Photo: © 2016 Sam Peck

Photo: © 2016 Sam Peck



“I am driven to create, so I escape to my studio to savor the fragrance of wax, the rhythm and warmth of my torch, and the texture and rich colors possible with encaustic.

My paintings and sculptures evolve, even when I try to plan. I build up layers, then scrape them away, revealing a history. Then I add more wax. I experiment, construct, deconstruct, and redo until my art reveals my story.

I excavate stories, scars, and symbols and give them form with encaustic and mixed media. I work with encaustic because I am drawn to the smooth, glossy surface and the unpredictable and preservative nature of the medium.

The movement possible with hot wax and pigment is seductive and satisfying. I sculpt and paint with determination, passion, and with a spirit of exploration that I hope the viewer can feel in my art."

Flo Bartell


At age ten, I began private art study in South Carolina. Though my passion for art continued, I pursued a career in education and mental health. After many years working in those disciplines, I opened a needlework business, taught needle arts, and designed children’s clothing, quilts, embroidery, and needlepoint. I also began to study art again.

Moving to Los Osos, California in 2003, I continued my art study. Now I divide my time between family, music, creating, and teaching. I express my response to the world through the texture and intense colors possible with encaustic (wax, resin, and pigments), with mixed media applications that often include fiber.

My art has appeared in numerous exhibits, on magazine covers, and has been adapted for needlepoint. My articles and embroidery designs have appeared in Sew Beautiful magazine, and my essays have been published through SHE, a South Carolina magazine. 


I am a member of the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, The Painters Group and Central Coast Sculpture Group of SLOMA, Morro Bay Art Association, Surface Design Association, and International Encaustic Artists. I am a gallery artist at Art Central Gallery in San Luis Obispo, CA.