Fun with Encaustic

I’ve been having such a nice time with encaustics.   What got me started on a kick to try this was this video. It totally jazzed out my frugal streak and I went for it.  It was a little splurge to get the starter kit from dickblick.  The real studio set up kit is an astoundingly spendy six hundred bucks but the little kit would give me enough materials to see if I liked it.   It consisted of six colors, a bag of medium, some soy wax for cleaning brushes, two brushes, two tins and three encaustiboards.  While I was waiting for it to arrive I scored an embossing tool and an electric fry pan at the Salvation Army (I’m in for seven bucks now.)  I went to the hospice shop in Bratt and got a mess of metal measuring cups and a muffin tin for another dollar.  The one thing I really wanted that I couldn’t find was an iron without steam holes.  This is a google impossibility.  The ones designed for encaustic are like sixty so I went scouring the web for a cheaper one.  In the end and after two full hours combing through pages of steam irons I found one for 13.  Score!

So I am off to make 100 pieces to start with.  Above are the first two I consider finished.  I have about 20 that are in process.  Here are some things I tried and some lessons I learned.

Use one or two of the muffin tin spaces for a changing color made from sticking all the wax that you scrape off or spill.  This both saves money and makes a beautiful mystery blackish color.

Do not put the wood piece on the hot plate to try to get the wax warm for too long.  It will melt the wax off the wood and on to the palette.

Dip and soak paper collage elements in the medium to make them semi transparent or to have them show a little of what is on the other side.

Do not leave the oil paint palette where you can lean on it ruining the nice thrift store fleece you got in lake placid.

i n t a r s i a

over fusing on writing – wax melts and moves the ink around to smudgeville.

oil paint beneath – way different dry time.  I am impatient and red dries the slowest.

Making encaustic colors with oil paint.  Tried to soak the oil out on a paper towel first but see above I am impatient.  There isn’t much  pigment in the ones I made but they are cool.  I’ll probably try this again with more paint and move this to score.

Making encaustic colors with dry pigment (yes I am wearing a mask, ventilating the studio and being careful)  Double score getting antique pigments on ebay for 12 bucks.

Fail so far
trying to do little intarsia points.  In my mind they are really cool so I will keep trying.  I think I need a tiny metal straw to cut out holes.  Maybe a piercing needle (those fancy hollow ones for eyebrows?)

All this has also had the side effect of forcing me into oil paint.  Acrylic, which I have been using for a long time, and wax don’t play well together.  People talked up the oils to me but I said they were too expensive, smelly, blah de dee blah blah.  I also remember taking an “anyone-can-do-art” class at some stupid chain outlet where they had you paint landscapes using their special techniques.  Some idiot teacher saw that I was doing the bird “wrong” and scrapped it off with a palette knife. Bitch.   I was making the gull with more detail than flying wide M’s across the sky and she swiped it off my canvas before I could say hey don’t I like that.  She really pissed me off.  I think in the end I blamed the oil paint for the bad experience.  I’m over it now.

I made this Sunday night.  The figure is from a black and white photo that was in my collage materials.  Before this I did a blue green version of the inner ear just to get the feel for my new liner brush.

The paint moves in a way that I think I will love when I get used to it.  The brush drops off paint as it picks up what was there before.  I find myself dropping color unexpectedly by not wiping the brush off enough.

I am waiting about a week before I work on this again – see what it is like with the paint more dry.

The figure was really fun.  I was jumping the gun for figure drawing which was last night.  Here is the last pose (12 minutes.)   I think it will be the base for another oil.  I love that little thing that comes from drawing from a model vs a photo.  Can you see it here?  Even though there are things not so perfectly life like it has way more of that something.  



5 Responses to “Fun with Encaustic”

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    I love the comment you left about my drawing. Can I quote you?

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