Sketchbook Porn

Amber R. Anderson records fleeting moments

Amber R. Anderson works primarily in the realm of encaustics, a technique that uses hot melted beeswax infused with pigments as its primary material. Applied to wood panels, her wax paintings are often embedded with photographic prints and drawings or layered with watercolor and other materials to create impressionistic images that swim just beneath the opaque surface. An art conservator by trade, she also makes delicate miniatures (none larger than 10 inches across) painted on objects like shells or tiny panels.

“Sketchbook practice has been a part of my repertoire that began at age 10,” Anderson says. “Translating fleeting moments into image is an essential component of my recording process to understanding foreign landscapes and systems while I am traveling working in the field. Later, when working in studio practice the sketches recall muscle memory and the feeling of a moment, or simplified impression formerly captured in real time.”

 “My sketchbook entries often contain written information of conceptual ideas, or molecular chemistry notation when thinking about environmental issues and solutions,” says Anderson. “While I studied chemistry, molecular drawings were considered a sketchbook record permissible as evidence in the court of law. I now hold my sketchbooks to the same scrutiny as my chemistry lab books—a strictness for truth while recording moments of time is mandatory.”


“Another facet of my ongoing art practice is creating digital sketches out of my photographs that document environments,” Anderson continues, “which are deconstructed to black and white negative reductions. The digital sketches become underpaintings applied to the wood substrates of my multi-dimensional encaustic paintings. These digital sketches maintain the integrity of my discoveries and observations, which is critical to rendering sincere paintings.”