About Artist:
As an award-winning travel writer, Colleen Friesen has visited over fifty countries. Her explorations have confirmed her belief that everyone and everything is interconnected and that most people are kind and good. She believes that all cultures share a common desire to create, and because of this, art and music is a way to communicate without language..

As a mixed media artist she meditates on the same questions she puzzles over in her writing: How are we impacted through our encounters with others? What defines the 'other'? How do we change over time? What is beautiful? What is longing? What is hidden beneath the surface?

Like writing, her responses to those questions are made by a long process of addition and subtraction. She applies layers of colours, plaster and random paper made up of scraps of found papers, letters, bits of cloth, photocopies, recipes, handbills, and posters. Tissue, cardboard, thick paper, thin pattern paper, glossy magazine sheets, newspapers and scraps of wallpaper are often added, as well as flakes of rust, sand, salt and coffee. Images, both her own and others, often find their way onto the board as well. Colours and markings are made from acrylics, oils, inks, charcoal, pens, pastels and pencils.

In between adding layers, like any good editor, she is busy subtracting. Scraping, cutting, rubbing and sanding parts back, until, like an old peeling wall, something new reveals itself. She uses sandpaper, rubbing alcohol, hard scraping tools, knives, abandoned hotel keys, broken credit cards and steel wool, all in an effort to rip and peel back the paint and paper to see what is hidden beneath the facade.

The process is fluid; constantly adding and revealing until a new synthesis is created out of all that has come before.

Some of her pieces include a finishing coat of hot beeswax and damar resin. That final coat is buffed until the encaustic produces its own warm glow.

Whether writing or creating her mixed-media pieces, she is always telling stories; sometimes with words and sometimes through the wordless language of images.