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Naturally Occurring: Paintings by Debra Claffey in Oil, Encaustic and Mixed Media

Cereus-ly IINaturally Occurring: Paintings by Debra Claffey in Oil, Encaustic and Mixed Media opened June 21 through September 6, 2013. Claffey combines encaustic with multi-media technique producing a rich surface with translucence, opacity, smoothness and texture.

Encaustic paint was first used over 5,000 years ago in Greece when the Greeks used wax to seal their ships. Eventually they added pigment to decorate the boats and this led to easel painting in encaustic. Encaustic derives from the Greek word, Enkaustikos, meaning to burn in. "Burning in," refers to fusing the layers of wax with additional heat to bind them to each other and to the substrate, which is usually wood.

Artist Statement
These paintings are visual songs for me - excursions into color, form and texture. I like to combine opacity and translucence, scribbled line against an illusion of depth, thick surfaces with pale washes. The medium of encaustic wonderfully allows for all of this plus carving and scraping back to reveal buried layers. Each piece becomes an exploration of the tensions between flat surface and pictorial depth. Arterial

My subjects are often plants and everyday objects from my life, arranged to accentuate their varied forms and shapes in complex compositions. I think of them as orchestrations of light and dark, shape and rhythm.

The biology, fractal design, and stunning beauty of plant systems are what keep me coming back to these complex yet mundane forms again and again.

Debra Claffey is a visual artist who uses encaustic, oil, and mixed media in her work. Raised in Connecticut, schooled in Massachusetts, she now lives and works in New Boston, New Hampshire. She holds a BFA in Painting from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Tufts University and an Associate's Degree in Horticultural Technology from the University of New Hampshire.

Behind and Through After graduation, she opened her first studio in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts in 1981 and helped begin the tradition of annual Open Studios there. She has exhibited across the country, especially here in New England, and has work in several private collections. Her work can be seen at McGowan Fine Art in Concord, NH, the Hole in the Wall Gallery in Raymond, Maine, and the Gerry Frazier Gallery at NHAA in Portsmouth, NH.

She is a long-time member of the Women's Caucus for Art/NH and has served on the National WCA Board as well as the NH chapter Board. She is also a juried member of the NH Art Association and of New England Wax , a collective of artists who use encaustic.



Cereus-ly II (upper right), Debra Claffey, encaustic, pigment stick, ink and oil on panel
Arterial (middle right), Debra Claffey, encaustic, pigment stick, collaged monotype
Behind and Through , Debra Claffey, encaustic, oil, graphite on panel