Joy Hagen grew up in Seattle, Washington. With a forester for a father and an art teacher for a mother, art was an ever-present and daily activity and childhood was a rich and exciting environment that even offered the opportunity to live in the Philippines and Panama for a number of years. Added to that were endless summers camping in the woods and exploring Forest Service and logging roads. “It seems inevitable that the natural world of my surroundings would ultimately become the path to my creativity.”
Joy discovered the wonders of painting with encaustic medium in 2003, and has been painting in encaustic ever since. “Encaustic painting is always a great adventure for me involving table saws, band saws, drills and torches. The contrast of the oftentimes hard physicality of process against the soft, sensuous nature of the liquid wax medium adds a whole new element of enjoyment.” Joy Hagen paints what she knows best, the woodland landscapes of the Pacific Northwest. She creates what she calls her constructed landscapes, utilizing specialty HDL woods scraps destined for the chipper. “It just so happens that I married a lumber salesman.”
“I am blessed to be surrounded by a forest of significant trees and woodland paths right in my own backyard. My paintings give repose and reflection on selected bits and pieces of the natural world. I often start with a simple element and then literally build from there, using my reclaimed wood to create multi-layered and assembled landscapes of many paths from which to explore.”
Joy lives and works out of her cozy home in the woods in Kirkland. An active member of the Eastside Association of Fine Arts and Kirkland Arts Center, as well as a graduate of the Artist Trust EDGE Program, Joy enjoys painting commission pieces, participating in group and solo exhibitions, teaching classes in her studio, and opening her studio doors every year to the public during the annual Kirkland Artist Studio Tour (KAST) over Mother’s Day Weekend. Her work is in the permanent collections of the City of Kenmore and Swedish Medical Group, as well as numerous private collections both locally and around the country. More recently, Joy joined Studio 103 at the Tashiro Kaplan Building in Seattle’s Pioneer Square area and her work can be seen there during Seattle’s First Thursday Artwalk or during regular business hours at Studio 103.
"Color, texture and shape are set in the context of the beauty that surrounds my everyday life in this wondrous Pacific Northwest, sometimes as a vivid, whimsical expression, sometimes as a more subdued reflection of mood, but always in an attempt to give the viewer a place to go and a place that says to them, "This is where I live.”
Encaustic is a hot wax painting technique with its roots in ancient Greece. In fact, encaustic comes from the Greek word "enkaustikos," which means to burn in or to heat. Each layer of wax is fused using a heat source and is finished and preserved with a final fusing. Ancient Greeks used an encaustic technique to waterproof their warships as far back as 800 B.C., and in Greco-Roman Egypt from 100 B.C. to 200 A.D., mummy casings incorporated encaustic portraiture on wood panels to honor the dead.
"My encaustic painting method uses a combination of melted bees wax and resin as the medium for laying down pigment. Each layer is fused or set with a heat source such as an iron, a heat gun or a propane torch. My preferred method of fusing is a propane torch. For the most part, I use pigment powders with the medium to create my own colors. My HDL wood scraps are a perfect ground for my encaustic paintings, allowing me to cut custom sizes and perform some rather aggressive scraping and heating techniques. I incorporate collage or transfer techniques into the wax and often transfer my own drawings or draw directly onto the wax. Next comes the process of applying various other mixed media and encaustic effects on the remaining wood pieces and finally, I assemble the component pieces and construct a multilayered, multi-textured landscape."