Angie Gillespie is an encaustic artist from Eastern South Dakota. Her subject matter is mostly abstract landscapes with stretched out horizons & vast intricate patterns & designs that carry across the panel. Her brightly colored work is luminescent & has a certain glow as light dances between the many layers of wax.
Although self-taught in the realms of encaustic; in a primitive fashion, her love for the medium started as a child. Spending countless summer days at the lake, she’d create little fire pits with a grill top & melt crayons in metal jar lids.
“I loved melting crayons & pouring it on the sand, leaves or rocks. As absurd as it may sound now, as a child I was allowed to play with matches and make fires on the beach. But I was always reminded by my mother, “Make sure you pull your hair back!” I’d walk into the boathouse or garage & my dad would have countless odds & ends all neatly organized on the wall. I can vividly remember standing before all of it, thinking, 'what can I make today?'"
Now many years later, Angie is consistently pushing the boundaries of what the wax can do & forging new ways to implement those ideas! Her goal is to never stop learning & to always evolve with her work through time & life experiences.
Angie resides in Sioux Falls with her husband, two children, two big pups & a lizard named Frank. She works from her home studio and downtown Printing Studio, APLIS Fine Art Printing - finding balance between everything. In her spare time, she loves to read, sit in her gardens & be silly with her family.
I don’t just use paint brushes; I use blow torches, irons & a heat gun to push colors around & form movement.
My palette is filled with soup cans & tins that rest on a heated griddle. I have sticks, picks, knives & scrapers to mold the wax & carve detail. This is the magic of working with encaustic! I create my encaustic clear medium by mixing beeswax with damar crystals which act as a hardener. Many of my colors are custom created mixtures of dry pigments to which I add to the clear medium. A key component in working with encaustic is each layer of wax must be fused together with the previous layer by heat. Details can be captured in time as layers of wax are melted, waiting to be scraped away to reveal new patterns that are hidden beneath!
The rhythm of encaustic is quite different from any other medium. Its own innate nature tends to be met with spontaneous outcomes. So I forge ahead only to see what happens. But this is met with conflict as it’s my consistent desire to have some control over the piece.
So my work is a mix of both worlds, a little chaos settled with structure.
On one hand, I’m drawn to organic repetition found in nature, soft edges & no hard boundaries. I’ll have a general idea for the direction of the piece & the colors I want to use; but the work tends to unfold as I go. On the other hand, the need for control takes over as I incorporate my love for deliberate patterns & shapes, sharp edges & bold colors.
I paint something that feels very in tune to what the wax wants to do, then I paint something that makes you question whether it should be there. It’s a little unsettling, but I push through to the very end right before being overworked, incorporating both styles. When you know the rules, you can make your own.
My wish for those that view my paintings is to let their eyes wander, to touch to cool wax & follow the lines & details they can’t see from afar; to step back & see the whole piece come together.... a mix of wonderful chaos paired with harmony!