Neranza Noel Blount paints with encaustic (beeswax & resin) using dental tools, natural hair brushes, a heat gun and a torch to manipulate the molten wax mixture onto surfaces. She uses beeswax collected from her family’s hives to make her own medium and will also include her photography and found objects into her work. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with honors from the University of Tennessee with a concentration in drawing and has received top awards for her works of art nationally and internationally.
Encaustic is a durable process widely used in ancient times. It preserves colors, and will not melt until the temperature reaches 150 degrees. It can be buffed to shine and eventually will cure keeping the shine. Including environmental and social concerns, with her art she wants to build awareness of the importance of honey bees to mankind, their current plight and what can be done to help them.
Neranza currently resides in Knoxville, Tennessee living with her husband, an apiary inspector, and about 20 beehives. In 2018 she published a book about her art titled, An Artist’s Journey from Oil to Encaustic, A Decade of Waxing Poetic.
Neranza in 2019 at Moving Theater Mankind
Photo shows Neranza dramatically mourning the possible loss of honey bees.
Neranza Noel Blount
Visual Artist ~ addresses social behavior’s environmental effect through the use of Encaustic Painting, India Ink, Dry Media, Collage, Wire and Photography
Juried & Invitational Shows:
2022 Tennessee Beekeepers Conference – Speaker and Booth Display
2022 Art & Culture Alliance National Juried Show
2020 Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority and Arts & Culture Alliance “Arts in the Airport” – Juried Group Show – Nov-April 2021
2020 Honey Convention
2019 District Gallery – The Big Tiny Show
2019 Moving Theatre – ManKind
2019 Honey Convention
2019 A1LabArts – Connections
2017 Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority and Arts & Culture Alliance “Arts in the Airport” – Juried Group Show – April-Sept.
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
Selections Field Experience & Volunteer Work:
2021 A1LabArts Member Shows – Spring – Grit, Fall – Double exhibit both indoors and outdoors
2020 A1LabArts Member Show – Fall – Mail Art – (A safe show during the pandemic supporting the postal system)
2018 A1LabArts Member Shows – Spring – Tiny Doors, Fall – Collaboration Portraits
2017 A1LabArts – Three Group Members Shows – Bread & Circus, Peace Japan Goddess, and a collaboration A Tale of Three Fairies
2016 A1LabArts Fall Member Show – Diptych Project – Curated entire project randomly pairing two artist 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 A1LabArts – Past and Future Conditions – Group exhibit
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
2021 St. James Neighbor Day
2021 Open Fields – American Heart Association
2021 Junior League
2019 Open Fields
2019 Junior League
2018 Open Fields
2016 Second Harvest
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 (no relation)
2018 An Artist’s Journey from Oils to Encaustics: A Decade of Waxing Poetic by Neranza Noel Blount
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
2019 Honey Convention – Best of Show
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
Arrowmont School of Arts and Craft 2009 Encaustic Workshop
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 Collection Representation
Museum of Encaustic Art – MoEA – Sante Fe, MN
Various works held in private collections in the United States, France, and Australia
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.”
2022 Art & Culture Alliance Member Shows, since 2005
2022 A1LabArts Spring & Fall Member Shows, since 2005
2022 Encaustic Art Institute Member Exhibition – New Mexico since 2015
2022 Encaustic Art Institute Permanent Collection – New Mexico since 2015
2022 Mayor’s Office, since 2010
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.