Sunday, February 3, 2013

More Lessons Learned...

I've been putting in quite a bit more studio time in the past few weeks and have learned a few more things - some the hard way!

  • If you are feeling impatient waiting for your cold, wax-laden brush to warm up and become pliable, don't use your heat gun to try to hurry the process along.  Even non-synthetic brush bristles can be burnt if there's enough heat.  Then, when you use said brush, you will spend the next 20 minutes picking little black specks out of your previously pristine painting!
  • This one is going to seem really obvious but as a gentle reminder, do not let your heat gun's tip touch anything when you sit it down after using it.  I have made a very interesting plastic sculpture out of what was a perfectly good power strip.  That is a smell that lingers and reminds me of my mistake everytime I heat up the gun now! 
  • If you use an oil pastel to make marks on an encaustic surface be sure to wipe off any excess that did not get fused before brushing anything else over it.  It didn't take me too long to scrape off the smeared portion of my beautiful marks but I'd rather skip that step next time.
  • Cheaper paper towels are your friend when dabbing oil paint off of the surface of an encaustic painting.  I bought some very nice cloth-like Viva paper towels and boy did they shed lint all over my nice wet oil paint! 
  • Not all lessons are bad... I tried using a china marker/grease pencil on an underpainting to make some gestural marks.  As long as you fuse carefully, that works wonderfully.  The underpainting was a light cream color and I played with a white grease pencil.  The effect was nice and subtle while still adding a bit of interest.
  • Test, test, test, and yee shall find the answer - eventually.  I had this neat portrait of Anna in infrared and knew it was meant to be a mixed media piece.  I wanted to have a look of something hiding her eyes - perhaps lace.  I printed out a trial piece when I printed the good one to be pasted to a cradled birch board.  The trial piece ended up looking like my old ratty Barbie dolls after years of "love", but it definitely served it's purpose.  By finishing time, I felt much more comfortable about what I needed to do to the real piece.