Now to prepare my five remaining wood panels with a few layers of encaustic medium. I decided that I wanted to start with a white or light-coloured background, similar to starting with a fresh white canvas. As I previously mentioned, I made a ton of encaustic medium (at least two dozen muffin cups worth), so I’m going to use it for my base coats. I added Titanium white oil paint from the tube directly to the melted medium.
Seggebruch in her book, “Encaustic Workshop” says to let the oil paint dry overnight on paper towels to wick away the excess oil; however, when I did the workshop with Andrea Bird, we didn’t bother to do this – obviously, the ratio of oil to wax is important, but I do like the spontaneity of mixing colors right away.
I tried to use a light hand when applying the melted white medium to the panel, and fused between coats with the heat gun. I would rotate the board 90 degrees so my stroke direction would change, again trying to keep even strokes. Since the window in my basement studio was open, the wax would cool almost instantly on the panel. You can see the wood through the thin patches of the wax. After fusing with the heat gun, you get a nice slight sheen to the wax.
I used an encaustic iron (no holes or steam) to melt off the excess wax drips off the sides of the panel (it was more comfortable to hold the panel if I didn’t have bumpy drips in my way). The waste wax was scraped up and added to the mud pot.
While melting the wax off the edges, I had to be careful which way to tilt the panel so the wax wouldn’t drip onto the top surface of the panel (oops). I also had to watch over arching the iron onto the front surface of the wax panel (oops, again). You can see here where I goofed with the iron.
Luckily, after a few wax layers were fused with the heat gun, I then used the blow torch to create a very smooth, almost glassy surface. The panels had to remain level otherwise the melted was would pour off the panel (it needed to puddle on the surface). Air bubbles were quickly popped with either the flame or a needle and then flamed. (Reminded me of Microbiology: pouring Petri dishes with LB Medium to grow bacteria – using a Bunsen burner to flame the surface free of bubbles – hard to distinguish bacterial colonies (white circles) from bubbles (clear circles). Here you can see all ten of my prepped wood panels ready to go for painting!