Clare O'Neill | Photo Encaustic | Biography


I’m really particular – And I bet you are too. I have a great distaste for large chain stores and I’m always in search of clothing and artwork that is unique, expressive, and creative. Something that is indicative of my individual style and makes me feel good. This site is a collision of inspiration, lifestyle, design, and art. It’s for those who want to connect and get a feel for what makes an artist tick. It’s about sharing my process, talking about why I do what I do, and connecting with those that are inspired by my work and my style.



A Reluctant Artist


// I grew up wanting to be a doctor. Yep. I was pre-med in college and even took the admission test for medical school. But organic chemistry bored me and I became restless with all the studying. I wanted more creativity. I joked about being a mushroom farmer enough times that I finally realized I was never going to be a physician.


// Finding my way as an entrepreneur. So I did what was second nature and started a small business creating customized tours of Ireland for small groups. Loved it. Who wouldn’t? Getting to go to Ireland several times a year while being wined and dined by the hotels and restaurants. Working on a shoestring budget I picked up my camera and started shooting my own promotional shots. This quickly morphed into black & white artistic images. I had a natural eye for photography.


// Defining my sense of style. Fearless. Bold. Sophisticated. My sense of style came through when I bought a condo that was a blank surface (in other words, it needed a lot of work.) And so I became consumed by renovating. And I had a blast. At first it was tame. But as time went on my renovating became bolder. My mother thought I was insane when she came over and saw me plastering tissue paper to the dining room walls and painting over it with a champagne metallic paint. But it’s now the best room in the house with painted bronze ceilings and an 8-ft by 3-ft mosaic peacock.


// The Creative Life. I have always prided myself with buying unique and beautiful objects, and consider what I hang on my walls to be an extension of my individual style. But finding these objects isn’t always easy. So I signed up for a clay class at the local art center as I needed a really cool backsplash for my new kitchen. But I got sidetracked and made a figurative light switch for my hallway dimmer, and then a headless, armless Jesus for my wall of crosses, and finally a replica of Michaelangelo’s Blockhead Slave. I was finding my artistic sole. But most of this work was copied and my need for originality was fierce. I experimented with oil paint and painting my original photographs. I explored painting with beeswax as an abstract form. I loved the beeswax but wasn’t an abstract painter. None of my adventures came as easily to me as photography. I figured there must be a way to incorporate the beeswax and my photographs. And after years of experimentation later I have finally found my grove.

I’m a constant work-in-progress. As is my art. I guess that’s the way it should be.


My Artistic Process

Contemporary Photo Encaustic is where photography meets hot beeswax, pigments, texture and playfulness. I wish there was another term for it. Photo encaustic sounds so harsh. En-kaw-stick. It sounds hazardous and industrial. But au contraire. The translucency of the wax and the way the light draws you in is remarkable, seductive, and intoxicating.

I use rich imagery, bold brush strokes, and playful drips to create paintings full of gesture, spontaneity, and motion. It’s a labor-intensive process where the photographs are printed on tissue paper in multiple pieces, and then carefully imbedded into the layers of hot beeswax.

The result—a stunning, modern, ethereal design with a warm textural appeal.
See for yourself.




Professional Bio

Clare O'Neill is a contemporary PhotoEncaustic artist. Inspired by traditional oil painters, Clare uses her photography as a starting point to create works with a three-dimensional quality using molten beeswax, pigments, and layers of texture. Her process adds a sense of mystery and timelessness to her work, producing a dream-like quality that creates levels of interpretation for the viewer.

If you are interested in my process and want to learn about photo encaustic, come visit me at, my teaching web site, where you'll learn tons about using photography as a tool for re-awakening your creativity and self-expression while taking your photographs to new dimensions and creative possibilities.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or if you'd just like to drop me a line.



© 2017 Clare O'Neill. All rights reserved.