Thursday, May 3, 2007

More encaustics

More encaustic paintings. It's been hectic getting being gone for a week, coming back, unloading and doing all the stuff around here before heading for Orlando in a couple of days. I just put the first encaustic up and now have a couple of more to put up from my first efforts. I came home with 7 panels in various states of finish. I think only one needs a little more...and one other is finished, maybe or maybe not...still thinking on that one.

I still have a lot to learn manipulating this medium......well heck, I could learn more every day about the mediums I use all the time. But still there is something to learn when it comes to putting something hot and fluid on a brush and it's already cold and thick by the time you quickly move the brush to the panel. No hesitation allowed. That's good....hesitation is a killer.Confidence is right, even if it's wrong.

At colony, my intent was to try out several methods/styles of painting with wax....different grounds, or adding collage elements to some and not to others, etc. I used the Evans Holy Grail for the first layer on the first one. It dried looking somewhat like a couple of layers of gesso...although you can't use acrylic gesso under encaustic since it is not absorbent and your painting could pop or slide off later. So this gives you a nice white surface to work on. I, also, tried gluing down rice paper with PVA.....that went on well and stayed down through out the process. The part that didn't stay down was some of the collaged papers. I'll have to work on that piece again. It is a challenge to get collage to stay stuck since when you re-heat the surface, it gets re-heated and can come up again. The other pieces were just to paint/melt/spread the medium on the panels ( a couple of thin layers) and then start painting. Encaustic isn't affected by the wood panel surface the way straight oils might be.

Well gotta get back to packing for Orlando. I'll be meeting up with artist friends there at least a time or two ...........Linda Stanley and Martha Marshall. We're going to have a fabulous time Sunday going to the Gee's Bend show at the Orlando museum before it closes.


  1. hi cheryl, your two wax paintings are wonderful. I've got wax medium, both bought and home made, that I mix into the oil paint. I have also used a mixture of wax and ?, was it gum turps,whilst at uni, hot as an encaustic on a paper and pastel drawing, I remember polishing it to give it a lovely polished finish, i shall have to look up my recipe, I've forgotten. I am very interested in your approach and percieve your paintings are rich in texture, color and design, love them, regards dawn lim

  2. Hi Dawn,
    Not knowing anything much about all the process, I went to the forums online at and read all technical comments twice. ANd they they an old newsletter online about how to use the oil paints with your wax. This is NOT the cold wax medium mixed into oil paints some people use. That medium has beeswax and odorless turp in it and you wouldn't want to "fuse" it with heat as it will put some toxic vapors in the studio. I use only the medium of beeswax and small amount of damar RESIN (not damar varnish)....or straight beeswax. From what I'm reading this is safe if you don't use too high a heat. I also would be cautious about the powdered pigments if I use them in the future. I love the oil sticks and the small assortment of the wax with the pigment already in them that I'm using now.I also used a small amount of "blotted" oil paint mixed into the wax for other colors. The ratio of wax to oil paint is important from what I read to the drying of the pigment.

  3. There are so many variables with that medium that I imagine one could never learn all there is to know about it. I've read Joanne Mattera's book. It's excellent, and I want to own it. She makes encaustic seem a lot more forgiving than some things I've read.

    See you tomorrow!!

  4. So you're having fun with encaustics are you? They don't act like paint, that's for sure - but the aroma is wonderful, and I'm sure you'll develop your own techniques to make them work the way you want them to.

  5. Yep...I am for sure enjoying the encaustics. RIght now I'm at Orlando International waiting for Cyn to get off the next flight ....or I hope it's next flight as I got some kind of update from AA when I got off the plane...and it wasn't from her flight number :>/

  6. Darn it Martha....If I'd known you didn't have Joanne Mattera's book, I'd have brought it with me to Orlando.

  7. I like these very much, and the process sounds intriguing--I'm one of those cold wax people but every time I hear about true encaustics I get an urge to try that--someday--

    Lucky you for seeing the Gees Bend show. I saw the first one 3 or 4 years ago in Milwaukee and it really had an impact on my work, leading the way towards the multiple panels and degree of abstraction that I'm using now, also the way the women use color is very inspiring. Enjoy!!