Friday, September 21, 2007

Artist in Encaustic

At a gallery opening last night, I met an artist who works in the ancient medium of encaustic- a method of painting using fused, colored wax. Her piece (it was a group show) stood out with its almost savage appearance. We got to talking, comparing notes about our past life experiences. We had been in the state college system about the same time, with some overlaps, we just missed knowing each other by a year or two at a couple of schools. She mentioned how funky those days were, how "the kids now don't have to deal with that..." I concurred, stating that in education "everything is planned out to the last detail." We had taken classes in buildings that were surrounded by potato fields and had mud for a parking lot, worked in darkrooms that were in old, rundown apartment buildings (one darkroom was a former bathroom, it still had the toilet and tub in situ.) We got by, it was part of the whole deal, if the facilities were a bit shabby (Shabby? Some of those places ended up being condemned!) it didn't stop us from learning. And we were still at it, thirty-seven years later, a lot of life had gotten in the way in the meantime, but the heat (molten wax?) is still there.

By Professor Batty


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