Paula Blackwell is an American artist currently painting in a rural area near Portland Oregon. A practitioner of the ancient technique of encaustic (beeswax and pigment), Blackwell has developed a strong reputation as a painter deftly able to evoke emotion through her deeply expressive, evocatively atmospheric works that exist in a balanced state between realism and process-oriented expressionism. Her recent and ongoing series of small, intimate, moody works exhibit a beautiful sense of depth, subtle shifts of light, and atmospheric translucent surfaces.
Says Blackwell about her process: “My procedure in making encaustic paintings is to begin with several layers of hot liquefied beeswax combined with damar (tree) resin. I lightly fuse the wax to the ground, usually a wood panel, with a torch. My goal is to emulate an aged or rustic appearance with each piece. I accomplish this by distressing multiple layers with various instruments, beating the surface with old keys, rocks, razor blades etc. I then back fill the marks with oil paint, scraping off the excess. I then cover that surface with another layer of wax before the actual image begins to develop.”