Saturday, December 31, 2011

Brushed Wax Trial #1

What I did:  I used a bleached white beeswax since this project was on a board.  I brushed several layers on, crisscrossing each layer and using the heat gun between each layer.  I wanted to muck up the corners a bit so I mixed some paint to be the same color as the butterfly and thinned it with a lot of the plain beeswax.  The result was too clean so I started playing with using an old credit card to scrape on more layers.  I added some black and some white as well as the blue.  I cleaned up the edges a bit and stopped there for the evening.  The next day the wax was much more translucent and I buffed it to a shine with a cloth.  I used a black oil pigment stick around the outside edges to accentuate the texture.  After I applied and rubbed it all around, I used some odorless thinner to get the excess pigment off.  It seemed to make some changes in the wax as well.  I rubbed off some of the brushstrokes and everything became cloudy.  I’ll have to do some research to see if it was the type of wax or the thinner but I didn’t have this problem the last time I did it in someone else’s studio.  I waited to see if I could buff it back to a shine once it had rested for a bit.  Luckily buffing did the trick and now I am trying to decide if I imagined the problem. 

With just wax and encaustic paint.

After applying the oil stick.
What I learned: 
  • You can use a brush and the heat gun together to add some nice texture if you didn’t get what you wanted with the original application.
  • It’s handy to have some extra pieces of 4 ply mat board around to try ideas and test colors before you work on the real piece.  Here’s an ATC card I made while futzing around with ideas.  I made the circles using the eraser of a pencil.
Artist Trading Card (2.5" x 3.5")

The last decision is to figure out how I want to finish the sides.  I could paint them black with an acrylic paint or maybe stain them a nice dark brown.  I like the outcome of the piece and I’d like to make a much larger version down the road.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cusp of a New Year

Well here we are right before the end of 2011.  Last year I took an encaustic workshop geared toward photographers and became enamored with the process.  I've decided to start a blog to capture my art resolutions and progress for 2012.

This year I plan on learning a lot more about how to successfully combine my photography with encaustic processes.  I am not going to specify topics or subject matter because I hope by the end of this, I will have a much better idea of what combination of photography, mixed media, and wax will be best suited to my work.

Art Resolution:
Each month I resolve to research at least 1 new combination of my photography and encaustic/mixed medium processes.  By this I mean to add something new to the equation each month.  The research will include changing the substrates and media.  I realize that a lot of this experience will encompass working with new materials and the output may just be practice type pieces, but I hope to keep a narrative in mind for approaching new work also.

My goal is to find new methods of working which will lend themselves to new bodies of work and to experience some artist growth. 

Here is the first piece I will be working on and a shot of my encaustic palette - aka a pancake griddle.  The butterfly piece is an inkjet print glued to a cradled birch board box.  It is 6" by 6".  I plan on using some conte crayon pencils to accent the wings and brush on my beeswax to add some texture on the top.  I will be using pigment oil sticks to accent the texture.  I haven't really played with the brushing of the wax for texture yet, so that's what I'll be learning about in January.
By the way, thanks to my buddy Suzanne for letting me photograph her butterfly collection!
Stay tuned for the results and pictures of the gradual execution.