I wanted to do something different with my photography and I wanted to paint. I found a medium that lets a person combine those two. All I needed to do was learn.
Encaustic painting is painting with hot wax and pigment. A medium both old and innovative. Power tools are involved. And lots and lots of really hot stuff.
I spent four days learning different techniques. It was fun.
There was one sweaty afternoon though, I was visited by the ghost of Vacation Bible School, but I sent the beast with his lace up leather wallet packing back into the ether. Enough is enough, after all.
Home again, we set up a studio space where I could continue the project. Bought various hot elements, new and second hand, and away I went.
Mostly, encaustic is painted on wood. One technique to get nice patterns is to add some color to clear shellac, sponge the shellac on the board, light the shellac with a propane torch and watch it burn lovely patterns for an under painting.
Power tool, baby. This is the one I wanted to try first.
Here's where I should mention how wonderful it is to have family who support my artistic endeavors.
I applied the wax, tinted the clear shellac with alcohol ink, dripped in on the panel, and whoosh, lit the propane torch and touched it to the puddle.
What I didn't realize at the time was the lovely table with fire bricks that Dearest (husband and btw local Fire Chief) had provided was not level so the burning shellac bubbled while it slid off the panel, off the bricks and set the table on fire.
My artwork looked like this.
Hardly a lovely under painting.
When the fire was out, Dearest said, "What's it supposed to do?"
Then he leveled the table.
I scrapped most of the mess off and slapped something else on top of it. Which, I understand, is perfectly acceptable encaustic technique, although a person should probably skip the unintended fire part.
So, I fiddled, scraped, painted, fused -- heat is applied to the painting to fuse all layers via heat gun which is like a super-powered hair dryer, or propane torch -- scraped and finally ended up with this.
I stopped because a heart-shaped texture appeared and it was so sweet, I couldn't bear to accidentally destroy it, hence, I declared this painting is finished.
The heart-shaped depression doesn't show in this picture, but some of what is very nice about encaustic does.
The 3D illusion.
Careful waxing creates a window into the painting that is just amazing to me.
Not that I've mastered careful waxing yet. I'm more of a splash, oops, oh-look-at-that painter right now. But I have the inclination to continue.
Power tools, baby.