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danita cole

Danita G. Cole and Encaustic Painting:

Danita G. Cole is an unusual fine art painter in that she paints exclusively in Encaustics which is the ancient medium of painting with hot pigmented wax. Usually todays mixture consists of beeswax and damar resin, which is the sap of the damar tree and is added as a hardener. It is one of the oldest mediums still being used by artists today.

Encaustics have been in use for as long ago as the 4th century B.C.E. It is believed to have evolved from the use of wax as a preservative in shipbuilding. From making the ships watertight, it was a natural step to use the wax as decoration. Pigments mixed into the wax allowed the shipbuilders to decorate their warships. Homer mentions the painted ships sailed by the Greek warriors to fight Troy. The crude paint applied with tar brushes to decorate their ships evolved into the art of painting on panels.

Encaustics are now enjoying a revival of interest from modern artists, who recognize its exquisite visual properties and versiatility. The pigment is preserved within the wax and unlike oils and other mediums, will always be its original color, never dulling or fading over time. Applied while in a liquid state on a rigid support, its possibilities are limitless.

Danita first started painting in Encaustics in the early 1990's while living in a remote village in the south of England. Her cottage was built on the lay lines of a 12th century church and it was a monk that came to visit who taught her the technique. Having fallen in love with the vibrant colors and translucent quality of the paint, she has been painting exclusively in encaustics ever since.

Her favourite subject matter is the ocean. Danita lives on a 35ft. sailing sloop and claims that living on a boat is the closest she can get to being in the water 24/7 without drowning! When she was asked why she chose the discomfort, dampness and continuous hardwork of a sailboat she replied: "There's nothing quite like the feeling of freedom one gets from living on a boat; not just from the physical freedom of being able to pick up and go, but also from the spiritual freedom that facing ones own mortality provides...without that experience it is easy to take for granted the moments of ones life and to succumb to fear. To me, that is a form of prison"

Danita has traveled extensively throughout her life and draws inspiration for her paintings from her wealth of experience and the majesty of mother nature. Danita is currently moored in Charleston harbour and shows her work in local galleries as well as at the Charleston Farmers Market every saturday. Danita hopes to spend the winter of '07 sailing around the islands of the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos.


Copyright: Danita G Cole, July 2007.