Sunday, March 31, 2013

Cold Wax Encaustic Technique.

I stayed overnight at my studio Saturday night and used the time to see if I could make something interesting with an encaustic painting.

I used a cold wax process, to see if I could do something that had a little form than I have done before. I have often experimented with textures in the hot wax method, both painting and monoprinting, but I never managed to really hold anything with a semblance of reality.

Firstly, I collaged some sandpaper roughly onto a panel. I then added in a basic underpainting with Ultramarine Blue, Colbolt Green and Sanguine oil paint mixed with Liquin to make a permanent base.

I layered an image of shoes and a patterned background with a brush, then with a palette knife I both added and removed the paint mix. The wax is pretty thick, so fine detail is not possible, but there is far more control than if the hot wax method is used.

Once the paint is dry, the "encaustic" part comes in. I needed to melt the wax in order for it to become a true encaustic painting, so I used my telescopic desk lamp with a 100 watt bulb (I'm not sure how much longer I can get hold of 100 watt bulbs, they seem to be a thing of the past!) in it. This was an incredibly slow process and I could not hold the lamp in one place too long, just long enough to burn the painting in.

I let the image cool for the rest of the day, then just before heading home today, I buffed it up with a soft cloth.

The image is "relatively" realistic. The medium does not allow for realism in the traditional sense, due to it's thickness and unpredictability under the heat source. This process is much easier to control in contrast to the hot wax method though. The patterned background was pretty much lost, along with much of the shoe detail, but I think the image can just about be made out as a pair of shoes.

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