Above: Encaustic Painting, 12″x 36″ Triptych

Just yesterday, I was thinking that I was feeling a little rusty in the left side of my brain and today, as if foreshadowed by that fleeting thought, a firm I’ve previously worked with called me to assist them with research and strategic planning for a new business pitch.

When the firm’s contact asked me what I had been up to lately, I noted that I was busy working on a series of paintings for a show later this year. “You’re the only person I know who uses both sides of their brain,” she commented. I replied that I had always felt equally comfortable straddling the left and right sides of my brain. Like the ability to multi-task, it’s sometimes works for me and sometimes drives me crazy.

Really, it’s a simplification to say that “left brain” people are analytical and orderly, and “right brain” people are artistic, unpredictable and creative since we all draw upon specific sides of our brain for different daily functions. But the choice of which side of the brain is in control of which situations is what shapes our personalities and determines our character. Maybe that’s why I feel so conflicted sometimes!

Fortunately I’m about done (except for some pondering and fine tuning) with two of the three encaustic paintings I have underway, so it’s a good time to take a little break from spending most of my time in the studio. I also would like to start some oil paintings, but lately I’m drawn to the immediacy of working in wax. Encaustic painting involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. Metal tools and brushes can be used to shape the paint before it cools, and other tools can be used to manipulate the wax once it has cooled onto the surface (virtually anything that is porous). Other materials can be collaged or layered in to the wax. It’s an ancient technique that was used in Egypt way back in 100-300 AD for mummy portraits.

Like all other art media, everyone develops a personal style. I’m still experimenting. I joined an Encaustic Group on Facebook that is having an Encaustic Summer Art Challenge. I’ve added three of my recent paintings to the 100 or more currently added to this online gallery. If you’re registered on Facebook, I invite you to click through the photos on Facebook to see what people are doing with this interesting medium.

Below: Another recently completed (almost) encaustic painting, 20″x24″