encaustics

 |  December 28, 2008

Wendy recently asked me to explain a little bit about my process with encaustics. So here’s my attempt to document it in action. Although there are so many ways to work in encaustics and this is just one of the ways that I do it myself. Sometimes I paint with just encaustic paints, sometimes I collage with the wax, and sometimes I do transfers on top of the wax.

Today I used a photo that I had printed onto handmade paper. With this image I was trying to do the print on tissue technique, but my paper was a little too thick for it. When I dipped it into the wax, it wasn’t as translucent as I had hoped, so I had put it aside. But today I feel inspired to do something with those images.

First there is the setup:

medium paint_blocks

paints

Encaustic medium in my electric skillet, already prepared encaustic paints, and then the paints on the heated palette getting all heated up to work with.

demo1 Heating up my small clayboard panels with my awesome new heat gun that I got as my Christmas gift. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I had been using an embossing heating gun this whole time! But it did work, so there. I am very happy to now own a heating gun with different heating levels.

I had created that panel on the right at Patricia Seggebruch’s studio, more than a year and half ago. She was showing us different ways to add interesting texture to encaustics paintings, one of which was sprinkling ice tea grains onto medium and then fusing! It smelled good while we were fusing.

demo2 Here I added my photo printed on the handmade paper. I use encaustic medium as my adhesive. I like to add pieces of this and that to my paintings. I had started with scraps of torn paper, but ended up using some very loose cheesecloth.

demo3 I often turn to my oil paints as well as oil sticks to paint on top of the wax. You can use tools to inscribe into the wax and rub the oil paint into the incisions. Or you can just rub the oil paint on the surface. There are usually lots of nooks and crannies that you may not have noticed before that will get filled with paint. I like that look.

I’m still going to work on these little panels a little more, but that is the gist of it.


fusing2

Using a heat gun to fuse your layers of wax is an essential step to painting with encaustics and one that is repeated over and over during the painting process. Here I am fusing a layer of wax that I had just brushed onto a mixed media painting that I did in my Intuitive painting class. I’m so excited about taking this painting even further with encaustics. (In the background is an oil painting I have been working on of our dog for Noah’s room. Almost done!)


fusing1

Another fusing shot where you can see that things kind of get thrown all around when I’m working. It drives me nuts, but that’s the way I work. I always start with a clean table and floor though.

If you want to learn more about encaustics, here are some good books:
The Art of Encaustic Painting: Contemporary Expression in the Ancient Medium of Pigmented Wax by Joanne Mattera

Embracing Encaustic: Learning to Paint with Beeswax by Linda Womack

And I’m so excited that Trish Seggebruch’s book is ready to be pre-ordered on amazon now! Encaustic Workshop: Artistic Techniques for Working with Wax. Obviously I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m pretty sure it will be excellent. She is an amazing artist and teacher. I had been teaching myself encaustics before I found out that she taught workshops. She really helped me fill in the gaps and answer my questions that I had specifically regarding health and safety concerns.

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Thank you for my birthday wishes, it really was actually a very nice day from morning til night. I am looking forward to this new year ahead of me. There are so many things that I would like to explore. Having the time to do so, is another matter! But the possibilities are exciting and that makes me happy.

24 Comments

  1. by Anonymous on December 28, 2008  6:11 pm Reply

    It's been too long since I last visited. Thanks for sharing your technique. I also enjoyed seeing a glimpse of your work space. Have a lovely evening!

  2. by tangled sky studio on December 28, 2008  7:34 pm Reply

    great mini tutorial bridgette! i can't believe you were working with an embossing gun...my arm hurts just thinking about it! i have to hold my pieces at eye level while i heat set (weird, i know....).

    beth

  3. by Meri Arnett-Kremian on December 28, 2008  8:59 pm Reply

    Wow, thanks for sharing! It's always so fun to see a step-by-step pictorial. I've taken one of Patricia's mini classes at Daniel Smith and took encaustic-related classes at Art Unraveled by both Judy Wise and Linda Womack. They were a lot of fun and I love the sweet scent of melted beeswax. So far I'm not hooked, but that's just because I have other art addictions. And then there's blogging......

  4. by rivergardenstudio on December 28, 2008  9:44 pm Reply

    Wow! Thank you for this tutorial... I have always loved your work and wondered how you achieve your beautiful effects. I am wondering still, where you buy your supplies?? Have a very happy new year! Roxanne

  5. by bridgette on December 28, 2008  9:56 pm Reply

    thank you!

    Beth- I know, I can't believe I used that embossing gun for so many years. You should see it-it's definitely been through a lot!

    That's where I met Patricia- at one of the Daniel Smith free demos. I miss D.S.!! I think with encaustics, you just have to fall in love for the moment you set eyes on it and work with it--it's too much of a hassle otherwise! Set-up and cost.

    H Roxanne- I buy from 2 places mainly- Daniel Smith Art Supplies where they sell R&F products. And the Fine Art Store http://www.fineartstore.com/ where they sell encaustic paints and medium as well as really nifty tools.

  6. by Knitsonya on December 28, 2008  11:42 pm Reply

    Love these in process photos! I throw things around too and HOORAY!!! for a new heat gun.

  7. by Dale on December 29, 2008  1:00 am Reply

    How kind of you to share such wonderful process photos with us here! It is fascinating to see the works in progress. I can practically smell the beeswax from here!

  8. by Wendy on December 29, 2008  1:19 am Reply

    Thank you so much for doing this! I loved seeing how it all comes together. I can't imagine doing it myself, but it looks so tempting. Maybe when I don't have two little pairs of hands trying to dip into everything! (My son and I tried to do handmade paper last night, boy was that an adventure. We finally got the job done though. Never thought I'd find myself using old Christmas wrapping paper and dryer lint to make something cool!)

    Thanks again, I'm really enjoying keep up with your work!

  9. by Shayla on December 29, 2008  3:54 pm Reply

    That was a great post. Photos of artists working in their studios are so intriguing. I haven't tried encaustics yet and just seeing your photos of the paint cakes was a thrill. Looks like a blast!! Thanks for the resources.

  10. by Susan Tuttle on December 29, 2008  5:38 pm Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing your process with us -- you are so very generous! I was riveted.

    Happy Belated Birthday to you!

    I tried your recipe for the chai tea and I am addicted to it!

    Happy New Year!

    Susan
    xo

  11. by carol weiler on December 29, 2008  5:44 pm Reply

    Thank You so much for sharing this technique-it sounds intriguing. What you do with it is beautiful. If you ever teach a workshop in the Chicago area I'd love to take it.

  12. by Angela Wales Rockett on December 29, 2008  7:22 pm Reply

    Very cool! I just know I'm going to get hooked on encaustics one of these days. It just looks like so much fun!

    And those little panels are looking wonderful!

  13. by Stephanie Lee on December 29, 2008  11:13 pm Reply

    I always love your work!! It's inspiring, to say the least! Just look at the beauty you are sharing with the windy city! :)

    I hope you had a merry Christmas!!

  14. by Jeane on December 30, 2008  1:55 am Reply

    Bridgette - thank you so much! - this was so informative - so much good information - you have been a continual inspiration to me and I am so grateful for your cyber friendship!

  15. by Leah on December 30, 2008  5:28 pm Reply

    I loved seeing these pictures of you at work!! so fun!!

  16. by machinarex on December 31, 2008  12:10 am Reply

    I'll echo what they said and say thanks for the little tutorial there, Bridgette!

    I *think* I said happy birthday elsewhere, but in case I didn't, happy belated birthday!

  17. by Paula Scott on December 31, 2008  1:25 am Reply

    Super dooper big thanks for taking the time to show your process! Don't you just love your new heat gun?
    OK, but how do you get your layers smooth? I end up with more irregularities than I want at times. Do you just scrape away until you have the 'eveness' that you want?

  18. by Karin on January 1, 2009  3:35 am Reply

    Oh, I'm going to have to come back a few more times to take this all in! I love seeing all your materials and process laid out for us - thank you Bridgette, (and Wendy!!)
    Happy New Year!! Karin

  19. by Femin Susan on January 1, 2009  10:16 pm Reply

    Great…….
    Wishing you " A Happy New Year''

  20. by lynne h on January 2, 2009  6:58 am Reply

    hi bridgette,

    yes, what everyone else said -- thank you for showing us your process!

    i send you wishes for a beautiful and creative new year!

    (oh my goodness. the word verification is "allart". that seems almost miraculous!)

  21. by merci33 on January 2, 2009  7:42 pm Reply

    it's wonderful to see all of these materials laid out and being used! Your work is stunning and it's great to 'go behind the scenes'.

  22. by seth on January 4, 2009  11:40 pm Reply

    One of my favorite things is to see artwork in progress and the process of different artists. Thanks for taking the time to put this post together. Fascinating!

  23. by Sylvie Van Hulle on January 10, 2009  5:30 pm Reply

    I didn't know the technique yet, but it looks so nice, I also want to try it. Thanks for the book tip.

    And it's nice to see your workspace :-) Mine is on the attic, but now it's freezing in Belgium so too cold to paint there. Now I make little works on paper instead, in my studio where it's warm ;-)

  24. by Caroline on March 9, 2009  9:07 am Reply

    Oh I just asked for hints on flickr and found this just after - thank you!

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