I learned a new form of creating art today among amazing women from as far away as Mexico.
encaustic is a a process of applying hot wax (beeswax, resin and pigment if you want color) to an absorbent surface. we worked with wood blocks that were primed with a gesso paint to be made ready for our imaginations to go wild.
the process is pretty simple – apply wax, fuse the wax (or reheat it to adhere – or fuse it – to the layer below), apply more wax, fuse again. you can do this until you’re satisfied. between the layers of wax you can add things to your piece – organic items, pages from a favorite book, charms, whatever you can think of! wax colored with pigment is awesome to add dimension to your work.
the women I worked with created the most incredible pieces. tissue paper printed with delicate pears and when encaused with wax the tissue disappeared and the pear was left floating in wax. there were pattens created in the wax by some and color blocking creations finished.
I, of course brought some of my favorite images to work with. I tested my understanding with two images from Paris. I didn’t get creative, I just wanted to make sure I understood all the steps correctly.
next I expanded to a few images from the water tank. I played with color and began to use the fusing process to push the wax around to mimic waves in the water.
my final stretch of creativity came with an image transfer into the wax while it’s still a bit warm. I made a photocopy of my image, prepped my board with paint and 3 layers of base wax. I even added some black marbling to the clear wax because I knew my image had that watery feeling to it. to transfer the image i burnished it face down into the warm wax (15 mins of rubbing) and then applied water to the paper to remove it. the process was long and a bit tiring and while going through it I had no idea if it was going to work. to my happy surprise, I ended up with a beautiful impression of the image in the wax. pretty cool!!
today I made art! in a new way, without my camera. it was a great experience and a great way to add a layer of difference to all of my favorite images!