Kim Roberts creates encaustic monotypes by melting beeswax, pigment and resin on a heated aluminum plate, then laying down paper to absorb the design—or select aspects of it. Additional layers of wax and pigment may be added, both front and back to give the rich, often tactile effect of delicate, malleable stained glass. After creating an initial foundation of wax on paper, she often embellishes with graphite, ink, stencils or markings to bring out hidden images that seem to mysteriously appear.

The encaustic process originated in the ancient Greco-Roman empire and was used as a means of preserving images of the deceased in Egyptian burial sites. The oldest surviving encaustic panel paintings are the Romano-Egyptian Fayum mummy portraits from the 1st Century BC. The technique was lost for several millennia and was only rediscovered in the 1990s.

Deviating from this traditional technique of painting and fusing hot pigmented wax onto panels to create portraits of the dead, Kim employs the medium to create otherworldly scenes and images that affirm life and invite contemplation of other realms.

She derives inspiration from dreams, myth, literature, and especially from the nature spirits in Crestone, Colorado, where she lives. Recognized as a spiritual “power place” where seekers and retreatants come to access inner wisdom, the San Luis Valley and surrounding Sangre de Cristo mountain range set the stage for a mystical environment where “the veil is thinner.”

The nature of the encaustic monotype process leaves an element of chance to each creation, adding to the mystery of how co-creation occurs. Drawing on her 25 years as a devoted practitioner and teacher of yoga and meditation, her spiritual practice has gradually evolved into making art.

To learn more about her teaching, counseling and writings, please visit www.KimRoberts.Co

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Check out this talk I gave at Shumei, where I demonstrate the encaustic monotype process.