This story was originally published in The Crown, Redeemer’s student newspaper, and has been republished with permission.
What is your main source of inspiration?
Right now, I mainly find inspiration through Scripture and nature. Last year, one of my projects incorporated a hike through the woods. Instead of painting a landscape, we focused on specific details, which was a really enriching experience.
Are there specific colours you’re drawn to?
Lately, I’ve been interested in layering dark and light colours to get a marble effect. I’ve been especially fascinated in experimenting with blues and reds to see how they interact. Certain geometric shapes have also become a big part of my work, such as circles and squares. In my encaustic work, I carve a layer of different colours to find different textures and hues.
What artists are you inspired by?
One artist I’ve been inspired by is Frank Stella, whose work is very detailed. He paints geometric shapes intersected by white lines— not paint, but the original canvas. His works are massive, so this amount of precision is crazy. I’ve tried this technique in some of my work and found it difficult, but ultimately, rewarding. Throughout my exploration of art history, I’ve always been inspired by the Impressionists. I’ve done a couple of landscapes in an Impressionist theme and I’ve found it so freeing and expressive. Van Gogh is one of my all-time favourites—which is so classic—but I can’t help but love his work.
What is your current project?
In my first year, I learned about the “Drama of Scripture” and the six acts of the Bible. For the upcoming senior project, I decided to make an abstract painting for each act and incorporate a circle theme throughout all six. I’m considering using colour psychology throughout each work to add symbolism. My colour scheme will both connect and differentiate the pieces from each other.
How do you see yourself using your passion for art after school?
Depending on how this semester goes, I’d like to see myself as a working artist: entering my work into galleries, having shows, and producing a lot of art. There are many possibilities. I might work for a gallery or critique other works. This exhibition is self-paced, so it will show me what it’s like to produce art full-time.
How has your style evolved since you came to Redeemer?
When I came to Redeemer, I just wanted to paint. By taking “Intro to Painting” and “Intro to Drawing,” I learned to depict something as I actually saw it and not in the way I wanted it to look. We see differently in 3D versus 2D, so drawing and painting from life helped me to improve my translation between the two. In the senior painting class, you only have a certain number of colours, so I learned how to improve mixing and creating the colours I needed.
Last year I was introduced to encaustic as a part of the experimental art course. My first two pieces show a significant progression as I learned to use this medium better. I used more colour in the second one. As I’ve been working with my art, I’ve been reading and watching videos to improve and learn how to mix colours. After I’ve finished the work, I mix my colours with beeswax and damar resin crystals—these prevent the encaustic from melting in a hot room. When it’s melted, I add oil paints to create the colours I want. When I started at Redeemer, I focused on painting accurately, and I thought that a painting couldn’t be good unless it looked realistic. Since then, I’ve learned that there are so many other ways to interpret whether a painting is good or not, and I’ve grown to appreciate creating abstract art. I find so much freedom in working this way as I’m not restricted to a specific subject.
What is the most challenging part of your art process?
I find it really hard to get started. I do a lot of research as I try to figure out what I want to do and how to find inspiration. This takes a long time, but there comes a moment when it “clicks,” and I know exactly what I want to do. Right now, I have this image of six paintings and I know how I want them to look, but I still have to figure out how to create each of them. With encaustic, this has been an interesting process because you don’t see the final image until it’s done, whereas with painting you gradually see the forms appear and can change them as you like.
Do you find that your finished work looks different from or similar to how you originally
Both. I was doing a study for the last part of my senior project, and it slipped on the wall and fell so that it hung from the nail diagonally. I instantly loved it, because it added dimension and contrast to my other pieces.
How would you describe your style?
When I’m working with encaustic, my style is pretty abstract, which is a product of my learning process as I discover how to use this medium. When I use acrylics, I love to incorporate the Impressionist style and use thick brushstrokes. Finding texture is very important to me, which is why I like encaustic so much—you can find so many textures with it. Also, it smells really good.