Since the last week in August I've been exploring the various facets of encaustic. I am attracted to this medium and using it feels like the next step in my mixed media work.
When a friend asked me why I like encaustic I babbled a somewhat incoherent answer that satisfied her, but left me feeling less of an artist because I was so inarticulate. Since then I've been scribbling furiously in an effort to redeem myself in my own eyes. I'm feeling more grounded and informed as a result of this exercise.
Encaustic is truly a multi-sensory medium, appealing to the the visual, tactile and olfactory senses. It is one of the few mediums you actually love to smell.
Its transparency allows you to create many layers of information that show the history of the process. The seductive surface draw and hold the viewer and prompts an emotional response. It is a perfect medium to evoke many things at once: layers of history, t transparency of water, emotions, elusive memory and the passage of time.
Nothing is more sensuous than the feel of wax and the movement of your hands as you fashion the surface to match your intent. It is reminiscent of soft skin.
When compared to the static nature of oil or acrylics, encaustic is a very malleable medium that exists in a continuum from liquid to solid. This allows you to manipulate it in many ways to suit your needs.
- create smooth, deep and fairly transparent surfaces
- create wax castings of real objects (more about this later)
- fill a large inscribed area with a different colour.
- merge previous layers and a new layer together
- integrate an image transfer with a previous layer of wax medium
- attach a collage element to a new layer of wax medium
- create smooth surfaces that can be buffed to a high shine
- create very textured surfaces depending on the temperature of the wax medium and the roughness of the bristles.
- coat paper or small objects with wax medium and adhere them to the surface of your work
- create raised lines or whole areas on the surface of your work
Check out the work of one of my favourite encaustic artists and the person who first introduced me to encsustic, Angela Antle. I am also the lucky owner of one of her works.