Thursday, August 22, 2013


Encaustics is something I've wanted to try for the last few years. And it hasn't really happened. 

                                      UNTIL TODAY!
Are there trumpets and streamers? There should be. It's on my art bucket list. More on that later.

Some artists get in a rut. They do the same thing over and over, usually because they've had some success. Success is good! Sales are good! But really, you need to keep learning and trying new things. I am trying not to be the artist that gets in a rut. I try to keep challenging myself.
So when Deborah Landry said she was giving an encaustic lesson in her studio and invited me to join, I had to say yes! 

So what exactly am I so excited about? Painting with hot wax. And there's a bit of process. (I barely scratched the surface with these.) And some of happy accidents. And a bunch of not so happy accidents. And a whole lot of is it done? or could I make it better? And if I try to make it better, will I ruin it? Here are a few in progress shots from the 1st one. This is 3.5" by 4.5".

I was shooting for an #art365 landscape sort of look, without trying for one specifically. Lots of this I didn't plan. Okay, almost all of this I didn't plan. One of the really wild things, which I didn't expect, was the wax continues to move after the heat gun is taken away. I thought it would stay where it was once it stopped being heated. It doesn't. It contracts, and seems to follow the heat. I made four paintings total today. The three below are 2.5" x 3.5"

This next one started with a yellow base layer of paint. I decided to never do that again. Note the accidental "sun" which happened in the middle photo.

For this last one, I went back to a light blue base, which I used in the first one. I also tried to have something closer to that overall look. I don't think I really succeeded in that. One thing I think I would do in the future would be to actually mix some colors before I paint them onto the boards. Another thing would be to paint the wax on with very fine brushes and potentially heat it less. I'm clearly at the bottom of a very large learning curve.

So my art bucket list... is art things I want to try. Not so much before I die, but you know, it will be harder to try them when I'm dead. I wanted to paint really big, and I've done that. And I love it! 

So encaustics was also on my bucket list. Encaustics is something I can see incorporating into my work. Layering text and drawings can also be added into the pieces, which is an additional bonus. Also on my bucket list: throwing pottery on a wheel. Plein aire painting. Sometimes getting back to gum dichromate printing is on the list. Some days welding. It's a short list, I know. And while encaustics makes some sense in with my current work, welding and pottery, not so much. I just think they'd be cool things to know.

So, to the artists reading: what's on your art bucket list?

And if you want to see more encaustics, from artists who actually know what they're doing, take a look at Deborah Landry and Abigail Markov. They have entirely different aesthetics, and really show the broad range of work which can be done with wax.


  1. How fun! Well gosh, there is not much I have not done lol! It's more for me settling down and getting good at one thing but I have not tried wax, hot nor cold. An artist in my guild did some cold wax work that was so gorgeous!

    1. I haven't heard of cold wax - I'll have to look that up!

    2. She pressed shapes into it and scraped away parts and layered. WOW it was gorgeous. Dorland's Cold wax medium. I think it has to be used with oils. Interestingly enough it's made by the same company I got my silk dye's from. I am going to be experimenting with molding paste, just got it :)

  2. I want to try encaustic too... if not just because I want the experience of how to allow myself to be forgiving.

    1. Julia, I cannot tell you how many times I thought, if this was acrylic, I could just paint this section out... In a sense, it's like the older ink work that I did, using lots of layers of mask: you just don't know what you're going to get until you take the mask off, and then it's done, you can't put the mask back on to fix anything. You just get what you get.