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Artist Profile

MICHELLE BELTO
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Artist's Statement
I began making my own paper many years ago because I loved the way ordinary cotton could be broken down into pulp and then reformed into crisp sheets of hand-made paper. At the time I had considered myself primarily a fiber artist, painting dye onto silk and adding texture by quilting. But the more I worked with the paper, the more I wanted it to have the surface texture and the brilliant color that I was getting with the quilts. One day I discovered that I could create an inner support for the paper. When it was embedded into the paper pulp, pressed and dried, I had an amazing form on which to work. Like cloth, the paper could now become any shape or size that I wanted and had a unique tactile quality that I had not been able to achieve with fabric. Adding molten, pigmented wax to these paper canvases came much later. I had been experimenting with different painting media and wasn’t satisfied with anything. A friend suggested that I should “try wax” and I did. With the first brushstroke I knew that my paper canvas had found a soul mate in encaustics and that I had discovered a new way to communicate.

My work is about the exploration of these two organic mediums: paper and wax. The encaustic process of painting and scraping, melting and molding the wax allows me to be inventive in a way that is both immediate and spontaneous. The process of making my own paper substrate opens limitless doors for experimentation. My intent is to create such an interesting surface that the viewer will be momentarily held hostage by the visual complexity of the work.


Visual Arts Samples

 

Her Side of the Bed is Silent
Painting

Hieros Gamos
Collage

Searching for Balance
Painting

Red Mandala
Painting

Four Faces of Earth
Painting
 

Alchemy's Window
Painting

The Circle Squared
Painting

Threads
Painting

Hair in the Wind
Painting

Fretts and Fasteners
Painting
 

 

 
 
     
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