Our Curator's Choice this month is a textured encaustic painting by Syracuse, New York-based artist, Linda Bigness. Honey Bee Garden, which measures 32" x 32" framed, and was recently featured in an Upstate New York home design by one of our Guest Curators, Chris Roughan, is made with encaustic and copper and silver leaf on board. "Encaustic," from the Greek work enkaustikos, literally means to “burn in.” This name comes from the fact that in encaustic painting, each layer must be fused with heat to the layer beneath it. The base medium is primarily made from beeswax, which is then mixed with damar resin (crystallized sap from fir trees). The damar resin provides hardness while the wax provides luminosity. Encaustic art can be made with only this clear combination or mixed with high quality pigments. Read on to learn why Honey Bee Garden was our choice this month.
What It's About
Bigness' painting captures an abstract view of a naturally-growing garden. But Honey Bee Garden goes further than simply offering us a unique look at nature. "Where would any of us be without the worker bee?" the artist says of this piece. "The garden is the bee's place to pollinate and to help ensure our planet's future. I feel my painting helps to create awareness of the importance of bees and gardens through its radiance and soft depictions of floral and fauna."
Where It Works
Honey Bee Garden features an earthy palette with subtle metallic accents. We love it in rooms with muted green accents or neutral tones, and on smaller walls above end tables, console tables, or arm chairs. Plus, an added benefit is that the texture of the encaustic medium adds visual interest to neutral spaces without competing with its surroundings - serving only to enhance painted walls.
Why We Love It
Bigness injects her artful perspective into this lush nature scene. The composition, which draws on the peaceful chaos of an overgrown garden, works in tangent with the texture of the encaustic medium. But most of all, we love that this piece seems to embody, and provide, balance. The wild, organic brush strokes in the bottom of the composition are offset by the thin layers of creme at the top. The texture of wax itself is used to tell a story about the importance of its vital creator. Overall, it reminds us that growth is both chaotic and beautiful.
Linda Bigness is an internationally exhibited artist who maintains a gallery/studio in Syracuse, New York. Her work has been exhibited in several prestigious solo and group shows that have involved notable jurors such as art critic Clement Greenberg, Ivan Karp, director of OK Harris Gallery in NYC, and Tom Piche, director of the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art. In addition, Bigness’ large scale paintings are often selected and commissioned for corporate and residential clients, including the Turning Stone Resort, Merrill Lynch Corporation, Haylor, Freyer and Coon, and Bausch and Lomb.
Presently she is working on her latest book and exhibition about abstract art and the contemporary processes used by working artists today. Part of the research for this book is taken from the workshops she teaches and her oil painting and mixed media collage experience. For over 30 years Bigness has used her expertise to share with others the unique beauty and processes of her chosen medium through writing, teaching and professional exhibits.
Her first book, “Paint It, Tear It, Create It,” offered the reader insight into visual abstract thinking through the process of collage and painting. She continues to explore the abstract through surface manipulation using encaustics and oil and is currently working on a new series, the “Journey Stones Revisited,” that reflects her extensive travels through the United States and Europe.