Artist Neranza Noel Blount paints with Encaustic (Beeswax melted with Damar Crystals). She is interested in chaos theory and how it relates to honey bees. She also collages with found objects and uses her pen & ink renderings and photography images that have been cut, torn, and then fused onto wooden surfaces and painted over with encaustic. She uses dental and pottery tools, brushes and a heat gun to manipulate the molten wax.

    She started painting in oils at an early age and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Tennessee. She has received top awards for her works of art nationally and internationally. Her use of the medium of encaustic came out of her father’s profession as a beekeeper. Her husband has also since become a beekeeper. With her art she wants to help build awareness of the importance of honeybees and how the quality of life for man depends upon them.


Photo at right shows melted and cooled encaustic medium. Neranza makes her own encaustic medium by melting and straining beewax from her hives and then melting it again with crushed damar crystals and then pours it into cupcake tins to cool. She then tints it with her oil paints after soaking out most of the oil from the pigments. For white she mixes in pure dry pigment powder. Like honey, the wax can range from very dark to very light. She also occasionally purchases bleached wax.



Photos below show painting on location with encaustic.


Thanks to Advance Metal Fabrication for custom fitting a portable grill for wax melting.









2016    A1LabArts Fall Member Show - Diptych Project - Curated entire project randomly pairing two artists with each other to exchange works of art and then create a companion piece to form a diptych. Also participated in the exchange with one other artist.

2016    Art DeTour - Demonstrated encaustic painting during 2 day open studio event. Also in 2015, 2014,  2011

2015    A1LabArts Fall Member Show - Chakra Window Project - Curated entire project and facilitated seven groups of artists while collaborating with one of the groups.

2014    Knoxville Museum of Art  - ArtScapes - Invitational fundraiser for the museum. Also invited in 2013, 2010, 2009

2014    An Evening in Orange - One of two artists invited for live painting demonstration in character of Paris street artist. Evening theme based on movie Midnight in Paris blending art through the ages, hence embracing the encaustic work. Event benefited UT Medical Trauma Unit


Plein Air Painting with Encaustic without power using a grill to heat the wax and a torch to fuse

2014    Farragut Arts in the Park, also 2013, 2012

2013    Knoxville Museum of Art  - Artists on Location, also 2012



2015    Oak Ridge Free Clinic Fundraiser

2014    Random Acts of Flowers Fundraiser, also2012, 2011

2013    Community Television of Knoxville benefiting E. TN Childrens' Hospital, also 2012

2013    WDVX Fundraiser

2013    Knox Heritage Fundraiser

2013    Fox Den - Susan G Komen Fund

2013    CASA of TN Heartland

2009    Knoxville Museum of Art Community Gallery – Art to Ashes – benefiting United Mountain Defense Fund



2012    The Whole Bowl of Wax (featuring hand dipped bowls of encaustic painted with bee friendly plants - Plum Gallery

2011    Waxing Poetic Justice - Rose Center - Morristown, TN - In conjunction with beekeeping exhibit in adjacent gallery with poetry reading.

2011    Skyscapes with Urban Horizons - - Lawson McGee Library

2010    Unarmed Merchants Gallery - Solo show

2008    Blount Mansion Gallery



2016    Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority and Arts & Culture Alliance "Arts in the Airport"  - Juried Group Show - Nov-April

2013    Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority and Arts & Culture Alliance "Arts in the Airport"  - Juried Group Show - June-Oct.

2012    Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority and Arts & Culture Alliance "Arts in the Airport"  - Juried Group Show - Nov-April

2011    The Main Gallery, Groton, New York - Juried Exhibit National Small Works Painting

2010    Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority and Arts & Culture Alliance "Arts in the Airport"  - Juried Group Show

2009    InSight into the Smokies –Art Market Gallery - Juried Show

2009    Art & Culture Alliance National Juried Show – Smoky Mountain Visions

2008    Voted Best in Photography in Dogwood Arts Festival Print competition

2008    Art & Culture Alliance National Juried Show

2008    A1LabArts Regional Juried Show



2011    Bobbin Palette - Photography centerfold from a series of photos taken at the Knoxville Museum of Art from the exhibit by Anne Wilson - Wind, Rewind, Weave

2001    ValleyFest  - Photograph "Resistance of Memory" selected for poster representation

1999    International Library of Photography, Owings Mills, MD - Photograph "Amy Reading" selected for publication in Tapestry of Dreams ISBN: 1-892731-23-1



2011    A1LabArts Insider Art Exhibition by Knoxville Museum of Art - New Genre Award

1998    Video Maker Magazine - Third Place for comedy commercial produced for pet dental hygiene.

1981    Omni Magazine International Grand Prize for a stitched portrait of Einstein



Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honors - University of Tennessee 1976 - Concentration in Drawing



Art & Culture Alliance of Knoxville


Encaustic Art Institute  - Sante Fe, MN



Museum of Encautic Art - MoEA  - Sante Fe, MN



By Crit Streed, Professor Emeritus and Artist

I was first introduced to Neranza during a weeklong encaustic workshop I was teaching at Arrowmont Center for the Arts in Tennessee. In that short period of time I saw her intently examine the practice of painting in hot wax and pigment, explore the possibilities of her creative ideas and develop new approaches to her painting. Her enthusiasm and serious interest was infectious. From painstaking studies of master copy to free spirited invention, Neranza's practice of controlling the paint medium while visually giving shape to her ideas is paramount. Coming from a background that includes beekeeping, painting with melted wax seems like a natural calling. The careful observation of nature, her love of the body in motion and a responsive sense of color all contribute to her latest groups of paintings. Whether she is expressing the world through representation or abstraction Neranza’s painting comes from the heart, filtered through the senses and visualized for all to experience.


By Jean Hess, BA, MA

Exhibit at Unarmed Merchants, Knoxville, Tennessee, April 2010

Painter Jasper Johns once suggested that it is commonplace for artists to incorporate or manipulate an object in their work, but when they then repeatedly "do something else to it" the result might be a unique work of art.  Local artist Neranza Noel Blount takes those additional steps in her encaustic (ie. wax) paintings.  Blount takes photographs of the natural world, applies them to board, and then heaps layer upon layer of pigmented encaustic medium over the photographs.  Typically the underlying image is completely concealed by the multiple strata of wax.  In an interview Blount said she takes particular pleasure in buffing smooth surfaces to bring out the soft shine one can achieve with encaustic.  She sometimes adds random scatterings of plant material that render a surface rough in places -- these surfaces tend to be less seductive.  Blount also applies multiple layers of thin tissue paper with the wax pigment, and she allows the paper to bubble and crease.  After that, by carefully breaking the bubbles to create erratic ridges and indentations, and emphasizing creases with added pigment to create what appear to be natural forms such as waves and tendrils, Blount ends up with surfaces that are complex and painterly, apparently conjured into being. Her best works in this show are the nearly monochromatic waterscapes like "Frozen Creek" that may be the most heavily re-worked yet visually the most stark.

Environmental concerns also inform Blount's practice.  She wrote:  "Little honeybees produce the wax as well as honey which is the only food that will not spoil. Honeybees are so important to our quality of life being our number one pollinator, that so many people do not realize. Besides having fun painting with the wax, I want to help educate the public about honeybees and maybe even encourage new beekeepers."  



2016    Mayor's Office, 2015 through 2010

2015    A1LabArts Spring & Fall Member Shows, 2014 through 2005

2015    Art & Culture Alliance Member Shows, 2014 through 2005

2015    Encaustic Art Institute Member Exhibition - New Mexico

2014    Encaustic Art Institute Permanent Collection - New Mexico



2003    ValleyFest - Directed two short films accepted for screening

1998    Age to Ages - Conceived, directed and assisted editing music videos for the J Lawhorn Band through Tennessee Production Center, Seymour, TN

1998    "A Muse In" - Co-produced a three year biweekly series on Community Television combining art, comedy and philosophy. Skills provided included direction, skit concepts, videography, slide photography, and editing  - from 1995

1994    "Take a Hike" - Produced assorted hiking documentaries of the Great Smoky Mountains for Community Television. Videographed, narrated, and edited.


All locations Knoxville, Tennessee unless otherwise indicated

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