March 2011

Everything changes in life, we seem to be given exactly enough time to become attached and familiar to most things, before they either vanish, or just play out in our lives and pass from our days.  The older I become, the more I am aware of this facet of life.  I often wonder what life would be like if we were in control of the changes in our lives, would we ever allow change or just stay comfortably  still and stagnant?  Something to consider when you feel you need a change in your art or your approach to art.  It is at this point  the urge to move will overtake the urge to stay, and the journey takes a new path.

Delta National Forest

I often feel as though I am making great strides in my work, only to find in the end, I have made an elaborate side-winding  path back to a familiar place in my art.  I feel there is no better creativity instruction than to push into strange and unusual places in your work, either with your approach or in you thought process.   Much of my art comes from memories embedded deep in my mind, often a dream, but usually a reality that I abstract onto a two dimensional surface. In this painting, the memory was the tornado that hit Yazoo County last year, it took almost a year to have this come out in my work. I am not sure of the reason it has decided to surface, but I am sure there is a psychobabble term for it; somewhere in the many millions of  books on fear and loss of control.

I began this painting as a figurative piece but for some reason, I never felt a connection with the figurative aspect in the painting.  I have learned by trial and error if I  cannot resolve the disconnect to my work, then it is time to start anew on the painting.  In the process of layering and especially if you are working in beeswax, there is always the opportunity to go in a totally different direction with my work and this one did just that. The more layers I added, the more  I was drawn to the texture that was evolving.

Details of the texture

"Vortex" By Cathy Hegman

I decided I really liked the way the painting was progressing, it seemed to be embodying the feeling of land and the tornadic movement over the surface.  I could have left well enough alone but why? I thought I would give it a shellac burn.  It seemed to fit into the theme of this piece rather well, as it was another way of destruction in itself.  I grabbed my shellac,  the painting, and my torch and headed outside.  The process for achieving the shellac burn is to let the wax cool.  I then took a paper towel, although you could use a brush, and dabbed a good bit of shellac on the wax surface.   I lit it with my torch and let it burn itself out.  It burns the shellac and the wax together and makes for some extremely wonderful textures as it burns through the surfaces of the layers of wax in odd and wonderful ways.   You have to be very careful with this process; always take it outside, and place it on a non flammable surface like brick or stone.  An important note to  make is be careful to not handle the painting too quickly after you perform the burn, often it is still burning , even though, you cannot see the flame.  I left mine for about ten minutes, to make sure it was extinguished.  There are lots of YouTube videos on shellac burning  here is one by Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch:

The layering and burning in this process gave this painting some of the depth and destruction I was trying  to embed into it without being too literal about it.  I titled this painting “Vortex” , as I felt all the  while I was painting it, that I was being being pushed and pulled in an emotional vortex, as I struggled with the wax and the thoughts and memories of the tornado  that evoked the impetus of this painting.

This painting is available for purchase at Nunnery’s Gallery 119 in Jackson, Ms., and if you are in the area please go by and see the painting in person as the pictures cannot fully convey the depth and complexity of the painting.  Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you will give encaustic painting a try.

To see more of my work please visit my website:


"Vortex" available at Nunnery's Gallery 119 in Jackson, Ms

Vortex by Cathy Hegman


*All artwork and text included in this blog is copyright protected by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced in any form or fashion or used without the written permission of Cathy Hegman. All text and artwork included in this blog are solely the thoughts and original art of the artist, Cathy Hegman, unless otherwise noted, and are meant only to be guidelines and thoughts for others to blog.
*All photography is copyright protected by Thomas Hegman and should not be rep

About Cathy S. Hegman

Art, much like a road links people together both visually and mentally. One can attain a glimpse inside the artist’s soul by studying the artist’s work, and perhaps find something that links them to the artist and the art. A work of art has the ability to resonate and touch the emotions without regard to age, gender, race, or religion through the application of pigment to canvas or paper. Art can be the voice that cries out without limits, or sometimes whispers the thoughts of the creator. Art speaks silently, yet conjures up feelings and gives satisfaction that is undeniable, and yet intrinsic. It validates our need to learn about ourselves, and gives us freedom to search for our own identities. The road is long and often dusty, but always renewing the spirit with inspiration. It is my hope in this lifetime to give a part of what I have learned through and on my journey with others. The deepest form of us is revealed in our thoughts and my art is the translation of my thoughts to paper and canvas. I paint layers of color and line to create a history of marks that will guide the viewer into my world of thought and engage them in the process. I embed personal symbols throughout my art to give it deeper meaning. I encourage you to think about life in a visual way and to contemplate our connections with each other and the world we share.
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8 Responses to March 2011

  1. Love it, love it, love it…. I saw the tornado immediately. I know the feeling of the lack of control…………..I think Nature just lets us pretend we have some and then yanks it away once in awhile to let us know who’s in charge.

  2. I have been reflecting very much on the aspects of change, the lack of control, one’s openness to it for possibilities or the fear that causes one to withdraw, how we are all connected and when one ripple begins another follows. In my artwork, my journey is very similar to yours, dreams, experiences that evolve and are expressed not on my demand but when they are ready.

    Your blog was a great way to start my day. Painting is such a solitary art form and I appreciate reading about your process, your painting and your feelings about art. I love this painting Thank you

  3. robbie tatro says:

    Are you familiar with the layered, textural work of Anselm Kiefer?

    • I was not familiar with that artist’s work, but I googled it and it is really interesting. Thank you for the suggestion, I enjoyed viewing it!

      • robbie tatro says:

        He has work at the Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis. The one with Claus Oldenburg’s “Spoon and Cherry Bridge” in the outdoor sculpture garden.

        Also he is a book artist. Unbelievable books.

  4. Thank you Robbie! If I ever make it up that way I will definitely check it out! Very interesting work and I am sure it is better in person then it is online! Take care!

  5. Judy Wise says:

    I love your wax explorations, Cat; I’ll add you to my blog list so I can keep up with you and read all your previous posts. I am sure it will be an interesting conversation. Thank you for sharing your work.

  6. I do seem to always circle back to “me”, after trying other things, other styles. But the “me” has changed a bit I think, One thing that will absolutely cause change is a tornado. A terrible and wonder filled sight at the same time. Beautiful textures.

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