Influential Artists Part 1: Alicia Tormey

(posted 07/05/2024)

Occasionally people ask if I teach encaustic – currently I do not, but wouldn’t turn down a request for a demonstration of my own techniques. This is the first of a series of blogs where I will highlight why I found each of my online teachers so influential. First up has to be Alicia Tormey. As you can see from her web site linked here, she’s a knowledgeable encaustic artist who currently provides several resources and courses to artists.


I discovered Alicia on Instagram years ago after I had followed just about every encaustic artist who appeared in my “encaustic art” Google alert. At the time she was doing a Q&A series every Tuesday where she shared her experience and answered questions not only about encaustic but also regarding the business of art. Watching her invaluable live streams helped me understand various techniques, how to care for encaustic, and how to present my work. She’s simply an amazing teacher with the utmost business sense.

In my early years of working with encaustic medium, I religiously watched her posts every Tuesday and took her Learn to Burn course. She pioneered the shellac burning process herself decades ago. People love her vibrant, bursting florals, but I’m more enamored with her vast, ethereal landscapes. Her ability to make an abstract image have realistic properties has me in awe.

Here is one older piece I did that shows the shellac burning techniques I learned in her class. I haven’t gone too far in that direction with shellac (yet), but I still have my Bernzomatic torch on standby for when the mood strikes.

“Renaissance” by Rachel Rivas-Plata, 8×10 in. Encaustic Mixed Media (SOLD)