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Enkaustikos Proudly Spotlights Our Featured Artist:

Linda Robertson



Meet Linda Robertson

Linda Robertson is a passionate encaustic artist and instructor from  Portland, Oregon.  She originally grew up in Hawaii before she moved to California where she attended the Humboldt University to receive her Bachelor of Arts.  She showed as well as sold her artwork nationally for several years before pursuing an interactive media career.  While she enjoyed working in the Internet business for over a decade, she decided to return to her love of creating art.  Despite, having originally created artwork using alternative process photography methods, encaustic painting had suddenly sparked her eye.  After viewing some encaustic images and doing her own research, Linda instantly became hooked on the medium and began painting with wax paint.  She started experimenting with modern digital photography and combined it with her new interest of encaustic to develop a different vision for her artwork. 


Linda’s love for encaustic grew more and more as she continued to work in the wax paint and she began participating in national gallery exhibits. For the last few years, she has been an encaustic instructor holding classes across the U.S. and in her private studio in Portland.  Some of her artwork has been published in Studio Visit and American Art Collector.  In 2007, Linda started her own online blog where she focuses on providing insight about encaustic painting and it has become a valuable resource for many painters.  To add another project to her plate, Linda even published Embracing Encaustic, a book about getting started in encaustic paint in 2008.  Her book has now become a staple for those new to the medium as it covers common encaustic supplies, techniques, instructions, and even contains vivid images of artwork...we personally see it as a must-read for all encaustic artists!  Due to all of her immense involvement in the encaustic world over the past few years, Linda’s name is becoming quite well-known.  She is the founder of the Oregon chapter of the International Encaustic Artists and just last June of 2009. She was awarded the prestigious La Vendéenne award for education.


Linda includes many of our Enkaustikos Wax Paint colors in her creative process and even excitedly mentioned that she has recently started working with the Enkaustikos Wax Pen.  She is dedicated to encaustic painting and we are thrilled to announce Linda as a Featured Artist on our website.

Enkaustikos and Linda collaborated on the creation of a mixed media set. Please click here for full information.

 

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"My work is influenced by my childhood in Hawaii, incorporating abstractions
of nature, particularly wind and water and how they alter the world around
us with the passage of time. Images of the bits you might flick off your
coat or crunch beneath your shoes symbolize humanity both transforming and
being transformed by natural processes. The fragility of life has long been
a recurring theme in my work; exploring how we grow, develop and cease to
exist in our current forms and what evidence remains of our existence when
we are gone. My work pairs modern materials with the ancient technique of encaustic
painting, where beeswax, resin and pigment are layered to produce a luminous
surface that captures and reflects light. The translucency of the wax
creates layers of information, like the sediment of time, while stirring the
senses of sight, smell, and touch."
Our Interview with Linda Robertson...

Q: How did you first learn about encaustic painting and how long have you been working in it?

A: I don’t remember the first encaustic painting I ever saw, but rather several paintings over a few months that really grabbed me because they just didn’t look like any other medium. Most of them were listed as mixed media so it took me a while to figure out what they were made of. I immediately started researching encaustic and it quickly became my favorite medium. That was several years ago and I’ve never looked back!

Q: What do you enjoy most about this medium? 

A: The luminosity and layering are definitely my favorite aspects of it. You’ll see in my work that layering is very important to the look of my pieces, building up wax then scraping it back to reveal what’s underneath.

Q:  What do you like least about this medium?

Waiting for my wax to heat up! On the other hand that gives me time to contemplate what I’ll be working on and to prepare my panels. The studio would never be clean if I didn’t have to wait for wax to heat.

Q: How would you describe your encaustic artwork?

My work is influenced by my childhood in Hawaii, incorporating abstractions of nature, particularly wind and water and how they alter the world around us with the passage of time. Photographs of natural materials symbolize humanity both transforming and being transformed by natural processes. The fragility of life has long been a recurring theme in my work; exploring how we grow, develop and cease to exist in our current forms and what evidence remains of our existence when we are gone.

Q: Where do your ideas come from for your pieces? Do you have a vision before you start painting or does it develop as you work?  (Basically, please explain your creative process a bit.)

I’m always looking out for interesting images and forms as I go through my day and when I see something good everything stops until I capture it. We’ve had many a late dinner because of it. When I start to paint I work intuitively on the background without a plan and see where it leads me, then I try to pair images I’ve already collected and prepared with those backgrounds. I add many layers so I can scrape back into them and I sometimes end up with 40 layers of wax on one piece.

Q: Is there one specific tool or brush that you use in encaustic that you think is a must-have for all encaustic artists?

I don’t use any special brushes and I use a variety of tools for different looks. I’ve recently started using your Wax Writer and I love the precise, raised line it gives to my work. I think the tool I rely on the most is my propane torch. When I first bought it I let it sit around for several weeks because I was afraid of it, but once I learned to use it there was no going back. It gives me so much control over the wax that I use it as a kind of brush now, blending and moving colors in really interesting ways.

Q: Do you have a favorite encaustic technique that you find yourself doing often in your pieces?

I love to add photographs to my work and have found a good technique for printing them to very thin paper which disappears when I cover it with clear medium. I’m left with an image embedded in my painting and no edges to give away the fact that it’s a photograph. Many people think those plant images are painted which makes me smile. That means I camouflaged it just right.

Q:  What do you want people to walk away with when they see your pieces?

I want my work to be the beginning of a conversation about how the past and present affect each other. Everything we do leaves an impression - good or bad - that often can’t be undone. I want that to be reflected in my paintings. For example, those letters that float through my work are a reminder that words spoken that can’t be taken back.

Q: Are there any historical or contemporary artists that you specifically admire or that may have influenced you in some way as an artist?

A: There are several artists who come to mind in a wide variety of medium as styles. Anselm Kiefer for his deep texture, Joseph Cornell for his unusual combination of imagery and materials, and Clyfford Still for his large scale expressive paintings that capture so much emotion. Mike and Doug Starn were a big influence on me in college for their irreverent approach to photography, and later encaustic. I recently had the opportunity to visit their studio in New York and it was very exciting for me. In terms of encaustic it would be too long a list to include all those I’m inspired by, but I’m a big fan of Christopher Reilly, Betsy Eby, Tony Sherman, and Lucinda Young.



Q:  Tell us about your book, Embracing Encaustic. 

I was inspired to write my book, Embracing Encaustic: Learning to Paint with Beeswax because at the time there was no book available for the complete novice that I could recommend to my beginning students. I basically wrote the book I wished I’d had when starting out. It explains the history, tools, and techniques to get started with simple step-by-step instructions and photographs. My favorite part of the book has to the gallery section where twenty-five notable painters spill their secrets, describing how they created the works on display. It’s the next best thing to watching over their shoulders as they work.

Q:  With the success of Embracing Encaustic, do you think you’ll write another encaustic book in the future?

Writing Embracing Encaustic was very fulfilling and exciting but it took me away from my own painting for many months, and I feel like I’m still catching up. I have no plans for another book right now but -never say never- right?

Q:  I noticed that you write a blog (http://embracingencaustic.wordpress.com).  What do you enjoy most about blogging and what topics do you usually cover?

A: I love to share the excitement of discovery in the medium! I post when things go well, and not so well, so others can learn from my mistakes as well as successes.

Q:  Do you personally teach any encaustic workshops or lectures?  If so, where and how can artists learn more about them? 

A: I teach workshops monthly in my studio in Portland, Oregon and just a few times a year nationally so I can still have enough time to paint. I taught a class this year at the Encaustic Conference in Massachusetts, John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina in a few weeks and again in 2010. I’ll also be at the Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts in Tennessee in 2010. Links to these classes are on my web site at http://www.lindarobertsonarts.com/workshops/index.html


Q:  If you were encouraging someone to try encaustic painting, what would you say to attract them to the medium?

I would suggest that they try to see some encaustic paintings in person because photographs just don’t do them justice. Once they are face to face with this luminous medium, their curiosity will take care of the rest.

Q:  With that in mind, do you also have any advice for artists who are just starting in encaustic?

A: Be patient. There’s no faster way to ruin a painting than to push it too fast. This can be tough especially when you are really excited about what you’re working on, so I always work on at least 2 pieces at one, (or 6 or 8 if they are small) so I can keep painting on one panel while the others cool.

Like everyone else, I get really busy with my book, teaching, painting and my family. This quote from Brenda Ueland is a great reminder to stop and take a breath...

"Inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic striving, but it comes into us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness."

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