(Janice Rhodes | Photos courtesy of Janice Rhodes)
In 2010, Janice Rhodes was invited by a friend to take a class at the Art Station in Bend. This was her introduction to a new medium, encaustics. Back then, Janice — like many people — had not heard of encaustics, although it has been in existence for over two thousand years. The encaustic funeral masks found in Egyptian tombs, still in great condition today, to the contemporary paintings that are shown in galleries now, demonstrate that this medium has been around for centuries. Artists such as Jasper Johns and Diego Riviera are credited for bringing a resurgence of encaustic art into the 20th century.
Janice says that encaustic medium is a combination of pure beeswax, tree resin and pigment, made molten and applied to a surface and heated again. This process can be manipulated in different ways, and with many layers. Paintings become, because of the damar resin, vibrant and durable. Janice says that encaustics can be adapted to many styles of painting, but she prefers the challenge of painting realistically, with vivid colors and a lot of texture.
When she was in grade school, Janice won a 4H award at the county fair for a woodcut print. “At that age it meant the world to me,” Janice said. “It was a defining moment. My goal from then on was to find ways to express myself artistically. That framed woodcut print and the check I received is hanging in my studio today.”
Although raising a family and having a 30-year career kept her busy, Janice took classes from the California College of Arts and Craft in the Bay Area. In 2003, she and her husband moved to Bend, and she was ready to spend her time immersed in art. She began with life drawing classes at COCC to instructions in many mediums taught by internationally well-known teachers from Mexico to Washington. Almost every day you will find her at her studio near the Deschutes River, with a heat gun in one hand and a brush in the other, standing before a table ladened with containers of heated wax. Encaustics has won her over.
Janice has earned awards for her pastels as well as encaustics. Some of her paintings are on permanent display at The St. Charles Cancer Wing and Roberts Field Airport. She has paintings in private collections all over the U.S. as well.
The Red Chair Gallery has shown her art since 2010, and she is one of the founding members. She is also a part of the High Desert Art League, whose 13-member group display their art in venues around Central Oregon. Her work was featured at the Oxford Hotel in December, as well as part of the group show at the Sage Gallery. For the months of February and March she will be featured at the Alexander.