Base Layers

In this section of videos we will be delving into the skills and techniques that we will use to create our first work together. How you apply and fuse your wax will not only determine the success of your encaustic work, it’s also where you develop your unique voice with the medium. Here I will show you some of the best practises for effective fusing and layering of wax.

Creating Texture

“A subtle amount of texture attracts the eye.”
—Clyde Aspevia

One of the many dualities in visual art can come from exploring and contrasting smooth and rough textures. You may find yourself drawn to a smooth, glasslike finish in your encaustic work. Alternately you might like to build up a textured surface that you can then highlight using an oil rub (more on that later) or other techniques. A great way to create visual hierarchy and contrast in your work is to play these textural approaches off against each other in the same piece.

Colour Fields in Wax

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks,
breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun.”
—Mary Lou Cook

One of the most difficult areas for many artists – regardless of the medium – is with their use of colour. Combine that with the expense of encaustic paint and you will understand why you want to be have strong skills in both laying down and fusing your layers of wax.

Applying Gold Leaf

Metal leaf can bling up your work in an instant, adding a focal point or reference to ancient works. Here’s one of the ways that I use it in my encaustic work. I hope you’ll give it a try too!

Stencil #1

“It’s not just about creativity, it is about the person you’re becoming while you’re creating.”
—Charlie Peacock

In this first of two videos dealing with stencils I show you how you can create your own stencil using light-weight cardboard. If I am using stencils in my work – they are usually letters, numbers or simple patterns. Otherwise I like to create my own stencils and I encourage you to do the same. Circle and oval templates can often be great to have in your studio as well, and can be incorporated into your works in a variety of ways.

Oil Rub Technique

A great way to unify various approaches and define your focal point is by using the oil rub technique. This can be used to knock back elements that are overpowering the composition, an exciting way to add colour and depth to your works along with creating a vignetting effect or to play up any texture on your wax surface.

Oil Rub #2 Incised Lines

Working with oil paint once again, we will create some high contrast by rubbing it into the lines we have incised into our wax. I did this second oil rub technique after I allowed my first oil rub to dry completely on the wax. I left about one week to lapse between these various stages in working up this piece. You can test to see if your oil is dry by running a lint free cloth over it, or lightly touching it with your fingertip.

Stencil #2

“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.”
—Gail Devers

Now that you have created your own stencil, I will show you how to work with a metal stylus to incise lines into your wax. These lines can then be filled with coloured wax or highlighted with a contrasting oil paint to create some dramatic effects.

Wrapping Up and Next Steps

“The artworks that really sustain us are the works that are filled with meaning and that help us express our stories and share our stories and that’s when we really start having an impact as an artist, as a visual communicator.”
—Nancy Crawford

You now have a solid grounding in how to work with encaustic painting and can start to develop your personal voice. It’s interesting how every artist brings his or her own diverse background into their practise, from photography to painting, textiles to collage. I hope that you will create a practise schedule for yourself and reflect on your progress and development. In this video I cover a variety of ways that you can continue to grow and challenge yourself – technically and conceptually.

© 2017 Personal Renaissance Coaching Inc