I’m halfway through the first day of the first weekend of the East Bay Open Studio.

It’s hot.  Even my dog Lila, who usually greets everyone is staying inside.

Questions so far.

Will it melt?

No.  Your house would have to be on fire for it to melt.  I paint at a temperature between 180 and 200 degrees.  You’ll be fine.

How’d you get into encaustic?

I took a bookmaking workshop at Kala.  We had to deconstruct a book and then put it back together using a wax mixture.  At the end of the workshop I said forget this book thing, what is this wax?  I took a number of encaustic classes and studied with a few encaustic masters.   I never looked back.  Encaustic is my foundation.

east bay open studio encaustic painting materials

What is encaustic?  Educate me.

Encaustic is a mixture of beeswax, damar resin (tree sap) and raw pigment.  I consider it the first painting medium.  It’s what they used to paint the Egyptian funeral portraits with thousand of years ago.  When they dug up the tombs, the portraits were as fresh as if they had painted them yesterday.  These paintings will never fade.  They’ll be around forever.  A nice article here about Fayum and a discussion of the portraits.

Your work reminds me of Hans Hofmann.  Are you familiar with him?

Yes indeed!  When I was going to UC Berkeley I would take a short cut through the old Berkeley Art Museum on Durant.  At the time they had quite a few large Hofmann paintings on display.  I never made anything of it but I guess it had an impact!  Hofmann donated many paintings to this museum.

In February this year, the “new” Berkeley Art Museum presented a comprehensive Hofmann exhibition.  (photo below)  It was the first time that I saw how his early work progressed into the “push/pull” compositions we know him for today.

I enjoy chronological shows that present the dead ends, false starts or ideas that never grabbed an audience.  These are important pieces too.  Such a good reminder that those paintings I have stored in boxes, tucked away in the loft or tossed into the waste are essential.  The “one” never happens independently.  The exhibit is on until July and you can find more information HERE.

francesca saveri hans hofmann

What’s your new work?

How wonderful it is to have collectors who’ve followed my progression over these 10 years in encaustic.  This year I’ve gone for a brighter palette, more space between the shapes and motion.  Here’s another photo of Amazonia in placement.  This painting is growing on me!

large colorful encaustic painting in living room

Do you have a mailing list?

Yes I do!  I send out a monthly newsletter AND I have a weekly blog.  You can sign up here for the monthly newsletter and receive exclusive information not posted anywhere else.

Are you open next weekend for East Bay Open Studio?

Absolutely!  Saturday and Sundy 11am to 6pm!

Studio Wildcat

990 Wildcat Canyon Road

Berkeley.  CA