Catching Up

I’ve been having a fantastic summer teaching and traveling all over the western part of the country and I realized I skipped July’s post! This month’s post is devoted to catching up with all of the amazingly good things happening in my world this summer. Thanks so much for reading, I’ll see you in September with a post about my early work in encaustic and why it looks nothing like the work I do today.



I’m so pleased to announce that I have a new catalogue of my work and writing spanning from 2005-2017. The great Tom Manzione designed the catalogue and did an amazing job integrating a recent drawings series with over 12 years of my encaustic paintings. Also, integral to the success of the catalog is the excellent design-making the story flow with those little details often overlooked by novice designers like myself. The best lesson I got out of publishing this catalogue is that it is so worth it to hire someone rather than try to do it all yourself. Tom was so patient and organized, all I had to do was upload my images and left the rest to him…too easy and worry free. If you would like to purchase a catalogue, they are available for sale on Magcloud in both hard copy and digital form.



One can never have too many places to show their work, so I signed up with Saatchi and now have a site with them. Right now, I’m only listing my smaller (Mini Paintings, I call them) encaustic pieces for sale-sizes 10×10, 8×8 and 6×6 with prices starting at $500 and under. These smaller works are quite coveted and Saatchi will help me to better manage the sales and shipping of these little gifts from me to you. I will be adding many more over the next few months so check the page often. To see what’s available now, go to the page here.


thespacebetweenhi 4.54.37 PM

Did you know I have an ongoing encaustic sculpture series I started in 2011? Indeed, I do and a piece I finished last year called The Space Between just won Third Place in Sculpture at Art of the State for which I am truly grateful. I started this series at a time when I was very much in transition with my work and life and this series came about as a way to sort out my thoughts through meditative process. I secretly call these pieces ‘worry blocks’ because these pieces are the vehicles by which I deposit my worries. Through the repetitive process of burning holes and using encaustic to place my hair strand by strand in grid patterns, I think, reflect and heal. I’ve had a nervous habit since I was little of twisting my hair when I’m stressed or thinking and I keep a bag of it in the studio that I add to daily. I have been using horse as well as my own hair in my work for quite some time. It makes a beautiful line in the wax and it also speaks to the bodily connections that have always been at the core of my work.  I first showed my worry blocks at the Gallery at R & F Paints where they were very well received and this encouraged me to keep making them. I make about 1-2 of the larger ones and 5-10 of the smaller ones per year. The smaller ones make great holiday gifts for the worrier in your life and I sell out every year. I’ll be posting them on Instagram when they are finished, so keep an eye out for them in the next couple of months. To see more of the larger worry blocks go to my web site here and here to read a statement about the series.



It seems like I just attended the opening, but the show, Taking Wing, at Ellsworth Gallery in Santa Fe will be coming down on August 16, 2017. I’m honored for my inclusion in this fabulous show and grateful for the opportunity to show my work in Santa Fe with amazing artists Arin Dineen and Claire McArdle. The opening was super fun, with artist talks and an exciting interpretive dance by Ingrid Zimmer. See below for installation images and images of the opening.


Carol Bajen-Gahm & Pamela Blum

In mid-December, I was fortunate to have been invited to teach at R&F paints. In addition to their stellar workshop space, R&F also has has a wonderful gallery space, which always has an interesting and engaging show. The show up while I was there was THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, FORCES AND artifacts, the work of Carol Bajen-Gahm and Pamela Blum and it was a stunner. I’ve long been a fan of Pamela’s work, but was unfamiliar with Carol’s, so it was such a pleasant surprise to just happen upon it. The muted tones, expert use of high contrast, scale and materials make both artist’s work sing, but together, the pieces were orchestral. I haven’t seen a more perfectly paired two person show than this one in a long time. Unfortunately, the show is now over, but it continues virtually here.

Pamela Blum‘s statement for the show…My small sculptures are massed objects. They suggest forces over time on anthropological body parts and cultural relics. Blum uses dominantly black and white encaustic paint surfaces to communicate polarized times and conditions such as life and death, disease vs. health, uselessness rather than usefulness, human actions as comedy and tragedy. The encaustic paint, covering wire mesh, plaster gauze, and papier maché, embodies the tension between longevity and vulnerability inherent in wax and in all things organic and inorganic.
Indebted to others’ perceptions, feelings, thoughts and beliefs, I draw from artwork of the past. The work assembles many different ways to prompt viewers, including myself, to reinterpret the work.
In an effort to communicate something essential, I use the arsenal of visual literacy: titles, form, dimensionality, expression, materials, color, position, relationship of parts to wholes, marking or lack thereof, different scales, different contexts and references to things we see every day.
I intend my work to be disturbing, funny, and sometimes sexual. The work, founded formally, conceptually, and technically in history, rests on two quotations from Barbara Kingsolver’s Poisonwood Bible:
“My life: What I stole from history and how I live with it.”
“Misunderstanding…is the cornerstone…of civilization.”

Carol Bajen-Gahm’s statement for the show…I have always been attracted to dark spaces: tangled roots, wells, and caves. The shifting time and spatial juxtaposition of fairy tales and dreams hold an equal fascination for me.  I like to explore where my wild things are.
If you take the time to see what a fairy tale or a dream is saying, you usually end up at a deeper level of understanding where there is both the fear and the promise of the unknown.
I like to work with those dark spaces, tangled areas, time shifts and spatial juxtapositions in my work. For this series, I used the root cellars of Newfoundland as a starting point. Root cellars are used to preserve food during the cold months. I was attracted to them because they are an example of a dark space as a nurturing force, a kind of transformation by preservation.
I built the images using elements that related to the root cellars: seaweed which is used as fertilizer, and netting which is a crop protector.  In some cases, I used digital transfers of actual photographs of the cellars.  As I build the image at some point a state of chaos occurs – and my job is to bring the disparate elements into balance; to tame my wild things.


I participated in my first Chester County Studio Tour last weekend and it was a blast! Despite the rain, there was steady traffic of art enthusiasts, collectors, friends (old and new) and just nice, interested people.

I keep thinking about one collector who came in with her friends and while they were very talkative, she was so quiet and just kept staring at the painting shown above, Every Flower Has a Silver Cloud. I began talking with her and she shared with me that she had suffered a painful loss and the line of ovals in the painting combined with the imagery seemed to symbolize the before and after of her life after that loss. In turn, I shared with her a painful loss that had taken place in my life and that my work often consists of contrasting imagery which marks that event and the growth that often takes place after one experiences such an event.

I am so pleased that the painting touched her in such a deeply personal way and that it will now be a part of her collection, always reminding her of her strength and continued growth. I have had conversations like this with other collectors and it is always so good to know that there is a reason why I am making this work and that it does affect and help others in positive ways as I hope it will.

I am so grateful to Jeff Schaller for the opportunity to camp out on his lawn and show my work during this wonderful event!

Best of Show at Chester County Studio Tour!

So excited to be participating in the Chester County Studio Tour at Jeff Schaller’s Studio this weekend, May 21 & 22, where I will be selling my coveted encaustic mini paintings and worry blocks.
Make plans to join us and over 100 other artists for an exciting art filled weekend.
I look forward to seeing you there!

Pink Cow Studio (#16 on the web site map)
80 Highspire Road
Downingtown, PA

Visit the accompanying show VIEW where my piece, Pink Snow, shown above, won

May 4-July 8
The Art Trust
16 West Market Street
Westchester, PA

A fabulous part of the studio tour is the County Collector, in which participating artists create a unique 6×6 piece to sell for an affordable $75. This is an excellent idea that makes collecting original art accessible, fun and affordable.
My county collector painting, Basket Case, is shown below.
Sales of these pieces begins Saturday, May 21 at 10am.


Basket Case, encaustic, collage on wood, 6x6x1


Abington Art Center (my very local art center) just created a new space within the art center that will be primarily devoted to fiber and fiber related happenings! Here is a little blurb from their web site…

By blurring the boundaries of analog and digital, art and science, traditional and experimental, new ideas have room to grow and develop. Inside our Makerspace, you’ll find 3D printers, laser cutters and computers side-by-side with sewing machines, hot glue guns and saws. Come find your inspiration and bring your ideas to life!

My sewn collages and encaustic paintings are now hanging in the space and as part of the opening, I will be giving a talk on Saturday, April 9, 10am-12pm about my work in fiber. Coffee and other refreshments will be served, so come out and see this exciting new addition to the textile world!

New Mini Paintings

I just finished an exciting new crop of mini paintings this week! Sizes range from 4×4 to 10×10 and are affordably priced from $55-$500. For titles and specifics regarding these and other small paintings, visit the small works gallery on my web site.

These paintings will be offered for sale this Sunday, April 3, 3-5pm at Galer Estate & Winery in Chaddsford, PA as part of the Encaustic in the 21st Century Book Signing Event….visit here and here for more information about this and other art events happing in the Chaddsford, PA area. Have some wine, enjoy some art, purchase a book and have some fun…I look forward to seeing you there!

Please note that my small paintings tend to sell quickly, so if you see something you like, email me and I’ll put it aside for you. 🙂

Encaustic Art in the 21st Century

I am so excited to announce my inclusion in the beautiful new book, Encaustic Art in the 21st Century by Anne Lee and Ashley Rooney. With a forward written by Kim Bernard and an afterward by Ellen Koment, this book is rife with artists at the top of their field who work in the medium of encaustic. It’s a lovely book, with crisp printing, thick paper and a simple layout with large images that highlight the work and really allow the reader to absorb the details. Needless to say, I am honored to be included in such a book and I have included my four page spread below.

I will also be participating in a fun book signing event on April 3, 3-5pm at Galer Estate Winery and Vinyard in Kennet Square, PA. The winery is located right behind Longwood Gardens, so come out and make a day of it! I will be there with some small paintings for sale along with other Philadelphia Area artists who are also included in the book. If you are local to the area, I would love to see you there. If you can’t make this event, there are lots of other events and shows being organized all over the country as a result of this book, so stay tuned for more information. Hope to see you at the winery in April!


A Heated Exchange at SECAC


In early October, I was fortunate enough to leave a rather chilly Philadelphia for sunny Sarasota, Florida to attend and deliver a paper at the SECAC conference. (Southeastern College Art Association Conference) the conference theme was ‘From Handmade to High Tech’, a theme which resonated with me personally. As an artist my history is craft based, yet I have always used digital technology in some way to inspire and create my work. I was one of nine artists asked by moderators, Reni Gower and Kristy Deetz to speak on a panel, the subject of which was how each artist combined the slow process of encaustic painting with relatively speedy digital technologies. It was so interesting to hear how each artist uniquely integrated the two into their work and below is a brief synopsis of each artist’s talk.

Jane Nodine spoke of her elimination of toxic inks and solvents in favor of making marks with natural inks, plant materials and rust, in combination with technological printing aids. Her interesting talk was supplemented by rich images of her garden, studio, her process of creating and her student’s work.

Chris Keinke was the only artist on the panel whose work I was not familiar with and I was intrigued as he spoke about his thoughts and processes. The satellite ‘glitch’ photographed from the the television screen is where the inspiration begins and is then combined with layers of traditional painting materials. Years ago, i was somewhat obsessed with photographing glitches when they occurred on my TV, so i was quite taken with his work and inspired by how he tied these glitch events into contemporary painting ideas and practices. Also fun to see were the images of his studio and his giant, but very cool printer.

Cheryl Goldsleger‘s paper truly spoke to the theme of the panel in that she emphasized that even with the labor intensiveness of the encaustic medium, she has freedoms within the medium that allow her to express her thoughts in ways that no other medium can. Yet, alongside this slow process she utilizes 3D modeling and 3D printing technologies to achieve the desired compositional juxtapositions and effects in her work. Her talk was so interesting as she discussed her thoughts regarding the use of ancient and contemporary art making platforms to create her work.

Heather Harvey‘s work is so intriguing as she intertwines her background in archeology and her current practice in art. Her work is mainly site specific installations that integrate drawing, painting and sculpture and which involve the space between the wall and floor surfaces. Her talk was mainly focused on her new work which entails a fascinating process of the collection of disparate objects while walking through various locations, then reorganizing those objects as a cohesive whole.

I spoke about my new work and focused on my process of making it, which I started at my Jentel Residency this summer and have continued to develop since. The following is a brief excerpt from my talk.

My recent series of paintings begin with the process of digitally layering my photographs of cemetery flowers and facades of abandoned or nearly abandoned urban dwellings with Google Earth image captures of abandoned manufacturing, amusement and housing development sites. Based on these three or four images and a simple 5-10 step digital manipulation of those images, the digitized imagery allows me to design many variations of a compositional theme. Utilizing a digital projector and a pencil, I trace the shapes in the composition to a Mylar surface, systematically breaking down the composition into a graphic series of marks. I strive to capture every mark, every shape, and this process can take up to several hours. Working in gouache and attempting to follow the original composition, I interpret the marks in paint, however, something is always lost in translation. As I paint, I remove parts of the painting with a damp towel, leaving a vague residue from the original paint and pencil marks. Again, utilizing the projector and a pencil, I go about translating shapes from the digital composition back into the painting and repainting and wiping those shapes with gouache and towel. Through this repetitive process, the ghosts of the former pencil and paint marks interact with the new and I reflect on time, memory, the tenuous nature of life and human relationships, as well as my own mortality.

The Mylar painting is then mounted to wood and ready for the encaustic layers. A piece of rust or compost stained silk fabric is mounted over the Mylar to protect it from the heat of encaustic painting as well as contributing the content of the work. A visual narrative is formed as actual histories of the photographed abandoned sites are interwoven with my own memories and perceived imaginings about its history as I collage, brand and draw in response to the painting underneath. Each mark or shape takes on new form and new meaning, as the content shifts with the addition or subtraction of another element. As the process continues, the work becomes a manifestation of the compiling and arranging of fragments in repetitious sequences, creating a visual rhythm in the work. Through process, image, repetition layers, traditional tools and current image technology, my goal is to reflect on the intimacy of memory, the awareness of mortality and spiritual growth through loss.

Heated Exchange Exhibition


The show Heated Exchange at the Art Center Sarasota is a fabulous mix of encaustic work and stupendously shows off the medium’s versatility with a well rounded grouping of paintings, installation and sculpture. Reni Gower and Kristy Deetz did a extraordinary job installing the work and the opening was extremely well attended with interested viewers. Artists included in the show are Lorraine Glessner, Jane Allen Nodine, Laura Moriarty, Tim McDowell, Jeff Hirst, Heather Harvey, Cheryl Goldsleger, Reni Gower, Peter Dykhuis, Kim Bernard, Kristy Deetz. This show was a wonderful accompaniment to the SECAC panel talks and is still running through November and beyond with a beautifully designed catalog you can purchase here.

Photo credit: Reni Gower

swept away exhibition opening

swept away: translucence, transparence, transcendence in contemporary encaustic opened this week at the hunterdon museum of art. the show, originally curated by michael giaquinto and shown at the cape cod museum of art last year, has since traveled to it’s current venue. some of the pieces from the original show were sold and replaced with similar work by the same artist, so the show is basically the same.

the exhibition at the hunterdon is expertly hung, with the grouping and pairing of the work such that each brings out the most interesting aspects of the other. originally, a flour mill rebuilt after a fire in 1836, the building and exhibition spaces are quite unique. the spacious airiness of the main exhibition space shows the work off beautifully and allows the viewer to comfortably appreciate each piece individually as well as the exhibition as a whole.

i’ve chosen some of my best images of the exhibition here, however, not all of the works are included–mingling and documenting at an opening is a skill i have yet to master. the exhibition is open until september 7, but if you can’t get to the museum to see the show, you can see the whole exhibition by way of the very reasonably priced catalogue here and the catalogue of the original exhibition at the cape cod museum of art here.

1. gregory wright’s and nancy natale’s bright, welcoming pieces at the entrance to the exhibition.

2. cherie mittenthal, sara mast, tracy adams and binnie birstein.

3. lynda ray, howard hersh and marybeth rothman.

4. milisa galazzi and paula roland.

5. love this piece by donna hamil talman.

6. love the juxtaposition of david a. clark’s piece and the exit sign.

7. i first saw this piece of lorrie fredette’s work in a book and it still remains one of my favorites.

8. dawna bemis, elise wagner, david a clark and elena de la ville.

9. one of my favorite karen freedman pieces.

10. loving the palette in joanne mattera’s work.

11. lisa pressman and linda cordner.

12. i love how jane guthridge’s and my piece talk to each other. not pictured, on the other side of my piece is toby sisson’s lovely black and white piece seen here that beautifully compliments the threesome.

another excellent blog post on joanna mattera’s blog has some great images of the installation here.