Hang on folks, I’m almost done blogging about the conference. Can you believe all of this was really packed into one week? Me neither. As they say on TV: “Don’t miss the last 5 minutes!” of this blog post. There’s a surprise at the end. (Aw, now you went and ruined it…)

Ferry to Boston

So this time we made it into Boston on a day that made sense (meaning NOT Monday when everything is closed). It was a beautiful day and we took the ferry from Salem to Boston. It’s the easiest way to get there even though we had a car, and it was much more fun than fighting traffic and looking for parking.

Kim Bernard\'s work at Arden Gallery

We started out on Newbury Street in the gallery district because there were several shows we wanted to see. Kim Bernard has a show at the excellent Arden Gallery and it was as exciting as I’d hoped. Her sculptures are the perfect compliment to her encaustic paintings and as usual the show was beautifully presented.

Fawn with work by Melody Postma Painting by June Stratton

Fawn with work by Melody Postma and a beautiful painting by June Stratton

Over at Lanoue Fine Art we enjoyed the current show, but asked for a special showing of Lissa Rankin’s new encaustic paintings. Fawn was completely charming and full of insightful information about all of the work.

Donna Hamil Talman

Next we headed over to the Copley Society to see the solo show by Donna Hamil Talman who also had work showing at the conference. We had a heck of a time finding it but saw lots of other fun galleries on the way. Donna pairs digital photography with encaustic and collage techniques in much the same way I do, but with drastically different results. I find her work quite mysterious.

Museum of Fine Arts Boston Mural by John Singer Sargent

The exterior of the museum with interior mural by John Singer Sargent

Encaustic portraitWith our feet failing we hopped on the “T” and were quickly deposited in front of the Museum of Fine Arts. This is a beautiful building filled with a stunning array of art and we could easily have filed our day with this one stop.

After roaming the halls for an hour or so it occurred to me that there was a good chance we might find some ancient encaustic work so we set out on a scavenger hunt. We were getting tired and were just about to give up when I saw the unmistakable image of a funerary portrait reflected in the glass case in front of me. I turned again and again looking for it — I’ve never seen one in person before — but it was like a fun house mirror. Finally I spotted it and ran to the case. You’d think I had struck pure gold by my reaction, and I was glad Bill and I were alone in the room. I can’t fully describe the sense of history I felt in looking at these delicate pieces. These artists struggled then just as i do today to express themselves through their work and that shared experience in powerful. It was such an honor to finally see this work in person.

Encaustic mummy

Portrait mummy of a man
Egyptian, Greco-Roman Period, A.D. 150–175
Findspot: Hawara, Egypt
Height x width: 167 x 35 cm (65 3/4 x 13 3/4 in.)
Encaustic (colored wax) on wood over linen and human remains

Body of man with diagonally crossed wrappings forming a rhomboidal pattern. Panel portrait, rounded at the top, with portrait in encaustic depicting a young man with his face turned slightly to the left. He had dark, curly hair, thick brows, and a full, curly beard, and wears a white chiton and mantle.

Youth - full mummy

Portrait mummy of a youth
Egyptian, Greco-Roman Period, about A.D. 50

Findspot: Hawara, Egypt
Height: 113 cm (44 1/2 in.)
Encaustic (colored wax) on wood; linen; and human remains

Mummy of a child with diagonal cross bandaging; decorated with gilded buttons. The encaustic panel portrait shows an adolescent with dark curly hair, large eyes, and pudgy cheeks. His lips may have been gilded to ensure the power of speech in the afterlife.

I’ll save you some time if you go: these are in the Egyptian Funerary Arts Gallery. This was really one of the highlights of our wonderful, waxy vacation!

View all of my posts about the National Encaustic Conference here