Friday, January 30, 2015

So many ways to work with wax (a post about process and possibility)...

In Good Company::Float On::Side By Side

Someone asked if I would talk about my process a bit and I realized I haven't given a step by step on any one piece in quite a while.  In looking back I see that I used to talk a lot more about the encaustic process but now I tend to share the beginning and the end but leave out the middle part.  The good part. The sometimes mind blowing, sometimes excruciatingly frustrating part.  As I thought about writing this post I realized that the reason I may say less is because I am doing so much more experimenting and it can be tricky to write about things you are just trying out.  Encaustic is a medium that is wide open.  You can take a class or read a book to learn the painting basics and vital safety information but you really have to experiment and learn from mistakes and go through the process of trial and error to find your voice in this luscious medium. So instead of discussing how I created each of the new pieces shown above I'm going to list the variety of ways I approach a block of wood or piece of paper in hopes that you may see something you haven't tried or that one of these methods may spark a new and uncharted path for you to travel down creatively.  So when I have a nice thick hardwood block on my table I usually head down one of the following paths...     

(for the sake of space I will use hs to stand in for heat set or fuse which is something that happens between each and every layer of wax and after adding incised details or after applying silver or gold leaf)

  Apply a layer of clear medium and hs 
dip newsprint bits into wax and meld them onto the wax surface, hs
*add colored medium, oil stick, etc., hs
apply another layer of clear medium, hs
repeat multiple times hs in between each layer
etch in detail with pin tool and fill lines with black oil stick
remove excess with linseed oil and hs.

paint wood block with encaustic gesso 
use glue to adhere newsprint bits
apply clear medium and proceed as in step one*

paint wood block with encaustic gesso
paint image with oil paint
allow to dry for days
cover with clear medium and proceed as in step one*

apply clear or colored medium to wood block, hs
paint with colored medium, hs
proceed as in step one*

So in a nutshell these are the ways that I usually work.  In my paintings most of the clothing is newsprint, all of the heads, arms and legs are created using heated encaustic paint and the backgrounds are a mix of both those things and encaustic paint sticks and there are between 4-8 layers of clear medium on most pieces.There is no one right way to work and as you find your way you are sure to discover new methods not mentioned here.  The encaustic process is truly about letting go and enjoying the process.  Heat setting is the trickiest part and is the thing that demands you let go of perfection.  This definitely isn't everything you need to know but it is a little window into the way I create and I hope you find something useful, interesting or inspiring. 
 Happy Friday :)

1 comment:

Freerangersnz Outofthisworld said...

Thanks for taking the time to post about your process.