Encaustic painting

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Purchased @ the local thrift store

For the past couple of days I have been painting with encaustic as a medium. I was asked to do an owl in realism on a piece of glass for a stain glass window for the designer and good friend Marjorie Brice.  I approached her with the idea of creating it in encaustic as it has the look of a stain glass window when painted. To my surprise She was totally up for the experiment so I will be documenting my project here. It has been a worthwhile journey of research for the past month. Finally I decided it was time to actually attempt the medium. What happened over the past week was quite thrilling for me – I get excited over paint  -its a weird obsession. What gets me about encaustic is the fact that if I can master this ancient artform I can incorporate all my artforms into one medium. I can sculpt, paint and draw realistically with encaustic. It can be as colorful or as plain as you want it to be. You can texture it add relief, sculpt, collage anything into it, make it 3d, 2d abstract or realistic figurative . In my mind encaustic is more versatile than any other medium. You can paint on glass, wood, just about anything. I wouldn’t paint on canvas though as it needs a hard substrate as canvas is too flexible for this medium. Some artists do use canvas though so you may not necessarily need to rule it out if it is solution to a certain project. After I completed my YOUTUBE research on encaustics I happened to be looking in the local newspaper which I never read and I never read the free section either but by obvious direction from the universe my eyes glanced at the paper and I saw an ad for free tempered glass shelving. I immediately called because I was thinking glass would possibly be a beautiful substrate for my encaustic experiments. I always go from most difficult to easy – go all or go home. Anyway funny thing the guy who called first ‘ first come first serve’ never showed up and I went and picked up a small pickup truck filled with glass. I couldnt believe it ! here was enough glass canvas to last a year AND it was free ahh the universe is amazing *note my husband wasnt as excited about it as I was. Artists are amazing at recycling. The owner of the glass said it must of been meant for me as he had a lot of interest but noone actually showed up. After that I decided it was time to go thrift store shopping for my encaustic supplies. I picked up an iron (flat metal with no holes and small) and a pancake griddle to heat the wax paint cakes. next I needed to actually make the paint. I heated my wax in an old crock pot and added the damar resin crystals a ratio of 8parts wax to approx 1 part resin. (for the glass painting I will be adding more resin).

Resin crystals and metal tins

Resin crystals and metal tins

Next time I will be heating my wax in a pan on the pancake griddle as I had trouble getting the damar resin to melt – it melts at 200 degrees and the wax at 150 -I think I need to complete some more research . There is no temperature gage on the crock pot so it was not working too well– live and learn. Once the mixture is heated together pour into muffin containers and add oil paint or schmeincke pastels (excellent pigment for encaustics I am told) or pigment powders. I added some oil paint **tip: leave over night on a papertowel to remove some of the oil and  ‘voila’ paint.

I used a cheese cutter worked great

I used a cheese cutter for the wax -worked great

I had some porcelain relief tiles that were fired and unpainted downstairs that would work great for my first encaustic project. You can paint on unpainted ceramic- go figure?  I invited my artist friend Sandy Terry over to help me christin my new thrift store buys and she painted on a wooden panel while I worked on my relief tiles and a small paperclay cameo. I was really frustrated but Sandy absolutely loved it. Working a textured free form medium over a hard surface with relief was more than I had bargained for. But in the end I think me and the encaustic came to a mutual agreement. for my first attempt I am happy and excited about the challenge this medium will bring into my art.

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