I thought that painting with liquid wax would somehow be different than painting with oil or acrylic. I began researching on Youtube, in books and on other blogs for ideas on how to paint with Encaustic materials. I explored different brushes, using various hot tools and irons and then I slowly became more confident with the materials. What I did discover is painting with liquid wax is no different than painting with oils or acrylic. There wasn’t a secret process that I had to discover to become a “good” painter.
I do think it is important to take a workshop with a painter that you admire and then he or she could share some of his or her encaustic techniques, but the main goal for anyone searching for a personal style of painting is to just practice it. So, for three years I have been working constantly on my personal style of painting and also exploring a theme through a series of artworks.
Over the next few weeks I will share my encaustic processes, techniques and the final artwork.
I now paint in the same way that I have always painted over the past 40 years. What I used to do was to brush on one layer of clear medium in straight lines and fused (using a heat gun and melting the wax carefully) that layer. Then, turned the board and added another layer carefully over the first layer and fused. Finally, turned my panel and added the last layer and fused again. My goal was to get this glass-like surface treatment.
I have discovered that I like to start off with a coloured wax layer so I use my left over wax scrapings. With a brush, I now cover the bare wooden panel in a gestural way with a few layers of this brownish liquid wax. It is a way to use all the left over wax and also a strategy for adding a first layer of color for the base.
I make sure that the temperature stays below 200 degrees and either melt the brown wax in a cupcake tray or directly onto the surface. I also add a lot of medium to the brown wax and also, if needed, other colors to change its brown tonal values. In the picture (above) I brushed on the brownish wax very loosely. I am not concerned at all with the pin holes that come to the surface (as I fuse the surface with my heat gun) because those small holes will disappear once I get to the final layers.
After these initial layers, I fuse with a heat gun. I fuse intensely, making sure the wax melts very well and then I will take my scraping blade and scrape down the surface until I have a glass like surface before I begin the next layers.
Here is a picture of the final base layer:
In the third post I share the next steps.