Encaustic Art – Insights from Artist Kathy Ostrander Roberts

In addition to being thrilled to be a part of Maine Art Hill’s August show, Kathy Ostrander Roberts is excited to be reviving an ancient art.

”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,” explains Ostrander Roberts. “It is unlike any art ever experienced. I encourage viewers to touch the surface. It has a texture that begs a touch.”

She also encourages viewers to get up close and see the surface of the wax. Whether the canvas is carved, polished, raised, or smooth, each is delightfully dimensional.

Maine Waters I by Kathy Ostrander Roberts Maine Waters II by Kathy Ostrander Roberts

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

The goal is to capture the essence of Maine’s coastal waters. Kathy wants those hope who see her work to think of bodies of water and how they ebb and flow. Whether it is an exploration of the waters of a dark river like in Acqua Oscura or the surf crashing to shore like in Breakers and Waves, there is something magical in the movement of wax and resin.

“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,” explains Ostrander Roberts. “I also try to embed a vintage piece of ephemera, ship captain’s letters, photos, mica, bark, or whatever inspires me into most paintings.”

These works replicate the movement of Maine waters, an element to which Kathy is inexplicably drawn.






We welcome you to wander Maine Art Hill in Kennebunk, Maine. All of our galleries are open at 10 am seven days a week. Shows on Maine Art Hill is featuring the work of Kathy Ostrander Roberts as well as Bethany Harper Williams and Claire Bigbee through Labor Day weekend. 

If you can not make it to the show, please see it online by click here and taking the virtual tour.

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