Friday, January 7, 2011

Encaustics = Amazing!!!!

Definition of the process via this Wikipedia page:

"Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. The liquid/paste is then applied to a surface—usually prepared wood, though canvas and other materials are often used. The simplest encaustic mixture can be made from adding pigments to beeswax, but there are several other recipes that can be used — some containing other types of waxes, damar resin, linseed oil, or other ingredients. Pure, powdered pigments can be purchased and used, though some mixtures use oil paints or other forms of pigment.
Metal tools and special brushes can be used to shape the paint before it cools, or heated metal tools can be used to manipulate the wax once it has cooled onto the surface. Today, tools such as heat lamps, heat guns, and other methods of applying heat allow artists to extend the amount of time they have to work with the material. Because wax is used as the pigment binder, encaustics can be sculpted as well as painted. Other materials can be encased or collaged into the surface, or layered, using the encaustic medium to adhere it to the surface."

I first saw an encaustic painting a while back at a show of a friend that I was in graduate school with.  It totally intrigued me- she then introduced me to a local encautistic artist who occasionally hosted workshops in her studio- and basically, I was hooked.
It is the coolest medium I have ever used. It's a combination of painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, photography (and probably more).  I have merely dipped my big toe into the world of encaustics- but long for when my time and wallet will allow me the luxery of attending a class at R&F Encaustics (the "big" name in encaustic paint production) AMAZING!!!

Because encaustics is a very toxic process of heating pigments- proper ventilation and special equipment is required.  Some day though- I will have a set up in my "dream" studio!
Here are some of the paintings I made during the 2 workshops I participated in (nearly 21/2 years ago now).

This one hangs above Zella's bed.

So...within the wax I was able to put actual photographs, gold leaf, and the most interesting thing hands down- her umbilical cord (crazy right?!)- but honestly, I couldn't think of a cooler way to preserve it.  That set off the concept of the whole piece really.
Here's the cord a little closer up...

and a closer picture of the photograph of me holding tiny Zella in the NICU (she was born 6 weeks early), with gold leaf surrounding us.

This one is in our upstairs bathroom.  It includes a picture of D holding Z-Booty as a tiny baby.

down the right side I used the tiny index of prints that came along with the photos from the developer.
Oh- and super cool- the tree to the left of the main photo is made with pencil.  You can actually draw with pencil on the wax- then use the heat gun to manipulate the graphite- SOOOO COOOL right?

During my second workshop I created this piece, along with another that I gave as a gift.
Another one of Miss Z ( I took the workshops shortly after having her-  I think she was maybe 4 months old or so- hence the serious theme you see here;)

Yes- she's a little flower baby:)
Check out the closeup- isn't the color just so intense?  And on this one- I carved into the wax to create the texture in the flower top.

I think this medium is so intriguing for me because it allows me to work in a a very fluid style (as I did with watercolors when I primarily used those) and with acrylics like I do now.
I highly recommend it if you are in the art field and looking to branch out!

Hope you enjoyed my little encaustic review!

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