Victoria Primicias

About the Artist

Encaustic artist Victoria Primicias describes her work as spiritual, contemplative, tactile and, in subject matter, ordinary. Vast expanses of sky, water and barren fields can magnify feelings of loneliness but the highly textured, raised surfaces invite interaction. They shimmer in the light as if wanting to be touched, begging for company.

Victoria begins the painting process in Photoshop, digitally manipulating a photograph’s saturation, hue and contrast, perhaps adding a tree or moving a mountain, cropping in, always simplifying. Once satisfied, she prints an image for reference and begins the encaustic painting process.

Encaustic paint is a mixture of beeswax, damar (a tree resin that hardens the wax) and colored pigment. The paint is melted at 200F and applied in 6-12 layers onto a stiff substrate like wood or tile. Each layer is fused to the layer beneath to create, in effect, a big ball of wax.

Victoria works from home where her husband lives in mortal fear she’ll burn down the house with her preferred fusing method: a trigger-start Bernzomatic propane blow torch. She’s also been known to trip the fuse box repeatedly with a heat gun and craft iron. Her other tools of choice include a multitude of 97-cent hog’s brushes, tuna can containers, a pancake griddle to keep the wax flowing, cheesecloth, and a shiny new 27″ Apple iMac.

Artist Statement

I love water. I adore it in all its shades. Cerulean. Turquoise. Azure. Beryl. Teal. Indigo. Ultramarine. Seafoam. Sapphire.

Maybe it’s because I’ve always lived near water. I grew up in the Philippines, a country of 7,100+ islands. My family lived in Manila on the largest island of Luzon, but we hailed from Pangasinan province, four hours northwest.

When I was five, my Dad became the province’s governor, and for four years, our defacto summer home was the second floor of the government offices situated on Lingayen Beach. There, my siblings and I spent a great amount of time building sandcastles, scribbling on the sand with a stick, flying kites and collecting seashells. I would trundle back home with the hem of my dress loaded with sand.

Things changed dramatically when my family emigrated to Toronto, which sits on Lake Ontario. I was fifteen. After class when the weather was nice, I’d take a bus, transfer to a streetcar, and then walk the quarter mile to the beach. There was an alcove beneath the boardwalk, just outside the Olympic pool. It was my secret hiding spot, my quiet space. I would huddle inside this little nook and do my homework to the soothing sounds of waves lapping ashore.

Chicago beckoned in 2001 during my graphic designer days. Looking for a place to live, I was drawn to water once again and chose The Loop, a stone’s throw away from Lake Michigan. I have logged countless hours running and cycling along the lake, usually heading south past the Shedd Aquarium, continuing onto Hyde Park before turning around. It was my morning routine. While in Chicago, I immersed myself in its architecture and took classes in the history of furniture design. By the time I left, I had a full appreciation for Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Midcentury Modern, and the derivatives of the Arts and Crafts movement including the Prairie style.

Now I live in the Raleigh area. It’s full of trees. I love trees, too, but it’s not water. I miss the vast expanse of seas and lakes, the blues and greens, and skies that kiss the water’s edge. So I visit the beach whenever I can, I swim year-round, and I paint water.