Could it be the fragrance of beeswax that haunts my dreams? It certainly has the feel of it . . . from rough, textured ridges to a satin-y, almost skin like smoothness. Touch the inside of your wrist to get an idea . . . or touch my painting, I don't mind. Go ahead, touch it.
There is a luminous quality to the pigment suspended within the wax in delicate tints or powerful jolts of bright, raw color. There is also history here, roots that connect me with artists almost 2000 years ago in Greece, in Egypt and Italy. I have modern tools whose design is inspired by the ones my artist-ancestors used to work the wax. I have kept bees, learning to connect at an even deeper level with this marvelous medium and the workers who create it from their own bodies.
I love that a painting will speak to me, that the layers of wax will document our conversation, back and forth. Some magic always remains buried, a secret known only to me, while other strata may later be unearthed, scraped back to and celebrated. The heat of the torch on wax can mimic the flow patterns of rivers and wind. The many buried layers can also resemble memory, dreams or the subconscious. They inform the present (or the surface) while remaining mysterious. These choices are entirely personal to each artist but there is a feeling of "making sense" in a completed painting.
For me, working with encaustic is the perfect balance of will and surrender. While I do start with ideas of what to paint and how, there is a collaboration with the wax, almost a dance. Sometimes a new direction will present itself, born of the moment, unexpected. After ten years of working with the medium I have an intuitive knowing of when to follow, and when to lead. Time confirms my choices or allows me to make changes or additions.
On beautiful days, when the windows are open in my 109 year old studio house, there are curious bees who are drawn by the scent of warm wax. I consider it a benediction.