J A N I S E Y N T E M A
All content © 2017 Janise Yntema
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P R O C E S S
My works explore the perception of light as revealed through nuance of color, composing a space between the natural and the ideal. An environment of diffused light is created that remains minimal and abstract.
I consider my subject to be light, and landscape its messenger, with changing transitions in color capturing reflected memories of small moments in time.
These paintings are developed through numerous translucent layers. Pigment is suspended in beeswax, allowing light to permeate and become compositionally present.
I have focused primarily in working with the oldest known painting technique of beeswax, dammar resin and pigments. These elements are combined with heat as the active solvent. It is a slow process and allows a concept of time to be considered in the work. With beeswax, a quiet fragility is present, and reflects the delicate state of our natural environment
H I S T O R Y
Beeswax encaustic painting dates back over 2000 years. The ancient Greeks adorned their battle ships, statues and buildings with this combination of damar resin, beeswax and pigment. The Fayum tomb portraits, from the Roman Egyptian period, testify to the archival durability of this material. Beeswax, resin and pigment were the materials used to create the murals of Pompeii. This technique remained popular throughout the 6th and 7th centuries, but was replaced by tempera and fresco due to the intensity of time, labour and heat involved. Beeswax painting was virtually lost by the middle ages.
The term encaustic literally means to burn in. Any true beeswax and resin painting involves heat and the process to fuse the layers. Heat acts as the invisible solvent much as turpentine acts as an evaporating solvent for oil painting. The natural dammar resin gives the wax strength and durability. Beeswax and resin are organically pure and biological materials. From the labour of the honey bees to the natural Malaysian dammar resin, no chemicals are involved in this technique. The quality of the material is very much alive, like an organic skin, and can hold colour in a pure, luminous tone.
As a painting material, beeswax and resin reveals a subtlety rarely found in artificially manufactured materials. The delicate beauty of nature is inherent in my works. My continued use of beeswax draws focus to the ancient history of this medium as well as and the fragility of our environment.
Janise Yntema, 2017