Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Encaustics kick ass!

I'm new to this medium.  Well, okay - strictly speaking, I haven't actually worked with encaustics, but I want to.  Does that count?

Some time ago, I feel madly in love with encaustic work.  I love the deep, rich look of the pieces.  I love the textures.  After some cursory internet research, I drug my boyfriend to Hobby Lobby (You caught me.  I didn't drag him.  He's fabulous.  He went willingly and then he bought me lunch.)  The only kind of wax that they stocked was a block of uncolored beeswax.  I bought it, along with a very small iron.  The kind intended for pressing very small seams while sewing.

I made three mixed media pieces which incorporated melted beeswax and I love them very much.  I like the look of the finished product, and I especially love the process of melting the wax.  It feels decadent somehow.  It smells good and feels warm.  The really nifty thing about wax is that you can manipulate it again and again to get a desired effect.  It's really fun.  I did mix some acrylics with the wax and had a good result, especially in Urban Scawl.  As much as I adore the beeswax, this week I felt my obsession ratchet up a notch or two.  I WANT ENCAUSTIC PAINTS!  Beeswax will no longer sate my hunger.

  Science Friend Wanted was whimsical and fun. It turned out bright and lively, which was exactly  my goal .

Urban Sprawl incorporates acrylics, medical gauze, metal findings, and beeswax.

I think my favorite of these three is My Dear Josie.  This mixed media piece was done with beeswax and acrylics, but the special ingredient is a letter dated in the early 1900's.  Years ago (I mean at least a decade, maybe longer), I found an old box in a shop which contained dozens of old postcards and letters, all dated from 1914 and later.  One of them, clearly from a mother to her daughter, began with the words 'My Dear Josie" and it is this letter which was used in this piece.  When reading the letter, it's clear that Josie is a very young adult and has just recently left home to make her way in the world.  Mother is regretful of giving her waistcoat to Josie because coal is getting scarce.  It's a wonderful letter, and I loved making it part of my art.  This is certainly a better fate for Josie's letter than languishing in a box on a shelf for years to come.

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So, I did some online comparisons, and found that what I want (need!) are the little 1oz. tins called Hot Cakes made by Enkaustikos. The least costly internet source is  The Fine Art Store.  The cost averages  to somewhere between $8 - 9 per ounce.  You can also check out my links section and you'll find many places related to encaustic art.  Some that come to mind are Weeping Wax, Andrea Bird, and Mary Cliff-Hilts.

I have batted my eyelashes and asked nicely, and Don has agreed to make me some small rigid boards to use as substrates.  I can't wait!  I'll keep you posted & put up some pics.  

There is a clear video here produced by Enkaustico which shows/explains how to get started with the basics of encaustic painting.  As suggested, I plan on using a temperature controlled griddle to melt the wax. I priced them today @ Target and they are about $25.  If purchasing a griddle for this purpose, keep in mind that you need to heat about 175F.

Until next time...

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