Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Anthony a Modern Fayum Portrait

Painted by Judy Vars
Encaustic on Panel

Happy he who drew you, and happy this wax that let itself be vanquished by your beauty. If only I could be transformed into a maggot or a crawling worm, that I might devour that wood!
 The Greek Anthology, XII, 90

Fayum Portraits http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fayum_mummy_portraits

One thing all these portraits have in common is their direct and hypnotic eyes looking as if suspended in the eternal now.
These faces from the past have fascinated humans for hundreds and thousands of years, each portrait gazes back upon us giving us a glimpse of their personalities; one who frowns with the brutal look of a soldier, a young girl with a mischievous smile and playful eyes, a middle aged woman who wears rare jewels and a melancholy smile. .

Meet Anthony an urbanite from both coasts Los Angeles and New York, a 21st century man captured in a modern day Fayum portrait using the same palette, tools and techniques from antiquity. The artists in the time of Alexander the great (332 BC) were the rock stars of the day respected and renowned for their talent.

Working with human subjects using encaustic beeswax is a painstaking process and is very challenging; however the art it produces is well worth the effort.  Encaustic painting entails: melting the beeswax, mixing it with dammar resin and pigments, layering the paint while still hot and liquid (it cools almost immediately), then fusing each layer with heat. Encaustic painting was described in writings by Pliny the Elder, 23 AD, the early artists used the same type of tools we use today with one notable exception, no electricity.  To flesh out the portraits I use heated sculpting tools to manipulate the wax and carving tools to scrape back layers and reveal what lies beneath. Encaustic wax is fleshy, malleable and perfect for icon painting because of its depth and luminosity.

"My medium encaustic painting is a part of the fabric of ancient man (having been with us before Marc Antony and Cleopatra had their infamous love affair), yet it is still viable and vibrant for story telling today."

1 comment:

Karen said...

this is fantastic!