Encaustic Artist Residency: Day 6, Wild Life (plus timelapse video!)

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I am journaling a nine-day artist residency in Vancouver, Washington. Read the full series here.

4x timelapse video: one of today’s new encaustic wax and found object paintings.

The only thing better than muskrats is BABY MUSKRATS. Which I saw today on my return trip to Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.

Other things I encountered within twenty feet of the car:

  • an egret catching, washing, and swallowing a vole (!),
  • two herds of deer and a buck,
  • red-winged blackbirds balancing on grass stems,
  • and a giant, noisy flock of geese all taking flight at once.
Baby muskrat photo by artist Emily MillerGrazing Deer photo by artist Emily Miller

Go to Ridgefield. Everyone. Go.

Today is my grandmother’s 90th birthday. I expected to have some important thoughts about aging or family, but instead I spent the day being delighted by wild animals. It was so different from seeing animals in a zoo, or animals who have learned to be wary of humans. Wild, natural, vibrant life.

My love of nature and natural beauty is something I inherited at least partly from my grandmother. From her windows, she can see the summer hummingbirds hovering at the feeder, flocks of wild winter turkeys, chipmunks and red squirrels. Her garden surrounds the house and has been an ongoing project all my life. Years ago, she hung Sierra Club posters on the walls with pictures of the redwoods and mountains, including one with part of a poem that has stuck in my mind the last few years.

From Song of Myself by Walt Whitman:

I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars,
And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren…
And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven.

Geese Taking Flight, photo by artist Emily Miller

We have a place within the fabric of nature, as one element interacting continually with thousands of others. My fascination with nature, and my perception of its beauty, comes from this intricate and constantly changing dance.

Thanks, Grandma. Happy birthday.

Encaustic wax painting by artist Emily MillerEncaustic wax painting by artist Emily Miller
Details of two new finished paintings from today. I’m getting pretty excited about these but they are so, so hard to photograph.

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