In my current painting I use digital images as the foundation of the work. In the last few years I have used x-ray skeletal images and 19th century engravings in digital format. Previously, with a digital camera, I took pictures of street memorials and graffiti — we’ve all seen these tributes. I then use Adobe Photoshop to create patterns that I print on printmaking or Nepalese lokta papers using an inkjet printer. In sections, the printed patterns are mounted on panel creating a larger secondary pattern.
Finally, I work the surfaces with encaustic –– pigmented beeswax and resin. Applying color allows me to play; I love color and I use it intuitively. With scrapers and small irons I work reductively to reveal the digitally printed images below. I then methodically add dots using a heated encaustic pen. The encaustic medium’s unpredictability — the way it runs, melts, and drips in ways that are hard to control — produces a tension between my attempts at order, through the use of pattern, and inevitable disorder.
In part, I hope to express in my work the ways we find to transform life's challenges into rich and joyous (and colorful) experiences. The work becomes a repository.
Statement for Shadow Boxes
In the Fall of 2007 I decided to revisit a series of shadow boxes I began in 2000. Most of these pieces were devoted to faces and hands, yet not exclusively. Except for the piece titled Rabbit Hole, I have continued with this theme. This is what I wrote about shadow boxes in 2003:
As a child I loved the world of my dollhouse.
Loving the beds and the chairs, the dishes and tables,
I made it mine – all mine.
My aunt and uncle were picture framers.
In her retirement, my aunt discovered the interior world of shadowboxes.
With miniature furniture, she made elegant and delightful rooms.
They took me back.
A box, like the dollhouse, becomes a place to dwell.
It can be a place to pay homage or a place to remember.
With a feeling of intimacy and fragility, one is asked to enter.
Working with my children, their friends and classmates,
I introduced them to drawing on Shrinky Dink (shrinkable plastic).
In turn, I became enchanted with its possibilities.
Constructed of foam core, covered in paper and painted with encaustic,
the boxes are designed to house the Shrinky Dinks.
Placed center-stage the shrunken drawings are attached by thread to the box.