For some time, I have been exploring the formal and expressive possibilities of the stripe. By reducing the element of my paintings to this primary gesture, I had the constant of repetitive brushstroke, with a sense of space and movement created with color. Within the operations set for myself, the regularity and confinement of rows or grids of stripes was offset by the resistance of my medium dragging across the surface, which resulted in variable, uneven edges. In my series “Walking Line,” I release my stripes into a wide-open color field, where they advance and double back in hard-won lines.
It takes many layers using long brushstrokes of encaustic pigment to build up the background until there is uniformity in the tone. Although intense and deliberate, this part of the process is a physical release, as the receiving surface becomes increasingly luscious. Then I switch to making the lines, which requires more control and patience. Each line a total commitment, I get caught up in the repetition and exactitude. Creating the lines from individual dashes of ten encaustic pigments is inherently restrictive, and yet it begins to feel like my hands become divining rods, as the line develops a life of its own. With no guarantee that the medium will behave and my touch is sure, I find myself holding my breath and must remember to inhale and exhale. Applying and removing tape in stages while using heat to fuse encaustic, I get entangled in a multitude of decisions involved in the task at hand, and the result of my sequence of steps is only revealed to me at the end. Slow and steady, I have tiptoed into new territory.