"More Colours Of Winter", 24x24" encaustic on cradled panel
I have been spending time almost daily in my studio working in encaustic -inside winter work -it is a fascinating medium. Basically I make my own paint (beeswax, damar resin for hardening and powder pigments). The paint is then kept molten on a griddle at about 200 degrees. You apply the paint with natural hair brushes, and the paint cools and hardens as soon as the heat source is removed. Each layer of wax must be fused with the previous ones (I use a heat gun or butane torch) so that the layers will not delaminate -here is where the tricky part lies -if you heat too much the bottom layers become molten and rise up through the new layers (an effect which leaves very cool effect, but control is totally lacking). I love the way the molten wax flows, a lot like watercolour, my first love. The advantage is that you can can continue to work on a piece because the layers cool so quickly, there is no drying time involved, unlike oils. The colours are incredibly vibrant and the luminosity of all those layers is something that is totally unique to the medium. Many people work in abstract fashion in encaustics, I believe because of the limitations of control -also many come to encaustics without a full understanding of art -anyone can do it, but not everyone can make 'art' with it! I have been spending hours and hours learning the ins and outs of the medium, seeing what I can do with what I already know about creating a painting. It is tremendously exciting now that I am getting the results I want to achieve. My goal is to use the medium to create paintings that bridge all of my other interests -my plein air oil landscapes, watercolour 'puddling of colour' effects and my work in collage (encaustic is a wonderful medium for collage as the wax acts like a glue). I have also begun to work larger, which brings its own challenges.
Todays post is based on a watercolour painting that I did a number of years ago that I just loved. At this point, I am recreating some of my most favorite paintings done in other mediums. It is enough for now to concentrate on the medium rather than adding all the other challenges involved in making a good composition with solid colour harmony! Here is the original watercolour FYI:
So the artistic journey continues -please stay tuned for more!!