Michelle Belto

michelle selfieI have been interested in art and education all of my life.  My background in theater schooled me in many artistic disciplines: designer, choreographer, director, actress, but after twenty years and more than seventy productions, I ran out of theater steam somewhere around 1984. I entered graduate school to do my own artist work and found myself stepping back into theater with Hildegarde of Bingen, a one-woman show I wrote and performed internationally. The rest of my career has been varied– from performing for such groups as the National Conference for Immigrant and Refugee Rights to showing my encaustic paintings in Sydney, Australia. I’ve transformed a nineteenth century opera house into a dinner theater and created a center for spirituality and art in a renovated barn.

For the last fifteen years, though, I’ve been primarily a paper maker and exhibiting visual artist and an educator. It was a chance meeting that introduced me to wax. With the addition of encaustic on my handmade paper canvases, I knew that I had discovered a media and a direction that will take me the rest of my life to explore.  Today I live in San Antonio and work full time as a visual artist and encaustic instructor.  An instructional book, Wax and Paper Workshop, Techniques for Handmade Paper and Encaustic Painting, published by North Light Press, an article in Cloth, Paper, Scissors and two new videos on the process of working with wax and paper have been instrumental in creating a very full national and international teaching schedule for 2016 and 2017. Artful Gathering adds a new dimension to my work as both an artist and educator. I love that with online classes I have the excuse to explore different expressions of encaustic and that I can invite students into the intimacy of my studio. I am excited to be a part of this exciting and growing community.

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