My interest in encaustic printmaking was prompted by several presentations I attended at the 2010 International Encaustic Conference in Provincetown, NJ. These sessions gave me a sense of what's possible, but you really get a handle on it when you start to create yourself. It is one fantastic freeing activity. The range of effects you can create is quite broad. I am interested in the process not to create finished prints but to create "papers" that I can later collage into my mixed media encaustic works.
I use the aluminum palette available from R&F Paints. You set the temperature at roughly 165 degrees and clear everything off the palette.You are not limited by the size of the palette because you can use a spot printing technique.You also don't have to fuse with a heat gun because you are working with the paper directly onto the palette and the encaustic is heated/fused as you go.
Encaustic ( beeswax, damar resin, pigment) in a solid form is used to apply colour to the "plate"/palette causing it to melt on contact. You can lay down bold bands of colour, draw and use subtractive approaches e.g., wipeout, use stencils, masks or stamps and build images in multiple layers. Overprinting produces layered depth.and you can also draw on the print with a variety of mediums like oil pastel, graphite, charcoal etc. Clear encaustic medium can be used to make thinner paper translucent which is a technique I am attracted to because it allows light to show through the paper. This is most effective when you have lots of white spaces/paper showing through This is highly desirable when you want to use the papers in mixed media work.
Once created the prints are easy to handle and store because the wax is absorbed in the paper and they can even be rolled. So here's a sampling of what I produced. Unfortunately I did not take step by step photos of my day. I will create a tutorial at a later date.
Wipe Out and Stamping
Layered print, purple is simple pick up ghost print (what was left on the palette after taking one print)with some wiping out with an eraser. Second (yellow) was created with a stamp made by gluing textured wallpaper onto an MDF block and pressing it into a yellow puddle of encaustic and stamping onto the first layer (paper is on the palette when you do this). It worked like a charm.
Stamping Positive and Negative
This is a print of what was left on the palette after the previous print was made. The bottom is over printing done in the same way as the previous print. I'm not claiming this is great art... but I now know how to achieve certain effects and I'm very excited about tearing these into different pieces and using them in an encaustic painting.
More complex prints still using bubble wrap to stamp the paper . You can see over stamping with silver on the top one.
The final one is showing a little more finess in the use of the bubble wrap. I guess you could call these layered monotypes because there will only be one created.
There's more to come from my initial session. I'm feeling quite liberated by these processes and can't wait to create more work.