• Ruth Hamill - Break Away, 24x24, encaustic on canvas, Ruth Hamill, hi res

    Break Away, 24x24, encaustic on canvas

  • Ruth Hamill - Calm and Clear, 24x34, encaustic on canvas, hi res

    Calm and Clear, 24x34, encaustic on canvas

  • Ruth Hamill - Dance,18x40, encaustic on canvas, hi res

    Dance,18x40, encaustic on canvas

  • Ruth Hamill - Fresh Air, 14x40, encaustic on canvas, hi res

    Fresh Air, 14x40, encaustic on canvas

  • Ruth Hamill - High Tide, 18x36, encaustic on canvas, hi res

    High Tide, 18x36, encaustic on canvas

  • Ruth Hamill - Sun Drenched, 24x52, encaustic on canvas

    Sun Drenched, 24x52, encaustic on canvas

  • Ruth Hamill - The Tempest, 16x22, encaustic on canvas

    The Tempest, 16x22, encaustic on canvas

  • Ruth Hamill - At Last, 44x60, encaustic on canvas

    At Last, 44x60, encaustic on canvas

  • Ruth Hamill - August, 84x44, encaustic on canvas, hi res

    August, 84x44, encaustic on canvas

  • Ruth Hamill - Beach Breeze, 44x60, encaustic on canvas

    Beach Breeze, 44x60, encaustic on canvas

  • Ruth Hamill - Breakfast at the Beach, 44x60, encaustic on canvas, hi res
  • Ruth Hamill - Breeze, 44x84, encaustic on canvas, hi res

    Breeze, 44x84, encaustic on canvas

  • Ruth Hamill - Curling Toward Shore, 46x60, encaustic on canvas

    Curling Toward Shore, 46x60, encaustic on canvas

  • Ruth Hamill - Ocean, 35x66, encaustic on canvas, hi res

    Ocean, 35x66, encaustic on canvas

  • Ruth Hamill - Jump Into It, 32x52, encaustic on canvas

    Jump Into It, 32x52, encaustic on canvas

  • Ruth Hamill - Adrift, 18x18, encaustic

    Adrift, 18x18, encaustic on canvas

  • Ruth Hamill - Anew, 18x18, encaustic on canvas

    Anew, 18x18, encaustic on canvas

  • Ruth Hamill - Fateful, 18x18, encaustic on canvas

    Fateful, 18x18, encaustic on canvas

  • Ruth Hamill - Glorious, 10x18, encaustic on canvas

    Glorious, 10x18, encaustic on canvas

  • Ruth Hamill - Indomitable, 18x18, encaustic on canvas

    Indomitable, 18x18, encaustic on canvas

  • Ruth Hamill - Mesmeric, 18x18, encaustic

    Mesmeric, 18x18, encaustic on canvas

  • Ruth Hamill - Ride It, 6x6, encaustic on canvas

    Ride It, 6x6, encaustic on canvas

  • Ruth Hamill - Undertow, 24x52, encaustic on canvas, hi res

    Undertow, 24x52, encaustic on canvas

  • Ruth Hamill - ine, 24x52, encaustic on cLife Lanvs, hi res

    Life Line, 24x52, encaustic on canvas

  • Ruth Hamill - Hokusai hi res

    Ode to Hokusai II, 24x24, encaustic on canvas

  • Ruth Hamill - Yin and Yang (Ode to Hokusai II), 24x52, encaustic on canvas, hi res

    Yin and Yang (Ode to Hokusai II), 24x52, encaustic on canvas

  • Ruth Hamill - Crossing to Safety, 24x18, encaustic on canvas

    Crossing to Safety, 24x18, encaustic on canvas on board

  • Ruth Hamill - Mountains Beyond Mountains, 24x18, encaustic on canvas

    Mountains Beyond Mountains, 24x18, encaustic on canvas on board

  • Ruth Hamill - Ordinary People, 24x18, encaustic on canvas

    Ordinary People, 24x18, encaustic on canvas on board

  • Ruth Hamill - Outrageous Acts and Everyday Endeavors, 24x18, encaustic on canvas

    Outrageous Acts and Everyday Endeavors, 24x18, encaustic on canvas on board

  • Ruth Hamill - Girl with Curious Hair, 24x18, encaustic on canvas

    Girl with Curious Hair, 24x18, encaustic on canvas on board

Encaustic on Canvas

I began working in encaustic during my second residency, which was in Breckenridge, Colorado, in June 2009. At that point I had been working in oil for several years, painting full time and showing consistently.  Based on time spent in Colorado and at the Vermont Studio Center, I decided that in order to raise the level of my creative product and tackle (and master) this tough medium, I needed to put the marketing/commercial aside and concentrate fully in the studio to develop my own encaustic process.  I think that this time, which was three full years spent in practice and dedicated artistic solitude with a singular goal, was important.

The encaustic process involves wax, pigment and heat.  Encaustic is an ancient medium dating back to 800 B.C. and later used by the Egyptians for mummy tomb portraits.  Some encaustic paintings have survived 2000 years.

Recent innovations in these materials have allowed me to experiment to paint larger, thinner and on canvas while still maintaining the primary properties of translucency and opulance that make encaustic such a rich medium for sea and nature themes. Many of my paintings are unusually large for encaustics. .Most encaustics are 24x24 or much smaller and are on board.  I have worked to produce encaustics that are innovative in technique and material use.  

My process involves heating small metal cups to large buckets of pigment-embedded wax on a hot palette.  As soon as my paint-laden brush leaves the palette, it begins to harden.  Each paint mark made on canvas has to be reheated to fuse to the canvas and to previous marks and layers.  In a medium sized canvas, I have likely laid more than a hundred layers and have fused each with either a high-heat air gun or an iron.  This is a labor intensive, messy, hot, uncomfortable process that relies an ability to “go with the flow” and manipulate the materials to my end.  I work on a flat easel, standing, and uses gravity as well as brushes and palate knives to help move the paint.

I mix most of my paints myself, stretch my canvas, and do the framing.  That all contributes to the quality and authenticity of the finished piece.  By the way, my encaustic paintings are easily cared for by dusting with a clean, dry, cotton cloth.