Heather Douglas shares the inside of her art studio

Three New England Wax artists share a peek into their process and art studio

Dona Mara, Kay Hartung, and Heather Douglas are three members of New England Wax, a lively professional organization of New England artists who work with encaustic and other wax-based mediums. In this post, they share a peek into their process and art studio.

Dona Mara Friedman

From the ashes, a new studio

Dona Mara Friedman in her new studio. She is standing in front of a table of oil sticks and encaustic paints.

Dona starts her day slowly. With a coffee at her side, she will write or read before she starts her day in her studio. After a devastating fire destroyed her family business and barn, she and her husband decided to rebuild, but this time a garage and studio. Dona is still settling into this new space and is amazed by the northern light.

Her studio was purposely designed with double glass doors and a picture window to bring in non-glaring light. The light, along with the high ceilings allows her a freedom she has longed for.

She prefers the quiet, to read, draw or just sit and study a painting from a distance. She has found that her process is changing as she becomes accustomed to this new space. Exploring shapes and color variations has been a theme throughout her “barn paintings”. Taking an accustomed object as a reference point, she will find forms which give her a structure and then introduce colors in a playful manner which allow a semi-abstract direction to the composition. 

Visit Dona Mara Friedman’s website to see more of her work.

Dona Mara's studio where she sits to read or contemplate a painting.

Kay Hartung

New discoveries in challenging times

Kay Hartung in her studio with her new art series hanging on a wall behind her.

After 21 years of being in her studio at ArtSpace Maynard, the building was closed due to code violations and a variety of other reasons. Kay worked in a temporary space for six months, switching to doing encaustic monotypes and collage since there were no windows for ventilation. In October, she was able to move back into the building to a temporary studio where she could return to painting with encaustic. After not painting for a year it was a challenge to start working again. She decided it was time to change things up and began a new series of work completely different than anything she had done. It is colorful and whimsical and her antidote to the difficult times they had been going through in the past few years. She will have a show of this work at Fountain Street Gallery in November. 

Kay will have to move out of the building in June and is searching for a new studio space. The photos show her temporary studio set up for their “moving sale”. She has work hung all the way back to the 1980’s. They will have their last Open Studios at ArtSpace on May 20, 2023.

When asked about her process, she admits she doesn’t have a particular process. She will start painting with something in mind and see where it takes her. With this new work, she has been doing small sketches and will plan out the placement of colors and textures. 

Her time in the studio is in the afternoon since she exercises every morning.  While she works, she will sometimes listen to music, audio books, or the news. 

Kay Hartung in her studio, with clients looking at her work. Her art is hanging all over her walls.

Heather Douglas

Studio with a garden view

Heather Douglas in her art studio, surrounded by works in progress.

Heather Douglas loves the light in her studio. She finds inspiration in looking down at her garden from her studio, it is a welcoming place! During the pandemic, her husband who is a carpenter, renovated her studio when he could not be in other people’s homes. She is in and out throughout the day, so her focused studio time is in the evening. While she works, she listens to music or a variety of podcasts such as Mysterious Universe, CBS Radio and The American Life.

Visit Heather Douglas’s website to see more of her work.

A different view of the studio of Heather Douglas. The garden can be seen from the windows.