420 Private Collection
24″ X 24″
Oil and Encaustic

 
I am inspired by great photographs, ones I find and ones I take. I’ve been asked if this is Roosevelt and in fact, it’s an unknown subject.

I love the history and the features of the medium of wax, called encaustic. Maybe it’s the artist’s brush with immortality as it has been used in ancient Egyptian portraits due to its archival quality. But it’s a recalcitrant participant and my vision for the work isn’t ever precisely actualized. A rule for working in this medium says oil paint and wax don’t mix. But an artist never plays well with rules.

The original oil version of the underpainting in 420 was black and white. By the time I complete this phase I have a spiritual relationship with the subject, bringing him to life and form, communicating soul to soul through the eyes. The next phase requires me to let go of my attachment and add layers of pigmented wax, obscuring the original and then the strategic archaeological dig to reveal what the painting asks to be known. It’s always a naked moment where I leap with courage into the unknown, trusting (and hoping) that it will all work in the end and I’ll do justice to the relationship I’ve entered into.