Sunday, May 1, 2011

Encaustic Fun

I attended a fun encaustic workshop hosted by the Calgary FCA and instructed by Ken Bourassa on Saturday.  Ken began with an overview of the basics of encaustic art – painting and/or sculpture. I found a website – All Things Encaustic -with much of that basic information.  Ken is more of a purist than this site.  He mixes the beeswax with powdered pigment rather than using oil paint as described on All Things Encaustic

It was fun to see some of the things that can be done with wax and pigment.  We used pucks of paint that Ken made up for the class, melted them in foil tins on large flat griddles, and used cheap bristle brushes to paint on 1/4” hardboard.  It sets up very quickly when it hits the board!  Working quickly is your only option.  We shared an iron and two heat guns to “fuse” the wax into the board and the various layers to each other.  When we got a chance, we also used the heat guns to melt wax on the board so that we could move the paint around.  I found the layers built up quickly and the wax is fairly opaque.  At one point I heated an area and pushed several layers off of a collage element…  it’s very flexible.

Here are two of the pieces I started yesterday…  finishing them could be problematic since I have none of the equipment.

This one is a simple landscape with no collage elements and very little reheating.  Lots of brush stroke remain in the paint – I love that!  This was the last painting I did…  it took about 10 minutes and I feel that, at least in the sky, I was just beginning to get a handle on mixing the colors to get decent neutrals and the grey in the sky is the result…


I used several methods in this painting.  First of all I collaged some a paper napkin onto the board with clear wax…  then I picked up a flat lump of encaustic paint left by previous workshoppers – about 8” long, 2” wide and 1/4” thick and glued it onto the board with clear wax.  Then I used a heat gun for quite a while, remelting the wax in that thick lump and moving the board around to get the wax to flow.  Another chunk of wax looked very much like a white figure with a smaller figure beside it.  I used scissors to cut out a white head from the waste wax and melted it on to the figure.  The smaller figure is painted as is some of the bottom and the top left.  Fun stuff.



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