Artist Sandra Koberlein’s solo exhibition “Encaustics” will hang at Moorestown’s Perkins Center for the Arts through April 29.
Koberlein is an art teacher at Clearview Regional High School and teaches workshops at her home studio in Pennsville. She is also an encaustic instructor at R&F Handmade Paints in Kingston, NY.
She describes encaustic as an ancient medium made of beeswax and damar tree resin.
“It’s all natural and you add pigment to it to make it have color,” Koberlein said. “You paint with it while it’s molten … you have to melt it so it’s a constant heat.”
“(It’s) very unpredictable but that’s kind of what I love about it,” she continued. “You don’t always know what you’re going to get but it’s also forgiving enough that you can go back into it and scrape it and carve it and … add all kinds of layering elements.”
Koberlein is showing over 40 works of art at Perkins. She is originally from East Stroudsburg, PA and credits the outdoors as her source of inspiration.
“We live in the middle of a nature reserve and (there’s) a lot of green and beautiful sunrises and everything but not a lot of people,” she said. “It’s very quiet and I needed a little bit more excitement, so the palette changed.”
According to Koberlein, her palette has changed a lot throughout her life from just blues to bolder colors such as red, orange and blue.
“I was never a ‘blue’ person but when I started painting encaustic, living here by the beaches, the blues really came out,” she said.
Koberlein ties numbers into her paintings as well as materials such as handmade papers, original drawings and photos.
“I have this little thing that I never realized until I thought about it later,” she said. “My favorite number is three; I tend to do a lot of things with threes.”
As noted in her artist statement, Koberlein is particularly drawn to abstraction that encourages discovery of the artists’ story.
The combination of the organic materials, beeswax and damar tree resin, creates a vibrant, luminous surface that glows with her life.
For Koberlein, every artwork is titled differently.
“Sometimes if I have a lot of time, it just comes to me by looking at it,” she said. “Other times, I bring it out of a poem or a lyric that I’m fond of … stories that you’ve heard.”
“You just think about what’s going on in your life.”
“Encaustics” also features tiny houses Koberlein created out of repurposed wood with wine corks used as the legs.
“As an art teacher, I’m always intrigued with all kinds of materials,” she said.
Koberlein advises up and coming artists to not give up on their goals.
“Follow your desire, your dream, your creativity and don’t let anybody talk you out of it.”
An artists’ reception will be held on March 19 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
For more information on the exhibit and/or Koberlein, visit www.sandrakoberlein.com or Moorestown’s Perkins Center for the Arts official Facebook page.