea studio.  I returned to Austin in 1999 where I am currently living.

My interest in wax goes back to my childhood .  My uncle who lived in west Texas raised bees.  I remember the visits to his farm and the large buckets of honey with honeycombs that he would send home with us.  My fascination with wax continued and appeared in my artwork many years later.

I first began working with wax while in graduate school in Chicago using it experimentally  on fabric and with oil on paper. Now I use a variety of techniques where I combine printmaking with encaustic or create reliefs with encaustic on panels.

LH: Please describe a bit about your work in general – what is it about, your process.  
Kelly: In the work of my new series, I investigate ideas of light, shadow, and movement.  This is created by a repetition of forms juxtaposed unexpectedly to evoke a soft space wherein there is air and light.  Shadows seen from different angles allude to various combinations of changing shapes,  creating movement in the piece.

My interest in art history and ancient cultures led me to create pyramid structures, which, for the Egyptians, were symbols of strength and permanence.  An ancient symbol created with the ancient medium of encaustic is used to evoke shadow and light, harmony and tension, fragility and permanence, structure and freedom.

To create the pieces for this new encaustic series,  I use three-dimensional shapes that have been cast from molds and fuse them to a primed panel. Also, I sometimes use paper cast shapes that have been painted with encaustic.  The shapes are often combined with other materials such as wire, string, and rope.

LH: How many of the Encaustic conferences at Montserrat have you attended?
Kelly: This conference in 2010 will be the second one I have attended.  I also attended the Encaustic Conference in 2008.

LH: Did you create this work specifically for this juried show?
Kelly: My work in the show is part of a new series that I began early this year.  These new works are reliefs on panels that are dealing with light and shadows.

LH: What is your workspace like?  If you have photos of your space that would be of interest
Kelly: My studio is a one thousand square foot building with a twenty-five foot tall ceiling.  It includes a special area with a ventilation system for encaustic work.

 Encaustic work area with hot box and ventilation system
  Studio photos by Kelly Wagner Steinke

Loft – office space, planning, drawing work area

Printing press work area

LH: Do you have other jobs other than making art?  If so, please give us some details.
Kelly: I am an Art Professor and have been teaching in the Austin area since 1999.  Courses include Painting, Drawing, Life Drawing, Two-dimensional Design, and Art History I and II.

You can see more of Kelly's work at:
Thank you, Kelly!

Robin VanHoozer: Artist Interview —
Flow and Control Show

Robin VanHoozer in her studio

Lynette: Can you share with my readers a little about yourself?
Robin: I’m a native of Missouri was raised in a background rich in history and nature.  I began painting in encaustic paint when I was working on my Master’s degree.  I studied Materials and Techniques under the head painting conservator at the Nelson/Atkins Museum of Art, Mr. Forrest Bailey.  He brought out an ancient Fayum portrait for me to examine up close and I could imagine still smelling the honey!  I was hooked! Another painting instructor noticed my interest in wax and shared a magazine article about an encaustic artist in which R and F Handmade Paints was mentioned.  I received a grant to begin my encaustic studio.  My studio is located in the historic Museum Hill District of St. Joseph, Missouri.

I received my MA in Studio Art from the University of Missouri in Kansas City and have attended encaustic workshops at San Francisco through R and F Handmade Paints and at the Women’s Studio Workshop at Rosendale, New York.  Recently my work was on display in the office of Senator Claire McCaskill in Washington, D.C.  My work has also been featured on the ABC television show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.  I have exhibited in several local venues in the Kansas City area including the Kansas City Artists Coalition and the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art in St. Joseph.
This is my first time at the Encaustic Conference!

Lynette: Please describe a bit about your process.
Robin: My creative process begins first and foremost with drawing.  Drawing is at the heart of what I create.  Mark making is fundamental.  I want the marks that I put in the surface of the wax to be beautiful, have strength about them, and tell a story.  Even fine delicate marks should have power.  The marks made in a painting should engage the viewer.  In By Day II, special attention was given to the marks and surface texture.  Mark making is one of my strengths.

By Day II, 2009
15" x 45" encaustic on panel

Robin: This work is part of a series of 10 paintings for a show I had this spring in Mission, Kansas. The show was titled By Day and By Night.  Each piece reflected the continuity of day into night.  More information on this show is available if you want.

Lynette: Do you have other jobs other than making art?
Robin: Yes, I’m a teacher.

You can see more of Robin's work at: 
Thank you Robin!

Ruth Hiller: Artist Interview — Flow and Control Show

Lynette (LH): Ruth, can you share with my readers a little about yourself?
Ruth: I have been a self taught painter since 1989. I did go to design school but was trained in graphic design. Two years ago I took and encaustic workshop at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, Colorado. Since that time, I have done over a hundred paintings and been in 4 shows.

Ruth Hiller at work in her studio
(photo: Nicole Duke)

LH: Please describe bit about your work in general—what is it about, your process etc.
Ruth: My current body of work deals with my fascination with microscopic functions in the human body. I have always been interested in exploring  the hideous reality of a disease or bodily malfunction with the beauty that is found in the world we don’t see. You can find beauty in everything if you look close enough.  I am obsessed with the smooth surface of the tactile beeswax.

LH: How many of the Encaustic Conferences at Montserrat have you attended?
Ruth: This will be my second.

LH: Did you create this work specifically for this juried show? Please explain.
Ruth: No, But I am obsessed with surface and control of the wax so I thought it was an appropriate entry.

Specimen 87, 2009
24 x 24
encaustic on panel

Specimen 116, 2010
12 x 12"
encaustic on panel

LH: What is your workspace like?
Ruth: I am in a warehouse space with an overhead door that I turned into windows. My studio is in north Boulder about a mile from my house. (Photos, below, taken by Ruth).

Hiller's studio with canine friend Emma

Emma and Lola, studio assistants

LH: Do you have other jobs other than making art? 
Ruth: Not right now, I did teach corrective exercise for 20 years but retired 2 years ago to pursue my painting full time.

To see more of Ruth's work, visit: