Encaustics have been around for quite awhile. At least 2000 years. At that time the Egyptians used encaustics to paint portraits on their mummies. Unsurprisingly, they still exist and colors are still brilliant.
HOW IS IT DONE (to visit my site, click on image)
Set up includes:
natural hair brushes like hake brushes,
torch with mapp gas or heat gun,
and your substrate, a hard surface.
Why a hard surface?
Wax is not flexible. Linen and canvas stretch and tighten with the weather. You don’t want the wax to crack.
You begin by setting the heat to 200°. When the wax is liquid, brush on your surface. Put two layers down. You can brush across and down. Unless you are interested in a smooth finish. I usually begin with smooth layers. Each layer is fused to the layer underneath by heating. It cools in minutes, so you can continue to add layers. You can add texture any time by adding collage materials. You can prepare them by dipping in wax, or placing them directly on the warm wax. And you can add texture by scratching into the surface.
Encaustics are naturally glossy. However, until they are totally cured (about 6 mos- 1 yr) the may get dull. You can polish the surface with a lint-free rag to keep its high gloss appearance.
Michelangelo was quoted as saying ‘Every block of stone has has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” This painting indeed made that impression on me.
My intention was to paint a picture of horses running wildly across a prairie kicking up sand. I worked on the painting changing colors and images for quite a while, but it just didn’t seem to work for me. One day I just sat down in front of it and began talking to the painting. “What do you want me to do?” I feel the spirit of the horses joy in and freedom in taking off running while at my friend’s horse farm and want to translate that on this stretched linen.
I got up and grabbed some charcoal and just began making gestures on the canvas with the intention of wiping it all out and beginning from scratch. However, as I sketched, I was compelled again to pick up my paint brush and mix up my favorite colors of siennas and ochres of which Roussillon in Provence is so famous, and a few hours later this painting of horses emerged.
Sometimes you have to stop thinking and just let feelings take over. That can be a lot harder than one thinks.
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