Let’s Talk SHOP: Kaylee Dalton

Abby Leon, Paradigm Gallery Director

Kaylee Dalton is a mixed-media artist who incorporates acrylics, gouache, ink, watercolors, and elements of encaustic monotypes into her layered works of art. Kaylee’s work is captivating, and it’s easy to see why people ask “how does she do that?”. Her combination of materials and techniques results in innovative pieces that are both compelling and dramatic, whether viewed up close or far away. The magnetic quality of her art draws us in to view the details just as easily as it pushes us back to see the whole, textured composition. No matter how many times you view it, you’re sure to see something new!

From Elkhart, Indiana, Kaylee graduated with a degree in fine art and painting from Ball State University. She went on to study with the late Walter Darby Bannard under a full scholarship for a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. Her work has shown throughout the country, just recently at the FWMoA, and is nationally and internationally recognized in numerous art publications. Read on to learn more from Kaylee herself about her thought process, physical process, and the newest work delivered to FWMoA just this month!

The artist sits in her home in a white t-shirt and light jeans with one of her artworks on the white wall behind her and another leaning against the chair she sits in. She is smiling for the camera.
Kaylee Dalton with her work. Photo courtesy of Kaylee Dalton.

My works are a representation of growth or lack thereof. Interpreting the fascinating consistency of botanical growth and diminishment, the expressive characteristics natural forms exude and their relatable qualities. I’m curiously inspired by the ambiguous wild perplexity beneath the soil of tangled roots, bulb, and hidden formations. Comparable to people, plants are intriguing and complicated. They’re always shifting; either becoming weaker or stronger. I draw inspiration from that delicate continuous state of flux.

All my panel pieces begin with a black gesso. I simply feel less intimidated to begin a piece black as opposed to a stark white panel. Plus, I tend to like working dark to light.

Black gessoed canvases. Photo courtesy of Kaylee Dalton.

Encaustic monotypes are a big part of my work. Encaustic paint is directly applied onto an anodized aluminum plate heated on an electric griddle. I have a pancake griddle that holds all my colors. A print is then pulled from it.

Tools for drawing into the wax, hot plate, griddle with encaustic. Photo courtesy of Kaylee Dalton.
Photo courtesy of Kaylee Dalton.

I’ve made my drawing with the black encaustic and am ready to print. Simply place the paper (I like Stonehenge printmaking paper) onto the plate, use a brayer to roll, and in seconds you have your monotype!

I make numerous encaustic monotypes because they provide such a sense of movement in my work. Plus, making many at a time helps me stock up for future pieces. I cut them out for more definition and then they are ready to be collaged.

Photo courtesy of Kaylee Dalton.

I make lots of pen drawings that I will also collage into my work. Pictured are ink drawings of grass and spring weeds popping up.

Photo courtesy of Kaylee Dalton.

Also, I make a lot of watercolor mini-paintings. Numerous pours and washes are made. Then, once again, I have those stocked for collaging. I keep a huge storage tub full of paper pieces I can dig through.

Photo courtesy of Kaylee Dalton.

This is before anything is glued onto the panel. I am seeing how I want it to look compositionally.

I change my mind a lot before I outline each paper piece with white pen on the panel. This outline helps me remember where it needs to be glued. I use Lineco archival adhesive, brushing the glue on each piece of paper and then back to the panel.

Pieces have been glued and now I figure out what color I want to paint the background. I use flashe for a matte finish. Deciding the background color is one of the hardest parts. Sometimes the pieces remain black and sometimes they go through many color changes!

Photo courtesy of Kaylee Dalton.

After doing a layer of the Ivory flashe, I knew it wasn’t working so I went with yellow ochre. I then add a few more paper pieces, along with more line work with ink and colored pencil, to complete the piece.


Sunspot. Mixed media on panel. 16”x20” . $450. Image courtesy of Kaylee Dalton.

Right to Left, Top to Bottom: Moody Lush. Mixed media on panel. 11”x14”. $300. Tropical Bounce. Mixed media on panel. 16”x20”. $450. Sunspot. Mixed media on panel. 16”x20”. $450. Cascade. Mixed media on panel. 16”x20″. $450

Come visit Kaylee Dalton’s new work in the Paradigm Gallery, open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-6pm; Thursday 10am-8pm; Sunday 12pm-5pm.

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