Beautiful Abstract Paintings by Encaustic Painter Karen Freedman

Published Aug. 27th 2008

This week’s featured artist is Karen Freedman, an abstract painter from Pennsylvania working in the medium of encaustic.

Encaustic, as you may already know, is a form of painting that uses molten wax instead of oil, acrylic or water to adhere pigment onto a flat surface.

What makes Karen’s paintings stand out to me are the beautiful color combinations she uses, as well as the simple repeating shapes found throughout.

Karen Freedman It-Tasted-Pink

For example, It Tasted Pink, above, offers a wonderful palette of pinks, yellows, and light turquoise which all work together to form a light and airy piece.

The composition is worth noting as well—Karen used three basic elements, or shapes, to direct us through this painting.

Rectangular pink outlines grab our attention first, forming an indistinct image that leads our eyes downward into a group of parallel horizontal lines.

After being pulled inexorably to the right, a third element (half-circles of golden yellow) draw us back up into the top third of the painting to start the process all over again.

Karen does something similar in this next piece too. Although slightly more colorful and much more complex, you can see how some of the same compositional themes are being explored again.

Karen Freedman Re-morse

I also like how the rich, watery blues of the top half contrast so well with the more earthy greens and ochre “cells” found in the lower half.

Of course, to keep those “cells” along the bottom from weighing down the piece, Karen balanced them with extra negative space in the top right. Oh, and those orange dashes? They keep you coming back to the left side time and time again.

Now in this final encaustic painting, entitled Swing Low, there’s an entirely new ingredient that’s been added to the mix—a sense of physical motion.

Karen Freedman Swing Low

Faint horizontal lines (with a slight curve to them, no less) are found all up and down this painting, while a blurred column hangs on the left side. Half-seen circles appear at points throughout the piece, adding even more vague elements to ponder.

Yes, the colors are amazing, like all of Karen’s paintings, but what I love most about this piece is that the left-to-right (or right-to-left) movement is inescapable. . . yet as an abstract, it will probably mean something different to everyone who sees it.

To browse through more of Karen Freedman’s encaustic paintings (which I’d highly recommend) please visit

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