Saturday, May 28, 2011

Encaustic Workshop

For the last several months I've been attending a workshop at George's studio where we've all been playing around with encaustic, which is in essence painting with wax. It's a challenging medium to work with, because it's more difficult to control than paint is, and it's also difficult to predict just exactly how fast the wax will dry as you apply it, how hard it will be when it dries, and what will happen when you go to fuse it with a torch or heat gun, which is one of the steps you have to go through when you are putting on the wax in layers. There are a million possibilities in terms of how you use the wax as well: dribbling it, scraping it, painting with it, glazing with it, embedding stuff into it (string, leaves, colored paper, wood chips, shells, etc.) It's also kind a mess to work with and to clean up. The fumes from the heated wax can be dangerous, so it's best to work outside, and the wax dries on the brushes and they're not much good for anything but wax once that happens. So we're grateful to George for letting us use his place and for setting things up for us. There are about ten or twelve people who have been coming in and out of the workshop depending on our schedules on any given Saturday. Since none of us really have worked with the medium before, it's mostly been an exploration. The technique I've derived the most satisfaction from is putting down a layer of wax, incising or inscribing into it, floating another color on top of the incisions, and then scraping the top layer flat, leaving the color in the lines. You'll see a lot of that below.

Right from the start we've had the idea of maybe finishing up with a show or exhibition of some kind, so we've been mostly working in a square format on panels that George has cut for us. Here's a selection of what I've done so far. They'll all look the same size here, but they range from about five inches square to about a foot square. So here's the current lineup:

1 comment:

Jen said...

Hi Bruce! Thanks for sharing these. They are even more beautiful than you described in person. I like the 7th one (green with yellow), but the 2nd one begs the question, "Is that a sun or a rose or neither?" The 11th one looks like a tribute to playing Go at Satura Cakes. =)