Encaustic: I create textured paintings on a customized and oversized heated plate to blend abstracted imagery of the real world. The place, the feeling, or experience that I am portraying is a snap shot of my present mindfulness. The size of the work comes from the same inspirational process. I hope the resulting images, whether beach or urban scenes, challenge the viewer to look again at what passes in front of them. I attempt to offer calming, reassuring works as symbols of hope in our ever-changing world.
Photography and Mixed media: As a photographer who also has a love of painting, I have created what feels to me to be a natural hybrid of these two interests. The process oftens starts with mounting photographs on birch panel. I then cover the images with layers of encaustic wax and paint using pigmented oil sticks and inks.
I also enjoy shooting florals with my macro lens, creating almost abstract portraits of flowers. I get taken away in a meditative way when shooting this way; usually still-shooting them with my film camera to get what I’m looking for.
About the Artist
Beth O’Donnell was born in Evanston, Illinois. In the late nineties she studied photography, first at the Evanston Art Center, then at The International Center for Photography in New York City. In 2002, she spent 20 months in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, doing photojournalistic work that was published in The London Daily Telegraph and Marie Claire.
In 2005, O’Donnell began combining photography with encaustic wax. Most recently, she has been using encaustic wax and pigmented oil sticks to add texture to an array of papers and panels in order to create ethereal geometric forms and abstract landscapes.
O’Donnell’s work has been shown in many exhibitions, including at Ashawagh Hall, East Hampton; The Art Barn at Larkin Pond, East Hampton, NY; Guild Hall, East Hampton, NY; The White Room Gallery, Bridgehampton, NY; Holly Hunt, New York, NY; Birnam Wood Gallery, New York, NY; Urban Zen, New York, NY: African Rainforest Conservancy, New York, NY; Heiberg Cummings Design, HCD, Oslo Norway; and The Home Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya, Africa.
O'Donnell has also exhibited work at the United Nations in conjunction with the Istanbul +5 Conference and her photographs have been auctioned at several major philanthropic events around the United States. Her book, Angels in Africa, was published by the Vendome Press in 2006, named by the Guardian (UK) as one of the top ten photography books of that year.