Waxing Poetic


By Candace Kar

Five Maine artists explore the timeless art of encaustic

For thousands of years artists have worked in the subtle and evocative medium of encaustic. By adding pigment to hot wax and applying it to a prepared surface, often wood or canvas, encaustic artists can create an image of extraordinary depth and complexity. Because of the malleability of the medium—the wax can be reworked, removed, or added to over time—encaustic has evolved into a deeply expressive and often experimental art form. Examples have survived through history, but the recent resurgence of interest in encaustic, which began to gain momentum in the 1990s, has resulted in an artistic field of broad and brilliant appeal. These eight Maine artists have embraced encaustic with confidence. Their work expresses visions of unique beauty, sensuality, and emotion


Richard Keen

Galleries: Whitney Art Works, Elizabeth Moss Gallery, Leighton Gallery

Richard Keen’s artwork has been selected for exhibitions by prominent jurors from the Guggenheim Museum, the New York Times, and by a variety of curators from around the world. In 2007, Keen received a Good Idea Grant from the Maine Arts Commission for his series Area Below Water. He was also featured in Greenhut Gallery’s Fusion: 10 Maine Encaustic Artists.


Sara Crispcrisp.jpg

Galleries: June Fitzpatrick Gallery

Sara Crisp’s work has been shown throughout Maine, New England, and New York. She was included in the Portland Museum of Art’s show A New Natural History, and her work has been reviewed in the Portland Press Herald, the New York Times, and the Village Voice. She has also been awarded prestigious residencies, most recently in southwest France.


dbowiezaitlin_landformations_12x12_encausticcollage_2007.jpgDiane Bowie Zaitlin

Galleries: Leighton Gallery, Greenhut Galleries

Diane Bowie Zaitlin graduated from the University of Connecticut and has studied at Skidmore College, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and Maine College of Art. Bowie Zaitlin is an active member of New England Wax and has participated in many of their exhibits, including the Diptych Project.



M.R. Hedstromhedstrom.jpg

Galleries: Leighton Gallery

M. R. Hedstrom grew up in the New York City area. She was immersed in art and music as a child. Hedstrom uses encaustic to achieve a certain surface and color and to express abstract emotional content. Forms that become representational are avoided or destroyed.



otoole.jpg Jeanne O’Toole Hayman

Galleries: Addison Woolley Gallery

Jeanne O’Toole Hayman is a painter and printmaker, but she recently began working in encaustic. Her work has been widely shown in galleries across Maine and the New York metropolitan area. She is a member of Peregrine Press and New England Wax.




Lynda Litchfield1litchfield_oppositewhat36hx30w.jpg

Galleries: June Fitzpatrick Gallery

Lynda Litchfield is a painter who exhibits in Maine, New York City, and across the U.S. Litchfield’s work has been chosen for three Biennials at the Portland Museum of Art. Her paintings, made up of layers of wax, pigment, and oil, often push accepted ideas of beauty up against the raw evidence of her process.






Kim Bernard

Galleries: George Marshall Store Gallery, Mast Cove Gallery

Working with encaustic, both two- and three-dimensionally, Kim Bernard exhibits her work nationally. She teaches at the Maine College of Art and is the founder of New England Wax, a professional artists association. Bernard has offered numerous presentations on encaustic, acted as an invited juror, guest lecturer, and visiting artist.




Gina Adamsadams2.jpg

Galleries: George Marshall Store Gallery

Gina Adams lives and works in York. Her working environment reflects the synergy of personal history, cultural influences, and the encaustic medium that drives her work. Adams earned a degree in painting and printmaking from Maine College of Art, where she is currently a member of the Board of Trustees.


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