First National Encaustic Conference

In June I attended the First National Encaustic Conference at the Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts. Three other Canadian artists and I gathered with just over a hundred American artists at the college which is located near Salem, an hour north of Boston. We four Canadians came from Ontario and Quebec. The Americans came from all over the United States to meet each other and share ideas about using this challenging art form. Encaustic is an ancient painting technique first used by the Greeks and Egyptians over two thousand years ago. It involves the application of heated, pigmented beeswax and resin on a hard, porous surface. After learning about it four years ago I became entranced with the fragrance, the translucency, and the vibrant quality of the medium and committed myself to the mastery of painting with wax. The conference was spearheaded by Joanne Mattera, artist and the author of The Art of Encaustic Painting and the staff at Montserrat College. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow, with guest speakers, presentations and panel discussions. Among the panellists were an established artist, a curator, an art historian and paint maker, a gallery director, and an art critic. For the first time we had a chance to meet in person, artists whom we had read about or had corresponded with only by email. Everyone was amazed by the enthusiasm of the participants, their willingness to share and their eagerness to learn. It was exciting and inspiring – and left everyone wanting to make plans for future collaborations! For example, a group from the west coast met a group of New England artists for the first and are now forming an alliance for a future exhibition.
Mastery is dedication to the continuous pursuit of knowledge in one area. The Japanese call it Kaizen. Life is too short to waste a drop of it. I am putting to use what I learned and planning my next course of study. What combination of events are you waiting for in order to come out of the shadow and live your dream? Explore, Experiment, Expand!


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