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View Full Version : Encaustic series - "Invisible Forces" part II


edzstudios
06-08-2003, 08:31 PM
The second in the "Invisible forces series", this one is "Fusion". BTW, all these pieces are 12x16, homemade encaustics on sealed masonite.

jenna_searcher
06-09-2003, 12:36 AM
i like this one the best - my fave colors and an image i can really get into and see things with. i also dig the fact your encaustics are homemade.

edzstudios
06-09-2003, 09:43 AM
Thank you! I can't claim any lofty artistic reasons for making my own paint, though... it's just that commercial encaustics are SO expensive. I just get raw beeswax in bulk, melt it down and let it settle to remove impurities, then re-melt it, and add paraffin and oil paint for color. The oil in the oil paint is soluble enough that it just dissolves in the wax leaving a nicely pigmented mixuture.

jolie
06-09-2003, 01:21 PM
i like the colors in this too, but what really intrigues me is you seem to have managed layering of your encaustics. i find that next to impossible! i bought some a month or two ago and have found encaustics to be very challenging and frustrating. to be fair, i've only gotten them out a few times, as i'm focusing on mixed media nudes right now. i would love to learn how to better control the medium though, so that i could do a nude with them.

i'm glad to see you posted your recipe, as i was going to ask. i'm suprised you don't need dammar crystals, as i've seen them listed in other recipes. what ratio of parrafin and oil paint do you mix with the beeswax? can you use any old parrafin, or is there specialty stuff that is more pure? does the oil in the mixture stay wet? can you use a painting iron or other encaustic tools directly on your mixture? any tips on layering without melting the layers together and turning it into mud? i know it's a whole lot of questions, but i am totally clueless when it comes to encaustics and have not found much info online. i do plan on buying a book, but haven't gotten around to it.

jolie

edzstudios
06-09-2003, 02:00 PM
Jolie, in answer to your questions:
I use the wax much as as regular paint, IE using a brush. I have a electric griddle with adjustable temp, and a bunch of little muffin tin type things. I keep the colors melted in the tins, and use bristle brushes to paint with. when wax hardens on a brush, I simply lay it on the hotplate for a min. and then wipe the liquid wax off with a paper towel (I use a LOT of paper towels!) BTW, don't use synthetic brushes as they will melt. from the heat. I know many artists use an iron, but I like brushes better, its too hard to control with an iron. as I put down layers of wax, I fuse it either with a heat gun (make sure to get one with adjustable temperature, and variable airflow) depending on the effect I want, I either put down several layers on top of each other and then fuse "heavily", meaning I let all the layers melt into each other, blending/liquifiying etc... or if I want a more controlled look I will put down a layer, and fuse "gently" meaning I only melt the top layer into the one directly beneath it, preserving the colors separately. Generally it goes: layer, fuse, layer, fuse, layer, fuse, fuse everyting. Some artist don't fuse until the end, but I find I get better control my way. there is definitely a technique to the fusing, I got very frustrated at first, as it would simply liquify and muddy the entire work. I think the important thing is to develop a "light touch" to enable fusing a single layer of wax without disturbing the background or surrounding areas.

With regards to the mixture. I don't use Damar for two reasons: one, I don't have any, and two it's not really "necessary", just convenient. Damar increases the melting point of the wax, and make is harder and more durable when it hardens. however, it does give off fumes,and since I work in my apt, I prefer not to use it for safety reasons. when I get my own studio I'll probably start using it in recipies :-) The artist I learned encaustics from has never used Dammar, and her works have survived just fine for over 40 years.

with regards to using oil paint for pigments: There is no problem as long as there isn't too much oil to be dissolved into the wax mixture. I believe up to 30% oil is fine (I use less, probably around 15-20%. I just played around with the levels until I got a nice vibrant wax, but not oily. the best part is, if you add to much oil, simply put in more wax to balance it out. Finally I use paraffin as an "extender" to the beeswax, and since it is more transparent. I probably use about 70:30 beeswax:paraffin for my mixture
I buy raw beeswax in bulk, and it is not purified. the way I purify it is simple: melt it all down, let the sediment settle to the bottom, then let it harden. once it it hard, remove from the pan, and there will be a layer of sediment and impurities trapped in the wax at the bottom. simply scrape it off, and you are left with the good stuff to re-melt and use :-) True its probably not as pure as the stuff from the art store, but it's also not 20bucks an ounce or something outrageous like that.

Finally, I use a layer or two of unpigmented wax to prime my support before I start painting, I lay it down as evenly as possible with a brush until there is a reasonably thick base (ie it is not completely absorbed by the wood anymore), and then gently fuse until is a smooth, even coating to start the painting on. from then on when I fuse I am careful not to fuse too deeply into that base layer, and expose the bare support underneath.

Also, I am still very new to encaustics so don't take my advice as gospel!

jenna_searcher
06-09-2003, 02:35 PM
that's incredibly interesting, laz. thanks for going in-depth on your process. i think i need to start experimenting with encaustics now! :D thanks for the info - and you for asking, jolie.

Healer
06-09-2003, 03:20 PM
Thanks for all that info Laz. You've deffo picked up lots of valuable information there. The encaustic waxes that are sold here in the UK don't have the damar in either, it's just the ones from the USA (R&F, Enkaustikos, Sarkana) that do. Here, they keep it out to (a) reduce risk of toxicity and (b) make it flow easier. I read about using oil paints too, in the book by Joanna Mattera, and she says 30% maximum oil paint in your wax mixture is possible. It also says you can lay out your oil paint on a paper towel beforehand for several hours to draw out some of the oil. I did read somewhere that when fusing layers the time to remove the heat is when the wax just begins to shine or something like that.

Andy

jolie
06-09-2003, 03:21 PM
thanks for all the info!

i bought an iron because it doubles as a mini hotplate, so i thought it could be multi-function. on the last experient, which isn't done yet, i applied the encaustics with a brush. i felt that i had very little control as it went on SO thick and hardened nearly before it hit my support. that was only the first layer, so it seems like it will be ridiculously thick if i keep going and that i'll have a hard time achieving translucent layers. i wish i could find a class near here!

jolie

edzstudios
06-09-2003, 03:27 PM
Originally posted by jolie
thanks for all the info!

i bought an iron because it doubles as a mini hotplate, so i thought it could be multi-function. on the last experient, which isn't done yet, i applied the encaustics with a brush. i felt that i had very little control as it went on SO thick and hardened nearly before it hit my support. that was only the first layer, so it seems like it will be ridiculously thick if i keep going and that i'll have a hard time achieving translucent layers. i wish i could find a class near here!

jolie

I use an electric griddle for a hotplate. you can get one for like 20 bucks in k-mart or any place like that, and melt the wax in little tins on that. I got little baking tins a cooking store for like .99c. the griddle gives a nice large working space, and more flexibility to keep any number of colors melted at the same time. it's true, working with the brush you have to work FAST!!! I usually plan each stroke ahead of time, and then quickly dip, stroke, dip, stroke, frequently wiping my brush to keep the wax from building up. For getting truly transparent layers, I keep a tin of unpigmented wax melted onthe hotplate, and if I need a particular color tranparent I take a tiny bit of the colord wax and a bunch of the clear mixed in a small tin and use that.

jolie
06-09-2003, 03:36 PM
healer,

i've seen the joanne mattera book on amazon, but haven't bothered with it yet, as there are so many books on my wish list. how do you like the book? i definately want one that is more fine art related, rather than crafty. i saw one of the michael bossom books at a local shop, and while he is very gifted with the medium, he does not use it in a manner that i would choose.

jolie

edzstudios
06-09-2003, 03:43 PM
Originally posted by jolie
healer,

i've seen the joanne mattera book on amazon, but haven't bothered with it yet, as there are so many books on my wish list. how do you like the book? i definately want one that is more fine art related, rather than crafty. i saw one of the michael bossom books at a local shop, and while he is very gifted with the medium, he does not use it in a manner that i would choose.

jolie

I saw the book, and personally I didn't think it was worth the money (isn't it like 30 bucks or something?) a lot of the book was simply pictures of artists work and the history of encaustics, which was nice, but I was looking for more of a technique book. It does provide some useful information on technique and matierials however so I would suggest going to your local Barnes and Noble and just flipping through it there instead of buying (that's what I did!)

only1tomb
06-09-2003, 08:54 PM
hey i love the painting,
but i also have one other question for you,
how do you put your ebay link at the bottom of all your listins??!!

i keep seeing that everyone has it but never asked!! lol...sorry
thanks
tom b

www.yessy.com/tombradshaw/

artgorillagal
06-09-2003, 09:56 PM
Very beautiful work. I am totally ignorant to encaustics but love the effect. Is it terribly expensive to begin? I think I'd like to try it. Thanks for all the tips but being rather new I can't find the recipe. Can you (or anyone) send me one?

edzstudios
06-10-2003, 11:02 AM
Originally posted by artgorillagal
Very beautiful work. I am totally ignorant to encaustics but love the effect. Is it terribly expensive to begin? I think I'd like to try it. Thanks for all the tips but being rather new I can't find the recipe. Can you (or anyone) send me one?

if you are buying commercial encaustics, they are INSANELY expensive, however if you make your own, as I described above the cost is much more reasonable. you need a hot plate, some small baking tins, the oil paint for pigmenting, and of course the wax. I get raw beeswax in bulk from a honey producer, so it's not too expensive. The biggest expense for me was the heat gun. It's going to run about 70 bucks or so for a heat gun with adjustable temperature and air flow. You can also do it with a torch, which is cheaper, but more dangerous (can we say fire hazard?). I don't have a set recepie for mixing the wax, I usually "eyeball" it, about 60:40 beeswax: parrafin wax, and then add pigment until I get the desire opacity.

jolie
06-10-2003, 02:25 PM
Lazarus,

Thanks for the info on the book. I definately won't buy it unless I get a chance to see it first.

Jolie

Healer
06-10-2003, 06:30 PM
Jolie,

As Lazarus mentioned there is about 60 pages (Chapter 2) of pictures of peoples work - paintings on all kinds of surfaces and objects. I guess that's modern art for you. Chapter 1 (12 pages) is a brief history of encaustic which is useful but not essential. There are interviews with artists through the book re. their techniques. Chapter 3 is on materials (20 pages), Chapter 4 is on Preparation and surfaces (20 pages), Chapter 5 is preparing and exhibiting your work (5 pages). Some links at the back of the book. So basically half the book is pictures of artwork. The last 3 chapters I found the most useful and better than any information on the internet at the time (and probably still). If you can find it in a shop have a gander through it. I didn't have that choice. Not a single shop had this on the shelves in Manchester. The book is fine art orientated but let down by having too many pictures of artists work in it. I appreciate she wanted to show us what was possible but think she overdid (half the amount would've been enough). I think I paid 16 for my copy inc. postage. I'm sure if there is anything you want to know I could look in the book for either of you.

Andy