Deborah Howard-Page

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Neighborhood: Potrero Hill

Inspired by images of wild birds from a U.K. newspaper, I felt compelled to paint them. As I worked, what crept in were hints at disappearing wildlife habitats: ghostly tree branches, empty nests, holes in trees, eldritch bracken, or abandoned bird houses. Bits of decorative "wall" paper appear through the wax, hinting at human domesticity; our relentless, invading progression into vanishing wild domains.

I render figures using oil paint over a ground of wax encaustic, melted in layers onto small wood panels. Bits of gold leaf, bones, feathers, leaves, flowers, fabric, glitter, old wallpaper, origami or decorative papers may be embedded in the layers of wax. Once the paint has dried, which takes a few months, I add finishing touches of pastels, inks, and/or colored pencils.

A luscious ground for oil paint, melting beeswax smells SO lovely (reminiscent of my Waldorf school days!), plus it lends an element of mystery to the finished work.