Artist Profile: Tricia Trinder

WORKING FROM A FLOWER-COVERED SHED ALONG SYDNEY’S NORTHERN COASTLINE, TRICIA TRINDER USES BEESWAX TO CREATE GLOSSY, TACTILE DEPICTIONS OF THE HORIZON THAT EXCITE MORE SENSES THAN ONE. KATIE MILTON WRITES.

IF YOU LOOK CLOSELY at Tricia Trinder’s atmospheric ocean horizons you might be surprised to find that they are made from beeswax. The exact method is called encaustic – a term that the Sydney-based artist stumbled upon when she was researching the medium back in 2009.

“I instantly became obsessed with it. I loved the process of making my own medium; the smell of the beeswax melting, measuring and mixing and playing around to find out what it could do,” says Tricia.

The technique involves the artist heating beeswax and mixing it with damar resin before adding a coloured pigment to the paint. Using a brush, she then builds layers of wax paint, fusing each layer together using heat as she works. For Tricia, the unpredictability of the medium and the tactility of working with hot wax has instilled a love for the form and eventuated in years of experimentation. “And I love the fact that my artwork has this beautiful, subtle, long-lasting aroma that wafts from its place on the wall,” she adds.

While she only discovered the technique later in life, for Tricia, art has always been present. Her childhood in the United Kingdom was spent in the constant thrall of drawing – a creative passion that has continued well into adulthood. After finishing school, Tricia worked in Paris as an artist’s assistant and fell in love with the idea of being an artist. Now, creating from a converted shed surrounded by wisteria and jasmine at her home on Sydney’s north shore, she is practicing her dream.

She finds inspiration in the ever-elusive horizon and the changing colours and textures of the ocean. “For myself, the horizon means a sense of space, freedom and being able to breathe,” she says. In her most recent Horizon and Porthole series, Tricia cleverly creates the illusion of distance using light and dark, the blended hues in the sky reflected in the textured ocean waves.

“Encaustic lends itself beautifully to images of water because the natural element of beeswax reflects the natural texture and translucency of water – also the unpredictability of how the wax responds each time I fuse the colour on the surface,” says Trinder.

Ironically, while horizons instil calm in Tricia, she creates them among chaos.

“Encaustic is a very messy process and my space reflects this – lots of wax on the floor, inspiration stuck to the walls, CDs littered everywhere and blue pigment dust over everything!”

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