Furloughed man turns to encaustic art

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When Jonathan Bueno lost his job due to the coronavirus pandemic, he took advantage of his suddenly free time to engage in a passion and create a new occupation.

Bueno, 25, a graduate of Sealy High School, said he always loved art.

“I would do a lot of sketching and fashion illustrations, but only decided to join art my senior year due to me not really enjoying waiting for paint to dry,” he said.

After getting furloughed from his fulltime job in March, Bueno realized he finally had an abundance of time on his hands.

“I felt I had two options, either relax and enjoy the time off and go back to the way things were before, or I can take action during this time to do something I’ve always wanted to do and change the path my life was headed,” he said. “I needed a change, and this was the right time. I had an urge to create and work with my hands.

“I took to Instagram and Google to investigate different ways of creating art, away from the traditional realism. While searching for inspiration, I discovered the most beautiful and unique piece of art I had ever seen. I had no idea how it could have been made using acrylic or oil. I was quite baffled yet intrigued. I took this as a sign to do some more research, I looked up the artist and discovered that they used ‘encaustic’ medium to create their beautiful pieces of art.

“I had no idea what encaustic even was. I discovered that it was beeswax combined with tree resin which is then fused with heat. I had never seen any other artist use this type of medium before. I later learned why. Encaustic can be very difficult to manipulate,” he said.

“To achieve a completely smooth surface to work on, the artist must use a blowtorch to melt the wax down. Working from hot-to-cold compared to the traditional wet-dry method, this medium sets almost instantly, and must be completely fused in order to adhere correctly. After a few weeks of experimenting I knew this was what I was meant to do for the rest of my life. The possibilities with the fluidity, transparency and depth this organic medium has to offer is truly endless,” he said.

The encaustic process involves painting with natural beeswax, adding color pigments, resin and other mixed media resources. The media style was invented by the ancient Greeks dating back to the fourth century. It is naturally archival with a resin-like shine when buffed. Bueno decided to invest in an online course from an artist who has over 25 years of experience with the medium.

“I was able to learn the ins-and-outs of properly working with encaustics. Since then, I have been working everyday practicing, promoting, networking, as well as trying out different techniques to continue learning more about this medium,” he said. “I’ve discovered it’s a lot of work to run an art business, but I believe my life experiences have made me ready for this new course in my life. I hope to inspire others to pursue their inner calling, because if you truly want change, you pay attention, put in the work and, things will fall into place.”

To view Bueno’s work, along with over 30 other local artists, and meet the artists, and art show will be held Saturday Oct. 3, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Studio Blend Gallery & Coffee Shop, 203 Fowlkes St. Sealy. To participate in the show or for more information, call Annette Smith at 281-782-4640.

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