Originally from West Virginia but now living in Columbus, Ohio, I found

inspiration from the urban landscape of the small town where I grew up. The buildings and architecture from the early 1900’s as well as the dark ominous factories that line the rivers and pepper the countryside.


After receiving my B.F.A. from Columbus College of Art and Design, I continued to work on developing materials and techniques which primarily include encaustic paintings as well as oils. My work has been displayed in a number of galleries the including the McConnell

Arts Center in Worthington and the Buckham Gallery in Flint, Michigan. I have also exhibited my work at the Ohio State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition, where I was awarded several awards from the Ohio Arts Council, the Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center, and the Greater Columbus Arts Council.

Recent works are currently on display at the Columbus International Airport Gateway to the Arts Gallery.


When working with encaustic, I like to challenge the traditional constraints of the technique by utilizing the materials in a nearly sculptural manner, and using unexpected compositions for the medium. My oils focus on similar textures and strong light sources.

I create a surface that is almost sculptural, and utilizing architectural and natural elements is key to my technique, helping me contrast structure and disorder. It is in these gritty landscapes that I play with light and layout to create tension within the composition. When I see an interesting landscape, I visualize the textures and lines juxtaposed with light and contrast. While my initial inspiration may come from a particular place, the urge to evoke emotion is what compels me to paint.

Kellie McDermott art Columbus Airport exhibition

Current Exhibitions

2017      Light and Layers, MOUTON, Columbus, OH 



2017      The Painted City, Schumacher Gallery, Columbus, OH 

2016      Ohio State Fair, Professional Division, Columbus OH

2016      Columbus International Airport, Gateway to the Arts Gallery, Columbus,OH

2015      The Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center, Worthington OH

2014      Exchanges, Ft. Hayes Shot Tower, Columbus OH

2013      Solo Exhibition, Buckham Gallery, Flint, MI

2013      Group Exhibition, High Road Gallery, Worthington OH

2013      In Visible, Ray’s Living Room, Columbus OH

2012      Walk on Water, Madlab, Columbus OH

2012      Small Works, CAW Group Exhibition, Columbus, OH

2012      83 Gallery, Columbus OH

2012 –   Columbus Arts Festival, Columbus OH

2006 –    Agora 1 – 9, Junctionview Studios, Columbus OH

2008      Solo Exhibition, Grip Technologies, Columbus OH

2007      Transitional, Junctionview Studios, Columbus OH

2006      The Spaces In-Between, Ohio Art League Gallery, Columbus OH


Juried Exhibitions

2014      Dart For Art, Columbus OH

2013      Ohio State Fair, Professional Division, Columbus OH

2012      Along 71, CWAL / OAL, Cleveland OH / Columbus OH

2012      Ohio State Fair, Professional Division, Columbus OH

2012      Art for Life, Columbus OH



“Juried show presents fine array of winning Buckeye State talent”

The Columbus Dispatch, July 28, 2013, Christopher A. Yates

“Exhibit | Ray’s Living Room: Selections by three a study in contrasts”

The Columbus Dispatch, April 21, 2013, Melissa Starker

“Fairs Finest”, The Columbus Dispatch, July 29, 2012, Melissa Starker



Ohio Arts Council Award, Ohio State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition 2015

Greater Columbus Arts Council Award, Ohio State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition 2015

Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center, Ohio State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition 2014

Peoples Choice Award, High Road Gallery, 2013

Juror’s Choice Award, Ohio State Fair, 2013

Columbus College of Art and Design Merit Scholarship 1995-1999



Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, Ohio, BFA, Painting 1999


Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. The liquid
or paste is then applied to a surface — usually prepared wood, though canvas and other materials are often used. The simplest encaustic mixture can be made from adding pigments to beeswax, but there are several other recipes that can be used — some containing other types of waxes, damar resin, linseed oil, or other ingredients. Pure, powdered pigments can be used, though some mixtures use oil paints or other forms of pigment.

Kellie McDermott beeswax
what is encaustic painting

what is encaustic?

encaustic tools

Metal tools and special brushes can be used to shape the paint before it cools, or heated metal tools can be used to manipulate the wax once it has cooled onto the surface. Today, tools such as heat lamps, heat guns, and other methods of applying heat allow artists to extend the amount of time they have to work with the material. Because wax is used as the pigment binder, encaustics can be sculpted as well as painted. Other materials can be encased or collaged into the surface, or layered, using the encaustic
medium to stick them to the surface.


Encaustic paints are perhaps the most durable form of painting, evidenced by the Faiyûm mummy portraits in Egypt, which have survived over 2000 years without cracking, flaking, or fading. Wax

has several inherent qualities that allow it to withstand the test of time: it is a natural adhesive and preservative; it is moisture resistant, mildew and fungus resistant, and unappetizing to insects. Wax paint also doe not contain solvents or oils so they will not darken or yellow with age. Leaving the painting as fresh as the day it was painted.

These paintings are extremely archival, but as with any fine art, care should be given to them. There should be no fear of the work melting in normal household conditions. The wax and resin will not melt unless exposed to temperatures over 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Leaving a painting in as car on a hot day would not be advisable or hanging a painting in front of a window with direct desert-like sun. They are also sensitive to freezing cold temperatures.


An encaustic paint film is stable in a temperature range of approximately 40-120°F. Wax is more fragile in the cold and becomes extremely brittle in freezing temperatures. If you would drop the painting is cold temperatures it will shatter. The paintings will begin to shift at 120°F. The wax begins to be workable at 150°F, and it becomes liquid at 162°F. Very hot days can soften the wax somewhat, but will cause no real damage.


Some encaustic colors tend to “bloom” or become cloudy over time. If your painting appears

indistinct, simply rub the surface with a soft cloth or nylon stocking. Over time the surface retains its gloss as the wax medium continues to cure and harden for up to 1-3 years.


If you must transport the painting in hot or cold weather simply first cover the entire wax surface with wax paper, then cardboard, and some form of insulation. When that painting is at room temperature remove the wax paper and unwrap the painting. When in hot weather the wax paper will stick to the painting but will cause no damage as long as it is removed at room temperature.


Do not hang your painting in direct sunlight. You should never put any fine art in direct sun,

but with encaustic there could be more immediate consequences. If you are nervous about the placement of the painting just feel the surface. If it is warm the painting needs to be moved. It should always feel cool to the touch. I usually avoid glassing an encaustic piece. If encased in glass and hung in direct sunlight, the glass will magnify the light and the space between painting and glass can heat up dramatically causing the painting to melt and shift. The paints have a damar resin in its formula; this cures and hardens the wax over time making the paint less vulnerable to damage. It’s like varnishing the painting from within, so it doesn’t need glass.


You will need to buff your painting when it seems dull, dusty or hazed over. The painting should be shiny. When the painting is “young” or recently finished, it has not yet had time to cure and harden. It will therefore go back to a matte looking surface after buffing the first few times. As time goes by and the mixture has had a chance to cure and harden, (could take up to 6 months) it will keep its buffed polished look. At this point, it also sheds dust and dirt more readily. When the painting is at room temperature or cooler take a soft 100% lint-free cotton cloth (they are used for buffing cars) and buff the painting like you would buff a waxed car. Do not buff painting if it is over 75 degrees. Do not buff hard enough to create heat.

how to care for your encaustic