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  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.


Author: Anna

I am a painter and sculptor and have a studio beside a beautiful lake. For the past 40 years, I designed and built puppets, masks and sculptures and had solo exhibitions of these works. In 2013, I went back to painting and started working in encaustic. I am interested in issues of identity in terms of weavings as coverings to protect or to hide. The intersecting lines that I create over landscapes create an internal conversation versus the external between nature vs. nurture. Or how actual or psychological barriers erected in an environment can disrupt a cherished place. My engagement with woven structures speak to complex dialogues between identity and psychological barriers. My second passion is teaching. I try to encompass more than teaching my students art techniques. I encourage students to, not only learn the language of art, but to also engage in critiquing art. Additionally, we continually explore ways to enhance one's voice through art in relation to contemporary and historical issues. Encaustic adventures is a blog where not only processes and techniques are taught, but hopefully this sites will engage in a dialogue about the making of art, notions of voice, identity, themes, and ways to establish a body of work within an historical contexts.

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