I approach art-making intuitively, following my inclination into new territory. I fell in love with encaustic several years ago, after studying it at OCAD in Toronto, and R&F Encaustics in New York State. This method involves using beeswax hardened with damar resin mixed with oil paint. As a graduate of OCAD, and a member of the Ontario Society of Artists, I have an extensive exhibition history, and am an experienced and enthusiastic teacher. Having given numerous encaustic workshops in other art centres, I am pleased to now have the opportunity to consolidate my teaching activity at 'the hive' encaustic school at the Alton Mill. A few times a year I'll be teaching 'off-site', in Southampton and Elora, ON. See my website for more details.
Encaustic, by its nature, is made up of layers. I incorporate collage into the wax, sometimes revealed, sometimes not. I use a blow torch, heat gun and iron when fusing each piece, creating a richly textured depth. This vibrant, translucent surface pulls viewers in. People tell me that each time they look closely at a painting, there is something new to discover.
‘Holding loosely’ is a theme that inspires my work. It allows for a spontaneous response to what happens during the process – drips can be fused into the piece, or gouged off, ‘mistakes’ lead to new ways of pushing the medium. Series incorporate found objects, clothing/fabric, birds’ nests, prayer flags, roots (organic materials) and original photo transfers of trees.
The unfolding of mystery reveals the inherent beauty in the piece. This is what pulls me forward, leads me into the unknown, embracing and/or grappling with whatever comes up. The process of making art reflects what is going on in my life, with my personal journey leading me to the collective experience.
Andrea graduated from the Ontario College of Art & Design, and has been exhibiting her work internationally for several decades. Her art is in various collections around the world. This award-winning artist has a lengthy exhbition history, with many solo, group and two-person shows. She has also curated several invitational shows, most notably: The Whole Ball of Wax: a 12 person exhibit in Toronto at Propeller Gallery in 2010.
Andrea is an experienced teacher, adding encaustic twelve years ago to become a leading expert on this medium in Canada. She has taught over 1500 students over this time, with many of them becoming teachers themselves. Andrea teaches at the Annual Encaustic Conference in Provincetown, Mass. and has exhibited her work during the Conference there.
Andrea is a member of the Ontario Society of Artists, and several other professional associations. Her mixed media encaustic work is on display in 'the hive' and at other galleries in Ontario.
Classes & Workshops
Check the Alton Mill Calendar (or www.andreabird.com ) to see when workshops are being offered at 'the hive'. Encaustic 1, 2, 3, 4 offered depending on your skill level. During our event weekends (Cuisine Art, Headwaters Arts Festival, Holiday Kickoff at the Mill, Fire and Ice, Spring Awakenings) Andrea is offering 'Give it a Whril!' - a chance to try out this fabulous medium for half an hour. $10 per person for supplies.