Claudia Marseille

Finding True North an encaustic oil painting artist book by Claudia Marseille at Seager Gray Gallery in Mill Valley California San Francisco Bay Area - Claudia  Marseille

Finding True North

11 x 22 1/2 x 4 in

Encaustic on paper

7 individual “manuscript” pages on steel stand. The pages can be rotated carefully for variety.

I create, suspended at the boundary between the visible and the invisible. This is a terrain without words, prior to formulation and articulation, where images may alight with ever the briefest of visitations before dematerializing, leaving behind a familiar feeling that something was there, waiting to be understand and known. “Finding True North relates to my continued attempt to make sense of and navigate my internal terrain, following the inner sensing and magnetic pull of my soul. While my creativity unfolds in a precognitive gap between thoughts, this inner sensing is partly in response to my personal experiences of the world around me. The form of this book of seven wax manuscript pages was inspired by a boat trip my husband and I took along the coast of Norway last summer, sailing north beyond the Arctic Circle. We explored many towns that were originally part of the Hanseatic League, an economic and military alliance of merchant associations within 70-170 cities along the coast of Northern Europe between the 13th -17th centuries. Perhaps because of my own European heritage, I resonate deeply with this period of the late middle ages and the age of exploration, a bridge between the ancient world and our modern knowledge-based world. With my interest in my interior mapping, I was captivated by the ancient navigational maps and remnants of documents of trade agreements between the various city-states that we saw in the local museums. Many of these documents were still written out by hand, but some were printed. By the middle of the 15th century, the Gutenberg printing press began an explosion of communication and this mechanization of bookmaking had the unprecedented impact of ushering Europe and the rest of the world into the modern era. In this book of manuscript pages I reflect and pay homage to this historic time that saw the transition into modern communication and travel; from the towns of the Middle Ages to contemporary fishing villages and tourist towns; from old wooden sailing vessels to modern cruise ships managed by computers; from handwritten documents to printed books. The evocative and alchemical process of encaustic painting is very suited for what I am attempting to convey in these pages: sedimented layers of history, the passage of time, and the remnants of worlds long past. I am able to embed into layers of wax old maps, medieval documents, and transfers of computerized screens of GPS maps displayed on the navigational console of our boat. “Finding True North” is my contemplation of my journey north, both inner and outer.