Hayley Ward

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Hayley Ward is a talented local artist who’s work includes Encaustic or hot wax painting. A technique lost during the middle ages and only rediscovered in the eighteenth century

> How long have you lived in the region?
We moved to Armidale six years ago from the Blue Mountains. We had visited Armidale a few times as we have family here, and we liked what we saw. We were interested in living in a small community that still provided all the benefits of a large city – good work and education opportunities, and a wide variety of cultural pursuits.

> How did you become interested in art?

I’ve always been interested in art. I took art all through school and continued afterward, completing a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts and a Post Graduate Diploma in Painting from Monash University.

I exhibited regularly in the Blue Mountains and Sydney before moving to Armidale. Although I don’t have the same amount of time to devote to my arts practice that I’ve had previously, I try to continue painting regularly and exhibit as often as I can.

> Why work with wax?

I learned the technique of encaustic wax painting soon after graduating from university. Encaustic or hot wax painting originated in ancient Greece. The technique was lost during the middle ages and only rediscovered in the eighteenth century.

It was mainly used for wall or mural painting due to its resistance to moisture. Using molten wax combined with resins and pigment, opaque or translucent layers can be built up.

A final heat treatment, or ‘burning in’, by passing a heat source over the surface, fuses and bonds the painting into a permanent form. Once you’ve worked with encaustic wax, it’s hard to go back to other mediums, as it’s a very sensuous and rich technique that’s highly addictive!

> Describe your exhibition at Gallery 126 …

My work explores the subjective quality of memory when we interact with and experience the landscape. By using an intuitive process of mark making, I build up layers of encaustic wax paint.

I then scrape into the surface to reveal the underlying textures and colours of previous layers. In my work I am attempting to create an intuitive language that represents or visually expresses the innate or the instinctual.

Encaustic wax paint has many appealing qualities: there is both a satisfying solidity to the paintings combined with a visual liquidity and transparency to the surface.

> How did you and Vicki come to work together?

I met Vicki through her daughter and we met again recently at the artist workshops at NERAM, where she showed me some of her work. Vicki was also using wax with some of her textile pieces.

Although we work in different media, I thought our work would be interesting together, as we are both essentially abstract artists and use layers of texture and colour to create art works.

> Thank you Hayley.

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