Artist Kathy Ostrander Roberts – Encaustic? What?

There is no doubt that artist Kathy Ostrander Roberts works in a unique and interesting medium. She has taken a little known, but very old process, and made it her own as she celebrates Maine and the sea.

Encaustic paint is created by combining beeswax, resin, and pigment with heat. This ancient medium has been around since the fifth century with a renaissance of followers in the last decade. “It is unlike any art ever experienced,” shares Kathy. “There are sometimes as many as twenty layers of wax in each painting. I use pottery tools to carve into the surface to lend a 3-D effect. I also try to embed a vintage piece of ephemera, ship captain’s letters, photos, mica, bark, or whatever inspires me into most paintings.”

Kathy is one of our artists that encourages viewers to touch the surface of her work.  Each has a texture that begs a touch. Plus, it feels a little naughty to run your hands across the surface, like a small child doing something you probably shouldn’t be doing. With the multitude of layers and the process Kathy uses, it is completely safe.

Shipwreck by Kathy Ostrander Roberts

Shipwreck is an 8×8 panel that is entirely sculpted. You really get to see the typical depth of my wax process in this piece,” explains Kathy. “I have been focusing on adding more layers, carving the wax for dimension, and trying new techniques with something called ‘XD’ wax, which allows for creating an impasto effect. I also particularly enjoyed making Beneath Each Wave. It is supposed to give viewers a sense of looking down at the ocean from a great height.”

Having worked for years in dry pigment in the form of pastels, Kathy finds using a blow torch, yes a blow torch, very freeing compared to paint. “It is not only rhythmical but can be meditative as well. The outcome is never certain, and the result is always engaging,” she says.

With all the layers of wax and a blowtorch. The seafoam effect happens. This has to be fun!  With this process comes a great deal of experimenting. What works? What doesn’t? What catches the eye? What brings the viewer in? See the link at the bottom to watch Kathy work from her studio.

Please call 207-967-2803 and leave a message or email at

To see all of Kathy Ostrander Roberts available works, visit her Artist Page.

Kathy Ostrander – Artist Page


To see the show in its entirety and virtually. Follow the link below.


This show runs until June 29.