White Encaustic Monochrome (Surrender)
White (Surrender)is part of a series of encaustic wax monochrome paintings. I began this piece in July 2016 and completed it August 2018. While working on this painting, I would simultaneously perform a focused meditation on the color (or non-color) white. I did not permit myself to listen to music, to talk to another person, or to let my thoughts drift away from “white.” After the painting session was over, I would write down my meditations. When I began this piece, I thought of white in the traditional sense of: starting fresh, new beginnings, peace, and hopefulness. Remember, I started this work before the 2016 United States Presidential election, when the direction that America would take was uncertain and aspirations were high. After the election and especially during the horrible tragedy of August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, VA, when Heather Heyer was murdered by a white supremacist who drove his car into a crowd of peaceful protesters, the meaning of the color white changed for me. White became a symbol of purity and hate. The encaustic medium itself was being difficult to work with, too, and I was having to perform a lot of healing on pock marks and drips with the heat gun. The piece was taking much longer than I anticipated. I would begin each day thinking that I would finish it by the end of the session, but to no avail. Finally, white became about surrender. I was flying the white flag of surrender, though not in the sense of quitting. No, I was surrendering to the process and however long the work took to complete. I finally finished after over two years of work. Now I am working on a yellow monochrome. And then after that: red, blue, green, orange, purple, and black. Thankfully, the yellow is going much faster.