It’s funny what inspires a new painting. Sometimes it’s a scene your viewing that speaks to your heart. Or maybe it’s a quirky expression you hear or a feeling from a book you just read. 

Thinking Lavender

Thinking Lavender, encaustic by Jude Lobe, $65. Click on image to visit website and through the website you can contact me.

These hot summer days bring me back to a vacation we had in France a few years ago. Two of the weeks were spent in Provence where lavender was around every corner. Whether the lavender was growing in the fields, in scented oil at the farmer’s market or decorating a tablecloth, it was ubiquitous.

So last week I heated up the griddle and began working on a few little encaustics. They are done on a 2X4 cut to about 7″ long. Before I begin the painting with encaustic I attach the hook on the back. It’s usually a piece of copper that I forge into a swirling shape and tack onto the back.

Then I tape the sides so the wax doesn’t drip on the sides. I would still have the option to wax the sides if I wanted to when I finished.

Now I have several options; I can gesso the front, attach a canvas piece to it, or leave it bare. Once I decide that, I begin putting layer upon layer on to the block, fusing each layer to the one below it with a torch.

Then it gets more free flowing as I will sketch, scratch and/or paint with the colored wax back and forth from one technique to another until I am happy with the result.

I have to admit, sometimes I start a piece with no real intent and as the colors and layers go on, they remind me of something and I move in that direction. It’s quite fun. If you haven’t tried, please do. If you’re local, you can call me. I do one-on-one sessions with all materials provided.



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:

  • griddle,
  • metal pans,
  • natural hair brushes like hake brushes,
  • beeswax medium,
  • pigments,
  • torch with mapp gas or heat gun,
  • torch starter
  • paper towels,
  • 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.


Vivaldi's Score, 6X6 encaustic

Vivaldi’s Score, 6X6 encaustic

Click on image to visit Cold Wax website.

Lately I have been painting in cold wax & oil, as I love building up the layers and scratching through to reveal interesting shapes and colors. But I also take some time out to do some smaller works with hot wax, better known as encaustic. 

My set up is a griddle I picked up at Goodwill and several small mini bread trays, also from Goodwill. A friend had brought me some earth pigments from Peru that I mix with encaustic medium, which is a composition of beeswax and resin. In this instance, for the piece shown above, I layer several colors on to the surface. After each layer, you have to fuse (heat) the wax so that they become one layer. I like using a torch with MAPP gas. Otherwise, they would turn out like a layered biscuit and come apart.

Then I lay texture into the layers of wax, and proceed to scratch and scrap to get an interesting overall effect. One the side I made a ‘musical score’ with copper, brass and glass beads, then adhered it to the wax layers.

Finally, I laid in more layers of plain beeswax medium, fusing after each layer. When the piece was completed, all you see of the mixture of colors is through the musical score, however, if you stare at it for a long time, you will begin to see some of the underlayers of color floating in the background of the medium.

This piece will be available for sale at Jill Troutman’s annual Spring Show May 22-24. Jill invites several other artists to exhibit at her Spring Show. I will be one of them. Others include Donny Bell, Sherwood Hill, Martha Hamblin, Loretta Partin, Betty Tyler and Milton Hall. Sign up to my newsletter to get updates. art at judelobe dot com

COLD WAX & OIL for Collage Artists


Circle of Life, 8X18, Cold Wax & Oil, copper, metal

Working in Cold Wax & Oil is particularly adaptable for artists interested in collage. You can easily incorporate paper, and other items to the piece. You have the added ability to make impressions into the built up layers of cold wax and oil. I usually begin with three smooth layers of color; first dark, then a light, then a dark. This gives me some depth that I can begin laying in textures. At this point, if I have deep things to add as collage, like the metal rings in the above artwork, I would put them in now. Sometimes I use a gel medium to adhere them, depending on the weight.

The small copper piece in the bottom right corner with my signature was just attached by pressing into a fresh layer of cold wax & oil.

You can see more of my work by clicking on the image.

HORSE: Born to Run

HORSE: Born to Run, Oil on linen, 30X30.

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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NATURE INSPIRED ART: Tackling a large encaustic


Small encaustic paintings like the 6X6 one above have been leaving my studio pretty regularly. Lately, I’m trying my hand on a large format encaustic. The wax begins to harden the second you remove the brush from the pot, so it is a real challenge to work on something larger than 8X8 or 10X10.

Just to cover the surface takes some time and maneuvering stretching my body across the board. I lay the 24X36 piece on the floor and bring the heating tray to the floor as well. I continue to lay in the wax and colors until the surface is covered. Then I need to fuse it to the layer below.

After 2 days of work and slowly building up layers, textures and colors, I’m left with the image below. Almost done. Now I begging to add the colors I want to be in the main and finished piece.


I brush on the wax with the colors I want for the finalized painting, continuing to fuse the new layer to the previous layers by torching the wax until it begins to glisten. I intentionally leave the bottom portion deeply textured, but smooth out the top third of the painting. A heated iron works well. Then I finish off by scratching in a few connecting lines and lightly torch. Below is the finished 24X36, Listening to Silence, encaustic on cradled board.


It is on display at my studio, Osprey Studio, this week-end, during the Alamance Studio Tour. Saturday, Oct. 18, 10-5 pm, and Sunday, Oct. 19, Noon – 5 pm. I’m # 12 on the tour.  DIRECTIONS.

For more information about the Alamance Studio Tour, visit HERE.

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Blue Whale: Then there was one. Painting by Jude Lobe, 30X40. Click image to visit website.


The eastern North Pacific Blue Whale population has rebounded since being hammered by commercial whaling, according to a new study. And ship strikes, long feared a major obstacle to the recovery in blue whale numbers, likely aren’t major threats, the authors conclude.” Marine Mammal Science Journal

The news sounded uplifting. Blue Whales rebounding in the eastern north Pacific. However, it’s not exactly the case. There are about 2200 blue whales estimated in the eastern north Pacific and that number has not changed since 1993. Could it be that the population wouldn’t sustain more than that number in the specific area?

On the other hand, in 2013 it was estimated to be 300,000 Blue Whales in Antarctica. Now the number is down to 2,000. The reason for these low numbers have not been thoroughly studied as yet. Global warming? Whaling?

We do know the  California coast has never had as large population of Blue Whales as other areas. We do know that whaling has effected the numbers in other areas.

All the new study is stating is that the number of Blue Whales off the coast of California is not being effected by ship strikes. I suppose that is good news.

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