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
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.
My goal for today is to create a smooth surface of layered beeswax medium. I want it to look like polished glass.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is my small footprint in my second bedroom/guestroom. I hope we have no visitors over the next few months.
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.