“Hiraeth”, a Welsh concept that has no direct English translation, has become an inexhaustible source of inspiration for my deeply personal artistic practice. The closest English equivalent is “homesickness” but this translation is a poor substitute for the richly layered and nuanced meaning of hiraeth. It is an unattainable longing, a feeling of incompleteness for a time and place lost, or perhaps that never actually existed, a yearning for our roots or an ancestral home, a feeling of persistent dislocation from the rhythms of nature, exiled from the patch of earth we sprang from. My paintings emerge from these elusive perceptions.
I brush un-pigmented encaustic medium onto a cradled birch board. Next, thin glazes of oil paint are rubbed into each layer of wax, then fused with a heat gun and blow torch. Another layer of wax is applied, scraped smooth with a razor blade and fused again. I repeat this process multiple times until I achieve the richness of color and depth I’m looking for.
Encapsulated in the layers of beeswax and pigment are youthful memories of feeling small, yet cherished by the presence of sky and earth. Entering into a meditative dialogue I work on each piece creating a space of belonging, an oasis in time, a respite from the frantic lives most of us live nowadays. This is how I feel as I create in my studio and I hope that feeling resonates with others who see my work.