Encaustic Tips from the Pros
Encaustic art by Crystal Neubauer
Encaustic art is hot right now (sorry, couldn't resist the pun), with many people (including me), hopping on the beeswax bandwagon.
I'm captivated by the encaustic collage process and the results it produces, and I've been experimenting at home with fabric, papers, and found objects. I'm a very visual learner; I like to see how-tos and examples of results so I can see what I'm aiming for and try out ideas from there.
So I've been reviewing encaustic technique articles from past issues of Cloth Paper Scissors to get some ideas and pick up some tips.
Here are some of my favorites:
From Patricia Gaignat's “Two Beeswax Books” article in the January/February 2009 issue:
Dedicate some brushes to [the encaustic] process. They won't have to be cleaned, ever; just let the wax harden and the next time they are used, lay them in the skillet and the wax will melt.
Encaustic will not adhere to acrylic paint, gesso, or Plexiglas®.
If a collage element looks wrong, just melt the surface a bit and, using a tweezers, lift off the element and smooth the surface with a tacking iron. Alternatively, scrape off the surface with an old credit card or a palette knife.
Encaustic art by Patricia Seggebruch
From Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch's “Encaustic Collage” article in the January/February 2010 issue:
Put large amounts of wax in printmaker's tins and place them on the palette (griddle) to melt the wax. This way, you will have plenty of melted wax at the ready.
To add color to incised lines, rub pigment stick over them liberally, then rub off the excess on the surface with a paper towel.
From Crystal Neubauer in “Artist to Artist” in the January/February 2010 issue:
Experiment with vintage papers. Brilliant colors can become dull or lose their color under the wax and text can be lost; other times, they can be nicely preserved.
Don't overheat the wax or the canvas. Overheating can darken the paper and turn the wax yellow.
When I first read these articles, I enjoyed them objectively, as an editor, and aesthetically, as a viewer of art. But I thought encaustic was too complicated to try myself.
Funny how things can change. Now these articles are my constant studio companions. That's why I love to keep back issues of my favorite inspirational magazines. You never know what might interest you the second time around.
If you're missing these back issues, you can get them and many others right now for a great price during our back issue sale. The table of contents is listed for each one, so you can review it and see what you might have overlooked the first time.
What are your best encaustic tips? Do you have questions for more experienced wax artists? Leave a comment or ask a question on the Cloth Paper Scissors Today blog.