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From paper to wax: Art feeds Winston-Salem artist's soul

From paper to wax: Art feeds Winston-Salem artist's soul


Merlyn Bost’s studio is filled with sunlight and artwork, a natural place for her to mind wander and create beautiful pieces.

“It’s a creative space,” Bost said.

Her father was an illustrator for Western Electric and did some freelance work for various local companies including R.J. Reynolds Tobacco.

He set up a small desk next to his drawing board, filling it with art supplies should his daughter get a creative urge.

“It was there if I wanted to use it,” Bost said. “I started playing with it and it stuck.”

Q: How would you describe your art?

Answer: Colorful. I have an abiding love of color.

Q: How have you evolved as an artist?

Answer: I call Winston-Salem home. I moved here with my parents from Pennsylvania at age 3. My father was a professional artist, and my mother was a professional singer. Growing up, our home was full of creativity and music. With visual art and performance art in the gene pool, how could I avoid the arts?

Following formal art studies and various jobs, in 1990 I finally settled into the art of papermaking. I created two and three-dimensional artworks of handmade paper, exhibiting throughout the United States and acquiring numerous awards along the way.

From 1990 to 2010 I continued paper making as an art form. During this time, I also designed greeting cards. I created a unique line of handmade art cards that could be found at Neiman Marcus, Barney’s, MOMA gift shop, as well as Paris, London, Tokyo and Zurich.

As the aging process began to set in, arthritis took hold. Paper making, although physically taxing, was a true love. Facing the inevitable, I investigated what other art forms might speak to me. I attended several workshops before finally discovering what it was, encaustic painting.

Encaustics is a beeswax-based paint composed of resin and pigment. Encaustic’s luminosity, unpredictability and aromatic scent are all compelling reasons I choose to work with hot wax! Like the ancient art of paper making, encaustic painting is also an ancient medium revived. It was used in Rome to seal the bottom of wooden boats and ancient Egypt to seal tombs and mummies. My encaustic studio replaced my paper making studio in 2012. The adventure of joyfully making encaustic art will continue, along with oil, acrylic and pastels.

Q: Who has influenced your art?

Answer: Most importantly, my dad, Merle Weygandt, a professional artist himself. Historically: Picasso, Kandinsky and Calder. Currently: working, successful women artists such as Sally King Benedict and Windy O’Connor

Q: What is your biggest challenge?

Answer: Two things: uninterrupted time and technology.

Q: What does art do for you?

Answer: Feeds my soul.

Lisa O’Donnell writes about artists — visual, musical, literary and more — weekly in relish. Send your story ideas to or call 336-727-7420.

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