Artist’s Statement – Alexandra Reid
“I am interested in the process of thought and memory. I work with encaustic paint for its unique abilities to preserve life’s ephemera beneath layers of wax and paint. I use mixed media to assemble images and objects that best fit the theme I am trying to express. Dreams and daily life serve as inspiration for my works.”
I am a self-taught artist, and work primarily in acrylic and encaustic paints. I studied art in high school (awarded the Fine Art prize in my final year), and did a minor in Art History. I pursued plant molecular biology as a career, but have come back to making art after working as a government research scientist. I am a current member of the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria, the Coast Collective Art Centre, the Community Arts Council of the Saanich Peninsula, the Saanich Peninsula Arts & Crafts Society, and the Island Artisans Association. I am a past member of the Fine Arts Society of Milton and Visual Arts Mississauga. I sell my artworks and jewellery through my online stores: Lexi Reid Studio and Polarity Designs and write about my artistic journey and experiments on my blog.
What is Encaustic Painting?
Encaustic derives from the Greek word, ‘Enkaustikos’, meaning to burn in. “Burning in” refers to fusing the layers of wax with additional heat to bind them to each other and to the substrate, which is usually wood. Encaustic painting is the use of natural beeswax and damar resin melted together and combined with oil paints or dry pigments to create a painting medium. This paint is applied hot (not a cold paste) and manipulated with a direct heat source. Encaustic medium is one of the most durable of all artists’ paints, since wax is impervious to moisture and the colours do not fade.
I mix three-dimensional media into these works, using natural elements such as Japanese paper, dried flowers and leaves, feathers, eggshells, and many other materials in order to provide both texture and a visual counterbalance to the man-made images and materials.
Close-up of encaustic collage from ‘Briar Rose’s Garden’ by Alexandra Reid.
My latest art works, the ‘Thought & Memory’ series, show my unique “encaustic mosaics” that display a renaissance marriage of Art & Science – sometimes with a whimsical or nostalgic feel; at other times, with a darker, more sinister sense of mortality or ‘Vanitas.’