IN THE STUDIO: A conversation with Victoria Foster Harrison

By Carolyn Lewis
Posted 3/27/24

When collage and encaustic are combined, as they are in Victoria Foster Harrison’s spacious studio, the results are fantastic. Encaustic is a painting technique that involves mixing pigments …

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IN THE STUDIO: A conversation with Victoria Foster Harrison


When collage and encaustic are combined, as they are in Victoria Foster Harrison’s spacious studio, the results are fantastic. Encaustic is a painting technique that involves mixing pigments with hot wax, usually beeswax, which is then applied to a surface such as wood or canvas. The term "encaustic" comes from the Greek word "enkaustikos," meaning to burn in, referring to the process of fusing the layers of wax together using heat. It's an ancient technique dating back to the Greeks and Egyptians, and it offers artists a versatile and durable medium for creating textured and layered artworks. 


Q: What inspires your choice of subject matter or themes in your encaustic pieces? 

When I am working on encaustic printmaking — creating original one-of-a-kind monotypes with warmed beeswax and paper — to choose the focus of the image, I rely on a mix of playfulness and a concentration on textural imagery, combined with allowing the medium to have its own strong voice, with its free flowing, no-rules process. I am inspired by watching the closeup world of graceful line and subtle color combined with pops of intensity, and shapes in the natural and man-made worlds that stop me in my tracks, due to a graceful curve, a patterned design, reflections, and naturally deteriorating materials. The Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island offers inspiration in the form of sweeping meadows, delicate floral forms, stately trees, gentle horizon lines, pathways and water edges which influence my choice of subject matter. Encaustic printmaking lends itself well to abstract, landscapes, florals, portraits and just about every subject imaginable.


Q: Tell us a bit about how you combine your collage and encaustic work.  Share a bit about your creative process. 

I became involved in collage because I edit and slice atmospheric encaustic monotypes where only a portion of it will end up in the finished work, and then combine them with my own photographs, handmade papers, asemic writing [art], mark making and possibly rustic stitching to create minimalist collages. I am a member of the NW Collage Society and learn endless ways to approach collage.


After years of trying out just about every art medium purely for the joy of exploration, I am now focusing on minimalist collages and large-scale work.  After creating monotypes with homemade and upcycled/recycled tools, wax and paper, I literally spread the monotypes on a large table and shuffle them around to see which papers feel good together as far as unified or contrasting colorways, along with mixing mild and intense textures. Matching them with my photographs and choice bits of letterforms made with ink on paper helps me get closer to a finished piece.  


Currently, I am working on a series of artworks with deconstructed lines and shapes that combine quiet and active areas, to prepare for two upcoming shows. I am creating a series based on tall and skinny scrolls to prepare for submission to a NW Collage Society juried show. It excites me so much. I think the series will be one that I work on for a long time. Lastly, I am designing a 3D-on-the-wall monotype collage series made on Encaustiflex, a fabric that works nicely with wax, as it lends itself well to bending and cutting to create flowing shapes.

Q: Tell us about your art background? 

I graduated from college with a degree in art an insanely long time ago, took several encaustic courses in 2010-12, and was absolutely smitten with the encaustic printmaking process. I began teaching in 2013. I particularly enjoyed that inexperienced artists can find success quickly. Even though I am working mainly on creating my own art this year, I am holding studio time sessions and mentoring sessions specifically for former students, and am working on an all-encompassing pre-recorded online course for new students. will be announcing a mentor program soon for its members; I am honored to be included with nine other mentors, and my style of mentoring will focus on building a finished body of encaustic printmaking work.


Q: Where can our readers view your work? Do you have any upcoming shows we should know about? Do you offer studio visits by appointment?


My website is and you can subscribe to my newsletter for current events, show invitations, studio sale dates in late summer or early fall, and a pre-recorded online class link. I'm also on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube under Curly Girl Art Studio. My work is currently at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts Gallery, NW Collage Society in Seattle and The Bloedel Reserve Gift Shop on Bainbridge Island. I have two upcoming shows in Port Townsend in 2024, at the Finistere Restaurant and Aurora Loop Gallery.


Studio visits with quick demonstrations are available at the Curly Girl Art Studio in Port Townsend by appointment by emailing


Carolyn Lewis is a serial entrepreneur, artist and community builder happily living and working in Port Townsend. Visit her Facebook Group at Port Townsend Life or find her on Instagram at @linalewisart