Walking into Shary Bartlett’s art studio is a delight for the senses. The first delicacy one is struck by is the sweet aroma of beeswax and pine sap that fill the air. Our eyes are then drawn to the warm griddle on her studio table, her heated palette brimming with vibrant pots of molten beeswax – brushes peeking from each container of coloured wax paint. Surprised by the hum and flash of fire, we see Shary’s blazing torch that melts each painted brushstroke, fusing and swirling hues on her painted wooden surface. Our eyes trail from the magical transformation taking place on her art table to the finished paintings and sculptures on the striking black walls of her
studio. It’s all one can do not to run fingertips across these painted surfaces which vary from glassy smooth to roughly textured, secreting curious ephemera like botanical plant fibres, fabric, and objects that are buried in the wax.
Depictions of nature and humankind, Shary’s dynamic paintings and sculptures tell stories of memory, time, and the cycle of life. Her 15-year love of this exquisitely translucent and slightly milky medium of encaustic is contagious. A Greek word, meaning “to burn in,” encaustic dates back to the early Greek and Roman eras, around 500 BCE, seeing a huge rise in popularity in the 21st century. Encaustic’s multi-layered, luminous veneer is best seen in person so check out her studio!
Written by Daniel Savas
Which ’hood are you in?
My studio is nestled in East Vancouver’s iconic Parker Street Art Studios
Where can we find your work?
435- 100 Parker Street- Viewing by appointment at [email protected]
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To get an inside view into the fascinating art of encaustic photography, watch Shary’s video.
What do you do?
I’m a mixed media artist who works primarily with Encaustic – an ancient art medium which combines molten beeswax, natural damar resin and pigment. I adore working with wax! My paintings and sculptures are held in public and private collections around the world. I’ve been a long-time fine arts instructor and teach art internationally. You can find my encaustic mixed media work and
techniques published in the books, Encaustic Art in the 21st Century, and Encaustic Revelation. I have three personally-curated encaustic wax pigments sets created with Enkaustikos Paints, sold internationally.
What are you currently working on?
My current body of work is called Inexorable Growth, a series of vibrant abstract encaustic paintings which resemble microscopic molecules found in plant, human and celestial life. The biomorphic forms I paint and sculpt emerge two- and three-dimensionally from the painted surface as micro-and macroscopic metaphors for the dynamic character of growth, disease, evolution and decay. My paintings are reflections on nature, the cycle of life, and our relationship with the environment.