Saturday, October 16, 2010

I Think I'm In Love

I've always wanted to try my hand at encaustic painting. This is a process that involves painting with melted beeswax that's been mixed with damar resin and pigment. Each layer of paint/wax is fused with the layer below by using a heat source, such as a torch. It's an ancient process, and also surprisingly stable and strong. What's appealing to me is that with all of those layers of wax and paint, the effect can be very luminous and ethereal.
This past summer I attended a demo by the women who run WaxWorksWest, an encaustic studio in Corralitos, CA. The demo was impressive, and I immediately signed up for one of their one-day workshops. I learned a lot in that one day, and I'm really looking forward to going back. Here are some of my fellow classmates in the Encaustic Boot Camp Class:


Here we have a hot plate heated to about 200 degrees. Those little tins hold the pigment and wax combo. A flat thermometer helps us keep track of the surface temperature. If the wax is overheated, it can become toxic. Several box fans keep the area well ventilated. The best part was playing with fire, in this case butane torches, to fuse the wax. I somehow managed not to ignite anything that I wasn't supposed to.

At the end of the day, I had four completed pieces. I loved the process. To me, it was such an experimental and playful process. I had a blast, and can't wait to make more.
Detailed images of these paintings soon to come.

I've started gathering the materials and tools needed to do these on my own, in my studio. In the meantime, I've signed up for another day-long workshop. Care to join me on November 12th for the Encaustic Transfer Techniques class? You can see the complete class list and schedule on their website:



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