This little painting/sculpture is part of my ongoing exploration in beeswax, stones, and driftwood. I painted it on one of the white rounded rounded cobbles that grace the beaches of Lesvos Island. It reminds me of sea currents, eddying foam, and the flowing Aegean sky. It was painted in encaustic (pigmented, melted beeswax mixed with natural tree resin), an ancient medium used in classical Greek painting.
My encaustic work is challenging because I don't have access to modern suppplies and equipment. I make my own paints, often using wild pigments that I collect and process myself. I melt my colors over an antique olive-pit-charcoal brazier that we use to heat our living /workspace in the winter. My heat gun is a vintage hairdryer that takes its sweet time fusing the layers of color together. My working methods are probably similar to those of the ancients, sans the blowdryer.
This beach stone was painted all the way around in several layers of melted encaustic, each one carefully fused to the previous. It rests in a cradle of driftwood bound with natural hemp twine. The predominant color is Aegean blue; the burnt orange and pale green colors were made from local mineral pigments. I accented the patterns by engraving the still warm beeswax with a wooden stylus and I let the natural color of the stone show through in various places.
The stone can be removed from the cradle and displayed on either side. It is also nice to hold in your hands. It smells good too.
The stone measures about 3 x 3 1/2 inches. The driftwood cradle is roughly 6 x 2 inches and is signed and dated on the bottom. Together they weigh 280 grams and are about 2 inches tall.
Encaustic works are exceptionally durable and long-lasting. To care for your stone, keep it out of direct sunlight and protect it from abrasion and extreme temperatures. Buff it gently with a soft cotton cloth as often as you like to retain its sheen and to keep it dust-free.