Jackie Cort works in a cozy studio behind her home in Snohomish. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Jackie Cort works in a cozy studio behind her home in Snohomish. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

The ‘Wax Slayer’: Quiet Snohomish countryside inspires her art

Artist Jackie Cort primarily works in encaustic, which is the use of melted beeswax and a torch.

The Five W’s and One H is an occasional series in The Daily Herald in which local artists share the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How on their creative careers — plus the story behind their favorite original artwork.

Who: Jackie Cort, 53, aka the “Wax Slayer.”

I’m a full-time artist and work in my studio in Snohomish on the Pilchuck River. I teach there as well as the Schack Art Center in Everett. I love abstract and work in every medium I can get my paws on, but primarily in encaustic, which is the use of melted beeswax and a torch. It has a tactility like no other medium that inspires me every time I touch it.

What: My practice includes my husband, Todd, making my substrates, then when the inspiration hits, I go out back and get to work. I like to rotate mediums to keep things fresh, and I’m not one who can work in a very cohesive manner. Mostly because my emotions and inspirations are all over the map. I used to worry about that, but have come to decide that it’s more authentic for me to paint from the heart at its momentary place than to make it match my last painting. Because I’m a major empath, it’s best for me to isolate myself when I’m working to keep me on track. Walks in the woods are always my favorite way to freshen my palette.

When: I guess it started as a child when I would constantly draw pretty girls in long gowns with big hair, and get yelled at a lot for doodling on all my parents’ mail and important papers and pimping out my jeans with Sharpies. But it was when my mom passed away too young that I took the plunge and quit my full-time job to be a full-time creative. I’ve never regretted that decision. Admittedly, it’s easier to jump when your kids are grown (Sarah is 35 and Taylor is 28) and you have a supportive husband. I’m super grateful for them and their encouragement.

Cort doesn’t like to limit herself by painting with just brushes. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Cort doesn’t like to limit herself by painting with just brushes. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Where: I live in Snohomish, such a beautiful area. My creative energy always comes from these surroundings. We live in the country. My studio is on the greenbelt of the river with goats, chickens and, finally, now bees. This area has all we need to keep an inspired sense of gratitude. We love weeds and we love simple. And sometimes we love weed.

Why: Leads me to my teaching. I’ve been teaching different art workshops for over five years now. Talk about inspiration. Teaching really fuels me. I learn so much from my students. I love people and really enjoy connecting with other creatives as well as beginners. We are all just trying to express ourselves. Art is truly such a gift to bring people together and give space to communicate one’s feelings in a safe environment. I am of the belief that “make art not war” isn’t just a mantra, it’s a real possibility. Let’s try it and see. This summer I will be hosting art retreats that include meditation and painting for process. I’m looking forward to some painting in the mountains.

Cort puts a coat of varnish on a painting. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Cort puts a coat of varnish on a painting. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

How: I am completely fulfilled when I’m alone for a long stretch of meditating, observing, writing, walking, seeing all the “little” things. I need to feel grounded and grateful. I love lying in grass looking at the sky and flipping over to see the alive world we walk on. From all of this comes the art, grounding one’s self is how we feel safe, and ready to speak in whatever way we choose: art, song, words, dance …

Favorite painting: Hands down, “A Fire Within” inspired by the 2017 Women’s March in Seattle. A day I will never forget, it truly did cause a fire for us all to do better — and we are and we will. It was sold at an auction to support the arts and children’s programs.

Blue paint coats one of Cort’s hands as she paints in her Snohomish studio. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Blue paint coats one of Cort’s hands as she paints in her Snohomish studio. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

— Andrea Brown, Herald writer

Artist extras

Coming up: Jackie Cort will have a booth at the Artists’ Garage Sale at the Schack Art Center in Everett on June 1 and paint live at Fresh Paint at the Everett Marina on Aug. 17 and 18. Mark your calendar.

Take a class: Cort is teaching how to make mixed-media collages on March 23 at the Schack. The class runs from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Cost is $170 and includes supplies. Register at www.schack.org/classes/mixed-media-collage.

More encaustic art: See more of Cort’s work at fineartamerica.com/profiles/jackie-cort.html.

Washington North Coast Magazine

This article is featured in the spring issue of Washington North Coast Magazine, a supplement of The Daily Herald. Explore Snohomish and Island counties with each quarterly magazine. Each issue is $3.99. Subscribe to receive all four editions for $14 per year. Call 425-339-3200 or go to www.washingtonnorthcoast.com for more information.

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