Art Works by Anna Wagner-Ott

On my Flickr site you can see a selection of artworks that I created over the last 30 years http://www.flickr.com/photos/annawagnerott

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Need to Just Play

Earlier I wrote that I was having difficulty making the wax layers really smooth and that I was going to attempt to just keep smoothing each surface layer until it worked.  Well, to begin with, I had such a choppy surface that nothing would work to get the layers looking like glass so I just let the process take me away.  I had to work with what I had and smoothness was not an option.  It is interesting to go with the flow and  not fight the process.   So, I found pieces of fabric and burnished them into the wax.  Then, I cut shapes and added those onto the finished surface.  I used wax crayons and water colour to fill in those oval shapes.  Here is the result of today’s work. It is not a finished piece but a work in process. 

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My First Attempt at Encaustic Painting

It did not turn out as I had hoped.  I had an end product in mind and that was my first mistake.  I am a sculptor and an acrylic painter and have been doing both for over the last 40 years. See images of my work on http://www.flickr.com/photos/annawagnerott/.‎  So, I thought that I could just take an idea, my water plant series, and reproduce this series in encaustic.  What a big mistake I made.  What a struggle with the wax.  Acrylic paint is so fluid and one can easily overlay one colour over the other colour.  But, I have to remind myself that I have painted for so long and have never worked with this wax medium.  I have to keep reminding myself that my acrylic paintings were awful when I started them.  So, this will be a learning curve and I have to just go with the flow.  What I am after, I think, is a smooth coat of wax over another smooth coat.  My first attempt was so messy, waxy and lumpy.  I added oil paint as a wash over the surface and more layers of wax.  No way was the wax going to perform for me in the way that I wanted.   So, here is my first attempt at the process.   

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Another issue is the size. My paintings are large and I am working on a 7″ X10″ surface.  The wax is contained in that small space.  The encaustic iron will be used next and will see how that works.  I think the trick is to just use a few thin layers of wax that I build up on top of each other and not use so many layers.  The other option is to use a light handling of the brush, heat gun and iron.  I think I am pressing down too hard.  Will just keep at it.

Worked This Time

Ok, I followed the procedure this time and the wax came out perfectly.  I made these cupcakes out of wax in large and small sizes.  I can now go onto the next step and make some coloured wax with my oil paints.  

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This picture shows my wax melting set up.  I have the thermometer and my electric griddle surface to heat the wax.  I set the temperature at 200 degrees.  

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This is my small footprint in my second bedroom/guestroom.  I hope we have no visitors over the next few months.  

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All the equipment has been purchased and you can see my wax cupcakes made.  

What a mess this medium is and I am not sure that I will be able to continue with the process.  I have to find a way to create the artwork in small steps because I can see that my area will become so overwhelming with materials and wax works.  If this works and I am successful with the end products then I will be happy.  I hope I don’t give up on this adventure.