Smoothness, transparency, depth and patterns are fitting descriptions of my encaustic and cold wax paintings. I am Deborah Llewellyn, an artist and professional photographer based in Atlanta, GA. I developed a love for painting with wax about 9 years ago and never looked back.

My paintings are a combination of beeswax and damar medium, oil paint, cold wax and photography. I make my own encaustic medium in order to control the hardness and mixing of colors. My work is physical as well as spontaneous to create. Encaustic medium has to be heated, melted then brushed or poured onto wood panels. A blow torch and/or heat gun are used to move the wax, scrapers and solvents are used to reveal underneath layers. Then more of the ancient medium is brushed on and smoothed, I transfer images onto the wax with heat, burnishing and physical pressure to create another layer, then more wax is brushed on, fused and smoothed. Sometimes as many as 12 to 20 or more layers are applied to give the depth and transparency I want in each painting. When exploring my paintings up close you'll see images, marks, lines, words and movement from brushtrokes. You want to touch them.

Cold Wax medium does not take heat since it is a combo of beeswax and mineral spirits - would be toxic - whipped up into a paste-like consistency. I add oil paint or dry pigment or almost anything like sand, marble dust, dirt for color and texture. I carve into it, make impressions, take away layers to create visual layers.

Born in Montreal, raised in Connecticut, I started my artistic career with a full scholarship to Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre in New York City before moving on to commercial photography. Influential artists are Georgia O'keefe, Irving Penn, Michael David, Alan Katz, Mapplethorpe, Lawrence Carroll, Betsy Eby and Joyce Tenneson. I am in the studio daily working on my paintings when not shooting for a commercial client.

Prepping a new encaustic panel

Deborah in her studio