Stephanie Hargrave

Artist /NW Encaustic Instructor

Amborella 1   Encaustic on Birch   30" x 30"

Stephanie Hargrave

My work is influenced by the architecture of natural structures; pods, seeds, buds, blooms, olives, cells, ‘spines’ and husks. There is a direct correlation between subject matter and materials, as pure bee’s wax, resin and pigments are heated, layered and fused with a torch.

My paintings are abstractions of organic forms, painted free-hand from imagination. Much of the line work is created by inlaying pigmented wax into carved lines and burnishing in ‘draw-through’ prints on tissue to add texture and different line weights. I approach each piece without a pre-conceived idea of what it will look like – instead, I let the painting grow naturally through the process of layering and decision making, adding and eliminating, receding portions and creating new imagery.

I’ve been both painting and working in clay since college, where I studied color theory, ceramics, sculpture, drawing and painting. I started a line of functional ceramics as a small business in 1997 after studying with Carol Gouthro, and have worked with metal, oil paint, and acrylic paint over the years, but my medium of choice is bee’s wax. I learned a great deal studying with Jef Gunn and Larry Caulkins at Pratt Fine Arts Center, and have been focusing for the last 9 years exclusively on encaustics. It is the one medium that affords all the other materials I’ve worked in to overlap and inform one another.

I find bee’s wax to be inherently lovely, and work with it always mindful of how its natural beauty and transparency can coexist with my ideas and imagery.

I currently show my work in Seattle, Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Mobile.

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