From an Idea to Execution Part III

In the previous post I talk about the personal influences for the Interlaced series.  In this post I continue with sharing the process. In Part I I I share how I begin painting the panels with the coloured scrapings of wax.  I lay on three layers of  coloured wax with a brush.  I do this very gesturally.  At the end I use my heat gun and do heavy fusing to smooth down the surface.  I end with scraping the surface with a blade.  Once this is done, I plan my composition with an oil pastel and begin laying down the coloured paint (I call the coloured wax medium paint in these technical blogs).

As you can see, I take oil pastel and draw lines and then add the colours.  I paint in the same way as I paint with acrylic and oil paints.  I need to be quick, and have the right heat on my hot surface so that the wax flows easily off my brush.  I keep the heat just under 200 degrees and have a griddle thermometer to keep the heat constant at that temperature.

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I also use smaller brushes for the small strokes and bigger ones for the larger strokes.  I paint very gesturally.

A lot of artists who paint with coloured wax  use shellac to make these filigree holes.  I have found that when I lightly brush over the surface with a colour, and then fuse with my heat gun, I can get open holes without using shellac.  I am not sure how toxic heating shellac is so I try to avoid using shellac as much as possible.  The following shows my brush strokes and the way I build up the surface.

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I keep building up, scraping down, adding colours to areas with  brush strokes and then take a look to see what direction to take.

After the initial layering of paint for the background (see the painting below),  I have to plan for the interlacing of white lines and need to decide how the background will fit with the foreground.  So, if I use a light colour on the background I have to be conscious of the colour showing between the lacing of lines so I will change the colours at this time.  Also, I look at the composition and decide if the background has enough contrast and spatial relationships.

For example, on the last panel of the three, I change the colours by adding the red wedge shape to the middle.

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This version became too busy so I made a drastic change to this piece.   Using the side of the iron I push the iron  over the surface into horizontal lines.

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Ok, as  you can see, I totally destroyed the painting.  So, I scrape down and step back and start all over again.  I like aspects of this painting so add more of my brushstrokes to this layer.

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Once the bottom layer is complete, I began to think about where to add the solid area.  I need a solid area to balance all of the busyness of the dots and yellow lines.   I take a painter’s tape and section off the top area.  I then incise lines and use a feather brush and paint over the top area.  I keep painting lighter and darker orange colours on top of each layer.  I fuse lightly in-between each layer.  After the solid area is complete, I begin adding the lines.  I use a small brush and continually dip the brush into the melted wax and brush the lines onto the surface.  I add more white lines on top of the existing lines to get a relief.  I lightly fuse the white lines as to not disturb them.

As you can see, the white lines totally calm the busyness of the colours and brushstrokes.   The orange colour looks too similar to the first panel so I pick the blue in the background and feather that blue onto the orange triangular shape.  This is the final artwork.

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And, the final threesome, each panel is 20″ X 20″, encaustic.

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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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