Lost Wax Technique aka Heat Gun Overkill

Posted by on Mar 9, 2012 in Blog | Comments Off on Lost Wax Technique aka Heat Gun Overkill

Continuing with the key and keyhole theme, I wanted to try the reverse idea from making a mould and use the objects to make impressions in the wax.  I picked on the boards that I had prepped with a piece of scrapbooking paper and used painters’ masking tape to outline the borders for the wax.

Masking out space for the reverse imprint in wax.

I used the natural encaustic medium (EM) and did six brushes off wax onto the taped section on the board, fusing between each one.  Once the wax was built up high enough (equivalent to the thickness of the key), I briefly warmed up the surface of the wax with a heat gun to make it more pliable.  Carefully, I pushed the key and keyhole down into the warm wax to make the impression, and removed them slowly to not mess up the edges.

Several coats of natural encaustic medium later, you can see the imprints.

The masking tape was removed and the edges on the impressions were cleaned up using my pottery carving tool.  I dug out the hole in the keyhole to make it more visible.

Edges are tidied up and imprints are visible.

Next, I drybrushed on bronze metallic pigment dust to bring out the impressions in the wax into greater relief.  The metallic dust stuck to the warmed wax.

Brushing bronze metallic powder into the impressions.

I gently fused the metallic dust onto the surface of the relief impressions and try to remove the excess dust from the panel.

Metallic powder is fused to the wax surface.

Gathering some collage elements, I started to plan out my next steps for the panel.  I lined up the white wax casting of the key with the impression of the keyhole (I liked the contrast of the positive and negative space juxtaposed).

Gathering up the collage elements for the painting.

I added the Chinese lantern image from a printed napkin and also had my dried rose petals from my flower press ready.

Chinese lanterns and dried rose petals for the picture.

After adding the rose petals, I placed the inkjet printed images of the key and keyhole on top of the petals.  I drybrushed copper metallic pigment over the white wax casting and coated the entire surface of the panel with natural EM to seal everything in.  However, I quickly realized my problem – the wax relief and wax casting were being melted into the panel with the addition of the top layer of wax – big blobs of melted wax!!  Time to rethink using these elements – next time I think these have to be added as a final touch to avoid this issue.

The heat gun has made the wax impressions and casts melt together.

I scrapped off the reliefs and the castings, and added another dried flower – a daisy from my flower press.  I also used an image of a woodpecker and some new feathers from my collection (more natural colours and I liked the spots on them).  I wanted to make this piece feel more ‘masculine’ than my other encaustic collages.  I kept to the warm oranges, browns and blacks even though it had the floral elements in it.

More collage elements were added - dried daisy, woodpecker image and feathers.

You can see my finished piece ‘Still Life with a Woodpecker’ (title is an homage to a great Tom Robbins book) at my online Etsy shop, Lexi Reid Studio.

"Still Life with a Woodpecker" by Alexandra Reid