Amalgam of Oil and Wax Produces Distinctive Paintings – Part 1

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“I almost quit,” confesses Michele Taber. “What I was producing was awful, just awful.” Despite months of paging through art supply catalogues and trying a variety of mediums, Taber was not able to reach the standards to which she aspired. Enter happenstance.

“My husband and I took a vacation to Puerto Rico,” she says. “While visiting an old masonry fort along the coast, I was drawn to the textures and colors on the structure’s weathered walls. It was a revelation. They reminded me of abstract paintings, and I decided to go in that direction with my art.”

When Taber returned home, she resumed oil painting but continued to be dissatisfied with the results. It was a small jar of cold wax medium, purchased before vacation, which finally ignited her newfound enthusiasm.gallery 3

“I began to combine the wax with oil paint, and it achieved all that I wanted to do,” says the artist. “I didn’t know anyone who worked in the process, but I was able to learn more about it through an online forum called ‘Oil and Wax.’ And a book entitled Wax as an Art Form by Thelma Newman provided still more information.”

Over time, the 49-year-old Derry Township resident has put her knowledge to exemplary ends. Employing such unconventional painting tools as squeegees, brayer and a bowl scraper, Taber has produced non-objective imagery that occasionally slips across the line into the representational realm – but just.

“I will use my own photos as bases for many paintings,” she says. “But once the paintings get started, they begin to take on their own identities.”

Locally, the reader can view Taber’s work at Harrisburg’s Gallery @ Second (galleryatsecond.com). An exhibition will be in place March 19 through May 4. Artist reception is slated for Friday, March 20, 6-9 p.m. To glean more information, visit taberart.blogspot.com.

 

Part II of this column will appear in the April issue La Voz Latina Central.

Staff Writer

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