Metal Decantations

My work is about process with an emphasis on the organic properties of the materials I use and how they mimic nature and landscape. With my encaustic paintings I use a vocabulary of techniques to create a space. Ink and acrylic stain and bleed on the canvas creating a sketch. The splatters and glazes of oil fluidly represent the effects of water and reflection. Lines and gouges in the wax form trees. Beeswax blends and diffuses creating atmosphere. I do not render a landscape as much as I allow the materials to naturally create one.

The aluminum series developed from the same approach. I began to notice the buildup of residue on the inside of the buckets I use to wash my brushes. The patinas of paint created a beautiful gradation of color and texture. Concurrent with these observations were my walks along the inlets of San Francisco Bay. My painting studio rests on the shores of India Basin. The low tides create patterns of kelp, and earth that blend into the tranquil waters.

I use aluminum and steel sheets so that I can work on a smooth and consistent surface. The sheets are sanded, sometimes primed and submerged in several gallons of mineral spirits. I pour oil paint into the solution and mix it until it is cloudy. Over the period of several days the particles of oil color precipitate and leave sediment on the aluminum. After the oil has completely separated from the mineral spirits I repeat the process with another color. I will sometimes sand or manipulate the surface after the bath. The painting is sealed with a protective finish and mounted on a wood substrate.


Robin Denevan’s recent paintings of the Amazon River were created from sketches done from the cockpit of a Cessna. In an effort to push the perspective of his landscapes, these latest works often have a high horizon. The paintings emphasize the scale of the basin and the serpentine nature of the river and her tributaries.  Taking advantage of the seasonal high waters, his work also explores the jungle canopy emphasizing the viewpoint from the river surface. This body of work is a continuation on the theme of deltas, flood plains, and the world’s great rivers.

Denevan has been working with encaustic for over a decade. His process begins with drawings of the exotic landscapes he visits which are the source material for his paintings once he has returned home to his studio in San Francisco. The paintings are on canvas stretched over a wood panel, which provides a rigid and porous surface. Denevan melts resin and beeswax together and applies it with a brush.  His paintings have many layers of wax and oil paint. He continually adds materials and then removes them with solvents, sandpaper, and a variety of sharp tools. The finished work is both luminescent and beautifully textured.


Robin Denevan studied art at a very young age growing up in San Jose, CA. As a boy, he took art classes at the San Jose Museum of Art before being recruited to an arts magnet high school. He received perfect scores on his advance placement drawing and painting exams allowing him to waive his first semester of college. At sixteen, Robin was awarded a full scholarship to attend a summer at Pratt in Brooklyn. Seeing the museums and galleries of New York at a young age solidified his desire to be a painter. At seventeen, Robin was offered a 4 year Rhodes scholarship to the School of Visual Arts in Illustration. He declined in order to study painting at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland where he received his BFA with distinction in 1997. Upon graduation, he worked for local artists and travelled extensively. Travelling became the subject of his work, particularly the exotic landscapes of Latin America and South East Asia.  At the age of 25, Robin quit a rewarding teaching career to paint full time.  In the fifteen years that have followed, Robin has exhibited internationally. Dozens of his commissioned works adorn the lobbies, offices, and restaurants of his corporate clients and private collectors. His exhibitions have been reviewed by The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner and The Chicago Tribune. Robin is represented by Addington Gallery in Chicago, Slate Contemporary in Oakland, Arthaus Gallery in San Francisco, and Desta Gallery in San Anselmo. He lives and works in San Francisco, CA.


Q&A: Robin Denevan & Gallery Director Laura Moriarty

Making an Impression, By Josh Rotter

Robin Denevan’s paintings evoke Asian landscapes

Hunters Point: Profiles

Robin Denevan: Beyond the Surface, Developing Landscapes Naturally


Is and Is Not: Robin Denevan at Julie Nester Gallery

Art at the Base Canteen

Working with Wax: Contemporary Encaustic Painting in Northern California

Robin Denevan’s opening at Addington Gallery



Addington Gallery, “New Encaustic Paintings,” Chicago, IL 2016
Desta Gallery, “Shifting Tides,” San Anselmo, CA 2016
Addington Gallery, “Solo Exhibition,” Chicago, IL 2015
Addington Gallery, Riverscapes, Chicago IL 2013
Patricia Rovzar Galler, Horizons, Seattle WA 2012
Addington Gallery, New Encaustics, Chicago IL 2012
Addington Gallery, Aluminum and Encaustic, Chicago IL 2011
Addington Gallery, River Perspectives, Chicago IL 2010
Julie Nester Gallery, Solo Exhibition, Park City UT 2009
Addington Gallery, Notes from the Yangtze, Chicago IL 2008
Bimma Gallery, Encaustic Landscapes, San Francisco CA 2008
Cinda, Yangtze Paintings, San Francisco CA 2007
Julie Nester Gallery, Robin Denevan: Solo Exhibition, Park City UT 2007
Bryant Street Gallery, Robin Denevan: Solo Exhibition, Palo Alto CA 2007
Gwenda Jay Gallery, Beyond the Surface, Chicago IL 2006
255 California St, Robin Denevan: Encaustic Paintings, San Francisco CA 2006
Rubicon, Robin Denevan: Encaustic Paintings, San Francisco CA 2005
50 Fremont, Robin Denevan: Solo Exhibition, St. San Francisco CA 2005
Gwenda Jay Gallery, Robin Denevan: New Work, Chicago IL 2005
Bryant Street Gallery, Robin Denevan: Encaustic Horizons, Palo Alto CA 2005
Galeria Vinales, El Valle y la Luna, Vinales Cuba 1999
Gallery Flux, Nocturnal, San Francisco CA 1998

Midway Gallery, Selections Juried exhibition, San Francisco CA 2016
Arc Gallery, FourSquared, San Francisco CA 2013/2014
Santa Rosa College, Working with Wax, Santa Rosa CA 2010
Ligne Roset, Group Exhibition, San Francisco CA 2006
Gwenda Jay Addingston Gallery, Romancing the Landscape, Chicago IL 2005
Jule’s Place, Beneath the Surface, Boston MA 2005
Hotel Healdsburg Carriage House, Spring Exhibition, Healdsburg CA 2004
Anne Bradford Gallery, Fall Exhibition, Healdsburg CA 2003
Voshan Gallery, Two Person Exhibition, Palo Alto CA 2003
Mad River Post, Spring Show, San Francisco CA 2003

California College of Arts and Crafts, B.F.A. with Distinction, Painting, Oakland, CA 1997

Addington Gallery. Chicago, IL
Slate Contemporary. Oakland, CA
ArtHaus Gallery. San Francisco, CA
Desta Gallery. San Anselmo, CA