Urban Markings in Encaustics

Increasingly I search the streets of my urban world, often seeing beauty where others may not.  Discarded objects, recycled materials, graffiti, torn flyers, rusted metal all provide a bridge between my inner world and the outer landscape of urbanization and globalization. I apprehend and appreciate the life and beauty that urbanity offers us– weathered through time, distinguished by history, and marked by human presence.

Lately, I am less interested in what is uniquely personal to me, but rather, am engaged by the universality of the human experience I find in the residue of urban spaces.  I scour the streets of my native San Francisco Bay Area, but also foreign cities, for images, inspiration and influence, which I then reconfigure into paintings constructed from wax, oils, collage, and prints from my photographs.  The layers of wax create a sedimented history of my impressions and thought.  This new series of encaustic paintings was generated by recent trips to Buenos Aires, Berlin and San Miguel de Allende.

I love encaustic painting for its direct, physical and alchemical process. Each layer of wax, after it is applied onto a wooden panel with a brush, is fused with a paint stripper, hot iron, or blowtorch.  The work is then altered through the application of additional layers, and by scraping off sections with razors and scratching into it with sharp points.  Oil paints are rubbed into indentations and wiped off.  This produces either a thick, gritty surface, or a thin translucent veil hinting at what else the painting might have been.

The melting process can be unpredictable though, and sometimes strange results can occur.  This forces me to be flexible and to remain open to the myriad possibilities that this medium allows.

Claudia Marseille 2017

Interconnecting Circles

Claudia Marseille
Claudia Marseille is a Berkeley Native encaustic artist and photographer. She is represented by two galleries, Seager Gray gallery in Mill Valley, and Kelsey Michaels gallery in Laguna Beach. Her work can be seen on her website: claudiamarseille.com. Claudia is currently working on a memoir about growing up severely hard-of-hearing before the advent of digital hearing aids.

#Claudia Marseille


  1. Alice Feller - September 10, 2019 @ 7:53 pm

    Claudia, I think these are magical. They’re more than beautiful, they fill me with pleasure–amazing!

  2. Karen Hunt - September 9, 2019 @ 9:39 pm

    Fabulous, both the paintings and your description of your process.

  3. Marlene Moon - September 9, 2019 @ 12:06 pm

    Oh what a walk my eyes traipsed through while in your paintings. So many breathing images were reignited by your textures and colors, kinda like strolling the streets of urbanity with you, encouraged to feel more than that which is finite. Just how did you do that for me?

  4. Robert Pizzi - September 8, 2019 @ 7:27 pm

    I love your vivid colors and your compositional arrangements. Bob Pizzi

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