Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Artist at Play

Last summer was the first time seeing Kathy Hastings' encaustic photos. I posted about them, but had neglected to get up close. How could I have missed reaching out and touching them? We have been taught not to touch, but Kathy invited me to feel and see the layers and in between. 

She has a few heavy lines on her life's personal timeline. One marks before and after David died.

The other is before and after beeswax. The after, that came after both ~ changed everything. 

Beeswax resting hard. Beeswax melted warm. 

Below is a box of old mounted photos from the early days, before she started adding the encaustic process. 

They are nice, these orphaned and ignored first children, but Kathy's work has gone far beyond merely nice.

These textures and layers, seeing through them, under them, beyond each one to what lies on top ~ takes them from being nice, to alive. 

It was uncanny how warm the beeswax felt to my fingers. Perhaps it's the organic nature of the material ~ a living creature manufactured it. Silk, and Mexican sun-baked Saltillo tiles, give the same kinesthetic pleasure. My nose and camera lens got up close to the edge, where the action is. 

Kathy is a scuba diver and world traveler. She had/has a conch shell obsession. The symbolism, colors, and never ending variety of brokenness meet where her "insatiable curtiousity" (as Kipling would say), lives. This toppling tower of conch shell photos printed on deckle edged water color paper captivated me. She has a series of her favorites as finished encaustics. 

A photo is printed, cropped to size and mounted onto a prepared panel. 

Melted beeswax is applied. 

Torched smooth, melted on.

Another layer of beeswax.  

In between each layer, more texture and color is added. 

Everywhere I looked were collages of tools, and streaks of color. Odd bits of things were stacked and piled together ~ waiting to be picked. Noticed. Used. 

A stack of her Crossings series boxed and labeled, ready to be shipped. A church had ordered them in time to enjoy during Lent. 


Kathy has an astonishing array of musical instruments. The collection covers the map. 

Her jewelry collection also covers the map. 

She mostly loves paddling around in her kayak, meeting the big boys in the Seattle harbor at their own waterline. The rusty hulls of mammoth working ships give her fodder for her photos. 

She allowed me inside the drawers and colors of her home. Kathy has a hospitable heart. So does her art.

Kathy Hastings' maker's mark. It left an impression. Deep. 

Check out her website to see her new series ~ Waterlines. She says, ...."I'm literally (shooting from) where the water line touches the hull of the boat. The hull is hard. The water yielding. The surfaces touch, hard and yielding. The boat displaces the water. The water cradles the boat. If I'm the boat, who/what is cradling me? God's love, the love of God through others. I'm fascinated with the play of fluid next to the hard, the boundaries of the surfaces, the ship being held by the water."  

 When I first saw them I immediately thought of the chorus of Held, by Natalie Grant: 

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was, that when everything fell
We'd be held

Another new series is the Frio Suite, capturing the unique shades of green found winding along the Texas hill country near Laity Lodge. 


Maureen said...

Kathleen, a marvelous post! Great process photos. Your comments have the human touch and wonderful feeling for the artist and her work. Brava!

She - and you - are terrific.

Valerie Kamikubo said...

I can almost smell the beeswax in these photos... lovely! And I can tell by them that this was a very wonderful meeting.

L.L. Barkat said...

So cool. And I loved the Frio Suite. :)

Cassandra Frear said...

This reminds me of my artistic grandmother. Her kitchen was half-cooking, half-painting. I grew up around her paints and art supplies and she was always working on something which I could see right in her kitchen while we made coffee. It's lovely to be inside art while it's being lived in.

Anonymous said...

Kathleeeeen...amazing post! Amazing photos. :)

Anonymous said...

i like this post. lots of pictures and just the right words.

M.L. Gallagher said...

I want to be there too! Touching and feeling and breathing in her art.

Through your post -- I was there.

Thank you for sharing so beautifully!

Anonymous said...

What a thrill that must have been to visit her studio, Loved your comments and the pictures. hope I get to meet her also. followed the links and looked at her work, loved the floating leaf and Nov. dish (new dawn in the shells)Journey prayers was wonderful also. makes me want to at least get out my camera again.
Enjoyed it lots, going to bed with a big smile.

Joyceann Wycoff said...

Thanks for sharing all of this ... how inspiring to see her work through your eyes.