“Iceberg Alley 2017”
My art honors both the heritage of the ancient artistic process of encaustics and the magnificence of ten thousand year old ice.
Using the 2500 year old archival process of encaustic painting, I render the luminous and majestic splendor of ten thousand year old icebergs in wax. As I reflect on how humbling it is to be the presence of these ancient giants of the ocean, I think about how vigilant we humans must be to preserve their natural habitat. Interpreting the beautiful scars caused by the separation of iceberg from glacier and its journey southward, my paintings reflect the natural wonder of ancient frozen monoliths migrating from Greenland’s Ice Sheet to the North Atlantic waters off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. This stately natural procession of our ocean’s crown jewels is indicative of the precarious state of the environment.
Waxen layers of soft blues, creamy whites and green grays merge and emulate the melted ice water, freezing and compressing over thousands of years while Indigo blue, Turkish umber green and blue ochre are added to represent the ageless ocean. As I apply my pigmented waxes to rigid birch surfaces in thin layers, their bonds help to create a luminescent surface invoking the majesty of ice and the variability of water.
The colours represented in my paintings are inspired from my own observations of the icebergs’ transformations and the light of day. These ice beauties respond to their environment and reflect its light, just as the heated encaustic medium (beeswax and damar resin) chemically reacts with my chosen pigments creating unique surfaces. With the use of heat tools, the encaustic process allows me to encourage wax to release its best self as I echo in wax the splendor I observe while in the presence of these natural wonders.
Lillian Sheppard, Artist