Inspired by Art at the Speed of Life

Posted by on Jan 5, 2012 in Blog | Comments Off on Inspired by Art at the Speed of Life

Waiting for my studio to be built, I kept my brain busy reading books and magazines on mixed media and encaustic techniques.  You’ll see that I’m a wee’bit of a bibliophile and I love collecting books and magazines that focus on new (to me) techniques.  I’ll try to give a mini-review of those articles/books that I especially find helpful.  And please feel free to send me any articles/books that you find inspiring!

"Art at the Speed of Life" by Pam Carriker

One of those books is ‘Art at the Speed of the Life’ by Pam Carriker.  I’ll discuss her book in detail a bit later since there are lots of great techniques to try out.  Top priority for me was the ‘assembly line’ approach to prepping a number of substrates at one go.  Since my ‘free time’ is minimal, I need to maximize my productivity in my studio.  Carriker used ten substrates as the target in the book, and I thought it sounded like a good number to start with too!

Ten wood panels waiting to be prepped.

I started with ten square wood panels that Dave had pre-cut and sanded for me (great to have a handy hubby!), each roughly 7 x 7 inches (3/4 inch thick).  We were trying to get as many panels out of a 4 x 8 sheet as possible.  I decided to go with a basic black acrylic paint to coat the edges.

Ten wood panels with edges painted with black acrylic paint.

On my previous series, The Five Senses, I had coated the edges with brown wax, but I had read in “Encaustic Workshop” by Patricia Seggebruch that you could apply acrylic under encaustic (the old truism ‘Fat over Lean’) and wanted to try it out.  I’ll talk more later about this great how-to book.

"Encaustic Workshop: Artistic Techniques for Working with Wax" by Patricia Seggebruch

Seggebruch also shows how you can apply patterned papers to a substrate using acrylic gel medium (providing that you don’t get any medium on top of the paper – this will resist the wax application).  I’ve started collecting scrapbooking paper (tons of cool designs), and love those scrapbook paper pads (especially those on sale!).

Scrapbooking paper pad and regular matte acrylic gel medium.

I divided my stack of ten panels in half – five for a paper base, five for a wax base (these were put aside).  I picked five paper designs that appealed to me, different shapes and colours.   I traced around the panel onto the paper, leaving a ¼ inch overhang for trimming to the panel and cut the square out.

Selection of different scrapbooking papers.

Cutting out paper square with 1/4 inch overhang for the wood panel.

Next, I applied the acrylic gel medium (I used regular matte medium) to the panel with a palette knife and try to make it as level and smooth as I could with a brush.

Regular matte acrylic gel medium applied to wood panel.

The paper was placed onto the panel, and air bubbles and excess paste was smoothed out using a large sponge (I didn’t want to snag/rip the paper).

Smooth application of paper onto block using sponge.

I let it dry overnight, and then trimmed the paper overhang off the panel using an X-acto knife.

Trimming the paper overhang off the wood panel with X-acto blade.

And here are my five scrapbooking paper-bases for my wood panels.  Next step is to coat them with encaustic medium to seal in the paper.

Five wood panels with different designs of scrapbooking paper applied to them.