Pamela Hahn's Encaustic Paintings and Collages

August 27, 2023

One doesn't arrive in works of art by necessarily knowing where one is going. – Ann Hamilton

"In this body of work I let my materials take the lead."      

This is from my stash of scrap papers,
found objects,
and wax scrapings.

"If I want to change something on a painting, I can melt and scrape off wax. This results in small wads of wax that I have been collecting in a big glass jar. I decided it was time to use them. Some are attached to a painting for a three dimensional effect, others are melted on the hot palette or directly on to a painting."

In what way are you led by the possibilities of your materials?

Gently Falling began by exploring the wax pieces. I didn’t have a theme or image in mind. I don’t think artists are always in control."

Gently Falling, Encaustic, collage on panel

How did you come to encaustic?

"About twenty years ago I saw some encaustic work. I loved the surfaces.  I went to R&F paints in Kingston, New York where encaustic paint is manufactured, and took some workshops. I liked everything about the process. I was developing allergies to acrylic and oil, so I was pleased to find a new medium.

Encaustic is a method for painting with molten, pigmented beeswax, first used by ancient Greek and Roman artists. The word encaustic derives from the Greek term enkaustikos which means to burn in. Two thousand year old encaustic paintings have been discovered at Pompeii.

The paint is kept molten on a heated palette and  applied to a surface, then reheated to fuse layer to layer. A versatile medium, it can be polished, sculpted, textured, and combined with collage elements. Used on paper it produces translucent effects. The process provides both fluidity and spontaneity, as well as the ability to create dense layers that can be carved and scratched, revealing what lies beneath."

Remembering Pompeii I, Encaustic, collage on panel
Miriam Davis
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