Sandra Henderson


Inspiration and Techniques

Sandra's earlier work was largely inspired by flowers but she then broadened her subject matter to include birds, animals and landscapes.

Her art journey has included watercolour with the addition of gouache, acrylics and inks on paper and canvas. She has also explored painting miniatures with watercolour and airbrushed inks on Claybord. She very much enjoys exploring new media and techniques and this has led to her recent excursion into the world of encaustic. Workshops with renowned NSW encaustic artist, Mo Godbeer and also Melbourne encaustic artist, Michelangelo Russo have now set her aflame (excuse the pun) with a new passion for this fluid and serendipitious medium.

Encaustic is a Greek work meaning 'to heat' or 'burn in' (enkaustikos). This technique has been around for centuries - it dates back to the Ancient Greeks who used it to decorate their warships. Perhaps the most famous examples which have survived are the Fayum funeral portraits painted in the first through third centuries AD by Greek painters in Egypt. A portrait of the deceased was placed over the person's mummy as a memorial. It is remarkable how fresh the colours have remained throughout the centuries.

 Encaustic painting has been enjoying a revival in Australia in recent times. The beeswax medium is melted and coloured with powdered pigments or oil paint and then applied to the chosen surface with brushes. Wooden boards are usually used as the painting ground. A blowtorch or heat gun is used to 'fuse' the wax and more and more layers are added. A wide range of different materials and techniques can be incorporated into the encaustic painting - collage, stencilling, texturing, inks, oil pastels, dry pastels, engraving, shellac burning - the use of techniques is limited only by the imagination.

 It is difficult to get very fine detail with encaustic so Sandra's work is now off in a new direction - much more spontaneous and textural.