Sunday, August 07, 2016


Encaustic wax - Mixed Media
21 X 21

112,000 MILES

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Magic Hours Between Night and Day on Solstice Eve

Still Life on My Deck
24 x 48
What is your favorite time of the day?
Do you love sunrise surprises? Do you enjoy the noon hours white light?
Or the early evening hours with their glorious sunsets?
June 21st holds the honor of being the longest day of the year. In my neck of the woods 
(Wasilla, Alaska), that day provides us with twenty hours of daylight. This extravagant length of hours 
seems to slow time and confuses our understanding of morning, noon, and night. 
It’s been my tradition is to stay up all night on this Summer Solstice. I’ve heard it said that Alaska 
is an insomniac’s paradise. Suffering from a bit of insomnia myself, 
I can attest to the difficulty of trying to put oneself to bed when the sun is still shining. 
On the solstice, I don’t even try.
My personal favorite time of the day this time of the year has always been the window of 
magic hours from 10:30 p.m. to midnight. The sun goes down slowly during this period, 
displaying a long and glorious sunset. The light remains in a suspended state somewhere
between day and night. 
Old Sol hovers just behind the horizon, casting a filtered light of lavender as a 
Prussian-blue sky and crimson shadows give the scene an otherworldly glow. 
I often sit quietly in my secret garden next to my lake carefully observing the various elements of my
surroundings. Because I am an artist, I mentally translate the colors I see into pigments 
and am inspired to attempt to capture the essence of what I am experiencing. At these moments 
I think of something Vincent Van Gough wrote to his brother, Theo: 
"One of the most beautiful things by the painters of this century has been the painting 
of darkness that is still color.” I feel like one of those artists as I sit and contemplate how to capture 
the magic of the midnight sun onto canvas—how to paint the darkness that still has color.
For now, I’m content to enjoy the midnight sun, as soon enough it will be night most of the day. 
But the long winter’s night is magical, as well. Oh, the sights you can see: the Milky Way, the aurora, 
nighttime so clear and clean you can see planets and galaxies with the naked eye! Sunrises, sunsets, 
and bliss, “oh my.”
At the Winter Solstice (the shortest day of the year), it’s my tradition to remain snuggled in my 
new flannel pajamas all day long, no matter what. Tradition is a cozy thing.
Blessed Solstice to Everyone

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Tornado on the Plains

Original Oil
Judy Vars

Dr Freud, Dr Freud calling, I'm not just sure why I painted a tornado, I have never experienced a real one. But holy shit a huge tornado must be a terrifying experience! The fury of powerful winds swirling around leaving indiscriminate destruction in it's wake.  We all know people like that, some of them came to mind while I was painting this tornado. Beautifully scary and it's for sale at a low post tornado price.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Bee and Flowers in the Window with Red Drapes

Bee in the Window with Red Drapes
20 x 24
Judy Vars

Come and take a sentimental journey with me do you remember as a child staring out your grandmothers window? Fresh flowers placed in the open window sill bringing a touch of nature inside her small but cozy home. What is about doors and windows that is so endlessly delightful? If the eyes are the window to the soul then and the home and hearth represents our soul then it stands to reason why these kinds of paintings are so heart warming. 

This was painted with oil and to make the window trim look even more rustic and dimensional I used encaustic beeswax, to put the whipped cream and cherry on the top I found this old shabby chick frame. I hope this window painting warms your heart and brings you joy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Encaustic Wax Art

Encaustic is a Greek word translated means “to burn in” natural pigments are made from pure organic beeswax, mixed with dammar resin and fixed with heat. The exact formula was lost until a modern chemist reinvented it in the 1940’s.

The earliest surviving examples are the Fayum mummy portraits (300 B.C. to 100 A.D.), discovered near Alexandria, Egypt where embalming was big business and lengthy process taking 70 days, the head and shoulder portraits of the individual was painted onto wood panels for the mummy casing - an early Greek version of the funeral makeup artist. 
On a recent trip to Southern California we visited the J. Paul Getty Museum; this marvelous museum contained a room devoted to Fayum portraits and other fascinating funerary from Roman and Egyptian culture. Alone in this room I felt a visceral connection to the long dead people and the artists who faithfully tried to create a likeness of the person, it was a rare glimpse into the faces and eyes of an ancient civilization

The earliest icons were painted with encaustic wax.
Encaustic painting fell into obscurity by the seventh century and was forgotten with the invention of more practical methods such as oil and tempura. Electricity and pre-made pigments have made encaustic more available to everyone. Now in the 21st century encaustic is back in a big way!

The qualities of the artwork that can be achieved with encaustics are unique. The beeswax is pure and organic, perfect for artists concerned with the Green Revolution. The methods are more like alchemy and magic than painting. It can be layered with translucent pigments to mysteriously reveal what lies partially hidden, carved back to reveal what is beneath. The depth and luminosity that can be achieved is remarkable.  Modern artists have taken the wax to amazing places. It also appeals to artists who want to carve, sculpt or collage. 

As encaustic goes main-stream, art collectors and galleries are becoming more interested in the medium. Encaustic art is losing some of its novelty - which is good. Collectors will not shy away from this medium as more people hear about it and understand its unique qualities which include durability and permanence.

My mission is to spread the “cult of the wax” so, fired up with enthusiasm!  I will be teaching a 1 ½ day workshop Artist Technique, Experimentation and Enlightenment in Encaustic paints at the Machetanz Art Festival at Mat-Su College June 3rd and 4th … Bring your ephemera, sacred objects, photographs  and I’ll bring mine, together we’ll create some art, imagination and willingness are all that is required.

Studio: (907) 355-2219