This is an update of an interview. Lynette is doing some exciting new work and hope you will check out her website:
Rhythmo No. 8, 2010
Encaustic on Panel, 24" x 44" x 1.5"
Until a couple of years ago I was not aware of anyone working with the encaustic process. During my undergraduate years my school did host an artist from the Boston area who worked with encaustic but that was my only direct exposure to this beautiful medium. The work of this artist was done on a large scale and figurative. Artists today are expressing themselves in wax with many points of view and many different techniques and it has been an exciting adventure to find these artists on the web.
Today I have an interview that I found rather special and I hope you will as well. My featured artist is Lynette Haggard and she works with Encaustic. Her work is beautiful and mysterious and demonstrates that she isn't afraid to experiment. Those are qualities I always admire in creative people and their work.
My work references imperfections, history of marks, memory, music and the contrast between organic and the structured. My process includes the use of encaustic, oil, found materials, paper, paint and marks. What interests me is the play between the unpredictable and the structured, tactile yet intangible, resulting in surface and imagery that is evocative to the viewer.
The process is both additive and subtractive. In between layers, I fuse with a torch, heat gun or hot tool. Sometimes I score and mark the surface to reveal the colors, marks and history beneath.
Using multiple approaches, I am able to create a history while working within the formal constraints of the edges of the panel or the object I am creating. The pieces incorporate juxtaposition and various associations between the areas of activity on the surface. A color, an edge, a mark, a drip, a stroke, or an added material will define the tactile activity within the space and surface. The results are intimate explorations, associations and a history through layering.
Encaustic an oil stick on found object, 13" x 6" x 5"
Interview Questions and Answers
The first three questions are questions I am asking in all interviews this year.
Terry: At what point in your life did you know at your core that you were an artist?
Lynette: I have always been interested in making things and drawing and painting. The process of making art became integral to my life at an early age. My dad was imaginative and encouraged me. He also helped me build small electrical circuit boards, taught me to solder wires and build tree houses. His business was selling X-Ray equipment and designing the installation of X-Ray equipment, working with architects. Sometimes I visited his warehouse where I played with electrical meters and other weird electrical things. We did a lot of drawing and discussing inventions we could make. A favorite game was "improvise!" where if we could solve a problem in alternative ways, we would. My mom also encouraged me to sew. So I was always drawing and cutting out shapes and assembling things - surrounded by fabric, scrap cardboard, wire, clay, reams of computer paper from my grandmother. I enjoyed many summers on a farm in Vermont where I worked the farm, got my hands dirty and especially enjoyed the company of an 85-year-old woman who cut out quilt fabric by hand during the summer. She spent all winter hunkered down sewing her quilts by hand.
Making art was my haven, my escape, place to explore, and something I did well. My family life was often in turmoil, but when I closed the door to my room and wrote or drew, I went "inside" and left the rest of the world behind me. I was especially influenced by my life-long friend, Birgit DeGennaro, a Swedish American transplant who took me under her wing when I was young. We maintained a friendship for over 50 years. The best way to describe our relationship is that it was well, like Quantum Aesthetics. She taught me appreciation for things in life and art that made me introspective, inquisitive, and strong. Recently she passed away, but I will always hold her teachings in my persona and spirit, and how I express myself or develop my work.
Throughout high school I was active in visual arts programs, filling up all my extra school time in the art classroom. Eventually I studied at the Philadelphia College of Art (now University of the Arts) where I obtained a Bachelor's of Fine Arts with a major in Painting and a minor in sculpture.
Terry: Do you ever get into an artistic slump and if so, how do you rejuvenate yourself?
Lynette: Sometimes I have to manage how I transition jumping from a "day job" to my studio "job". I find that a "slump" usually means that I have lost focus of the concept or body of work I'm dealing with. Sometimes I may turn the work away to the wall, but in the past year Or so I find that I am having new ideas and directions before I complete the current series. So I have learned that it is very helpful for me to step away from what I'm doing and to write or draw my ideas for the next work. I have begun sketching while I am on the commuter train, taking notes and making records of my ideas. This helps me get a quicker start when I get to the studio.
Artefacto #8, 2006
Encaustic on Cut Wood, 15" x 9" x1.5"
Terry: Please describe your studio activity...your work habit.
Lynette: On my "studio days", I usually begin the day with a good hour-long walk with my 2 dogs and some of my friends who have dogs. After that I head to the studio, I turn on the hot plattes and wait for the paint to be ready. Simultaneously, I either clean up and prep my workspace or review my sketchbook and notes. This is a good time to look at the work I have been making and note any changes I want to make. Then I start working and I may take some breaks to either write or sketch or take a walk.
I work a full-time job in Boston where I design science-based educational materials. I spend a few evenings a week in my studio, plus weekends, holidays and vacation days. Because encaustic can be a very time consuming process, I try to be organized about when I make medium, prep panels and do other planning for my work.
Lynette Haggard working in her studio.
Terry: While encaustic is your primary medium, do you work regularly in any other medium? What is the quality of the encaustic medium or process that engages you most and how do those elements support your work?
Lynette: For several years I was an oil painter working in more of a representational realm. In 2002 I visited Cuba and not long after that, my work began to shift. Abstraction, texture, history of the mark, memories of what had been and impact of music began to interest me. With this shift, the texture, luminosity and color of encaustic began to appeal to me. The medium fit my concepts.
Almost Touching, 2007
Encaustic on panel, 5" x 31" x 1.5"
Referring to the image Artefacto #8, and Almost Touching - these pieces were inspired by the history of the broken and worn down building and walls in Havana, Cuba. Over the past 6 months I have begun to add more dimensionality in my work, and more. I have just begun working with plaster as a ground and also will be doing some wall pieces that are more object-like than painting.
Encaustic, Wood - 14" x 9" x 2"
Terry: What impact if any has being active on the World Wide Web had on your, your art or your art activities?
Lynette: I love the Internet. It provides many opportunities for me to connect with so many other artists. In January this year I began a blog and decided to interview other artists for a while. This practice has proven to be enormously rewarding. While it is work, and takes up a chunk of time each week, I get back so much from this activity that I plan to continue it for a while. I am able to look at all kinds of work and learn how each artist's process, thoughts and goals are different. Of course, now that I have procrastinated doing this interview for so long, I have more empathy for my future interviewees!
The Web is also a great way to do research, market yourself, and communicate. I don't know how we lived without it...
Lynette with some of her work.
Lynette grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts and received her BFA from Philadelphia College of Art. Since 1995 she has been exhibiting regionally and nationally and is included in collections in both the US and Abroad. She teaches classes from her studio and has been a guest artist at various art organizations as well as the Annual Encaustic Conference.
Thank you Lynette for sharing your work with us and your story. Thanks also to YOU the Reader! I appreciate your stopping by Studio 24-7 and I love hearing from you.
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