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Paintings are beeswax to Westlake artist

Westlake artist Paul Fletcher works with encaustic paint, whch is made of beeswax, damar resin and pigments. (West Life photo by Kevin Kelley)

Westlake artist Paul Fletcher works with encaustic paint, whch is made of beeswax, damar resin and pigments. (West Life photo by Kevin Kelley)

Have you ever heard of encaustic painting?

Most people haven’t. But Westlake artist Paul Fletcher makes his living creating encaustic paintings.

Encaustic is paint composed of beeswax, damar resin and pigments. The term “encaustic” refers to both the paint itself and the method for using it.

A native of Niles, Ohio, Fletcher exhibited this past weekend at the Crocker Park Fine Art Fair. Originally in the advertising business, he entered the fine art world as a traditional oil painter. An article about American artist Jasper Johns, known for his encaustic work, piqued Fletcher’s interest in the method about three years ago. He’s been creating encaustic paintings exclusively for the past two years.

“Very few people have ever seen this type of painting,” Fletcher said.

Molten encaustic paint is applied to an absorbent surface, then fused to create a variety of effects. Additional layers of encaustic paint can be applied immediately. Fletcher takes advantage of this feature by using numerous layers that project outward from the surface. The bark of a tree, for example, rises a centimeter or so above the rest of the painting, giving the work a three-dimensional quality.

“When people look at it, they know they’re looking at something different,” Fletcher told West Life. “They just don’t know what it is.”

Fletcher said that while most encaustic artists create abstract works, he is one of the few to make contemporary works. He specializes in landscapes and wildlife.

Fletcher’s paintings range in price from $100 to $4,000. One work takes around 30 hours to complete, he said.

Exhibiting for the second time at the Crocker Park Fine Art Fair, Fletcher said the show generated a lot of sales and interest. He exhibits at between 25 and 30 shows per year, he said.

To view Fletcher’s paintings, go to his website at http://paulfletcher.artspan.com.

FINE ART FAIR DOES FINE: Max Clayton, executive director of the Michigan-based Guild of Artists & Artisans, said the weekend art show was successful.

“Thank goodness for good weather,” she said. “The artists did really well.” She added that the parking lots at Crocker Park were full for much of the weekend.

Mike Guyot

Mike Guyot

For the second year in a row, the best in show award went to Strongville’s Mike Guyot, who describes himself as an “architectural impressionist.” His renderings of landmarks such as the Terminal Tower and West Side Market, done freehand with a rapidographic ink pen, were available both as cover art on note cards and in full-size canvases framed for hanging.

Guyot’s work can be seen at his website, http://www.fishfacegraphics.com.

 

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