The Greek aphorism “Know thyself” has been attributed to numerous ancient Greek sages, but probably most often to Socrates and Plato. In more recent history, such luminaries as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Samuel Coleridge, Ralph Waldo Emerson and others have incorporated it into various dissertations of their work on self-examination and the exploration of wisdom.
Westbrook, Maine (near Portland), encaustic artist, Dietlind Vander Schaaf, has followed her own path and adopted the enlightened understanding the sages embrace — totally in her own way. She’s effectively married her love of yoga — she’s a trained Kripalu instructor — with her studio work. She strives to “render ‘quiet’ visible.” And hence has embodied her own version of “Know thyself.”
Vander Schaaf, who earned an MFA from the University of San Francisco and an MA from the University of Southern Maine, has immersed herself in encaustic expression, a medium where layers of wax — sometimes 50 to 100 layers — create a final work. Losing herself in the repetitive act of brushing on these layers is her way to bring more calmfulness into the motion of the world. “Quiet is not a place absent of sound, people or activity, but a form of spacious inner stillness as vital to health as good food or exercise,” she said.