Swimming Serpents

18.00"W x 18.00"H x 0.5"D

$300 (Shipping Included)

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Karma Kitaj


Medium: Painting

Subject Tags: expressionist, landscape, abstract, surrealism, serpents, underwater, creatures, fanciful

Media: beeswax, hair, gold leaf, shellac, horse

Size: 18"W x 18"H x 0.5"D

Year Created: 2018

Ready to Hang

These undulating creatures became like serpents to my eyes. I find I am attracted to this shape, floating things with long tails. When I discovered they looked like serpents I gave them eyes, a mouth, and tails. I began with a birch plywood board, on which I applied changing colors in encaustic gesso, which seals the wood. The colors of the background became mysterious, creating a field for these underwater creatures that have no name. There's some horsehair and circular marks, which contrast with the wavy shapes of the creatures. I had fun composing this. It reminds me of a child's dreamscape.

I'm Karma Kitaj, encaustic and mixed media artist. Do you know what encaustic is? It's an ancient form of painting, having survived over millenia The Fayum portraits were discovered, buried in mummies in Eqypt, created by Greek painters in 1st c. AD, revived in the 20th century. The pigment is composed of beeswax and a resin that gives the wax more body and shine. Then luscious pigments are added to that medium. Many encaustic paintings are made on wood, which holds the wax well and does not easily bend. The artist applies various layers of pigment and burns in each layer with a heat gun or torch. This process is reflected in the word encaustic, which means "to burn in". In my paintings and mixed media work, I use a combination of wax, oil, tar, spray paint, cloth, mylar, paper, and any variety of found objects. The wax can be built up to have a sculptural effect or it can be very smooth and glossy or luminescent. The work does not have to be framed, saving the buyer a lot of money.

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