The following blog is the backgrounder to the novel technique I pitched as an article submission to Cloth Paper Scissors magazine almost two years ago. The article was published in the 2013 Sept-Oct issue of CPS magazine, about 16 months later. I’ve refined my technique a bit since then for creating my encaustic mosaics, but this is how it all began… It was finally time to start assembling the encaustic on Terraskin paper collages. I had coated a number of digital collage images on matte photo paper with clear encaustic medium (two coats) and created a number of abstract encaustic paintings on Terraskin paper as well. Now came the fun part of marrying the images with the abstract paintings.
I wanted them to have a three-dimensional weight to give the smaller pieces more of a presence. I had found some black shadow box frames at IKEA that were perfect for the job. All I had to do was to remove the glass.
With the glass removed, I needed a rigid backing to adhere the pieces onto which were a bit thicker than the matte and picture frame backing. I used a piece of black foam core cut to fit inside the frame, which was a good thickness and kept the framed piece from shifting.
Next, I started to select the waxed images I want to incorporate into the collage assemblage. I used an X-acto blade and cut the images freehand (when I used a ruler it left impressions in the wax). I needed to cut the images on a slight angle to prevent the wax surface from flaking off the cut edges of the paper.
I debated on using white foam core versus black foam core to mount the paper pieces onto – white enhance the color the image (the waxed images were slightly translucent), but the black blended best against the black foam core base. If I were to have a light colored base (off-white), I would use the white foam core and perhaps paint it to match the base color.
A number of images were cut from the waxed matte paper – I wanted images that worked together thematically and also with the colors of the paintings. I used squares that were 1 inch x 1 inch and also rectangles that were 1 inch x 2 inches.
I looked through my pile of abstract encaustic paintings to choose one that had colors that worked well the images (similar tones and colors). I also picked a painting that had some texture from the gold leave I embedded in the wax to give a contrast to the smooth surface of the waxed images. In addition to the 1 inch squares and 1 x 2 rectangles, I also wanted a larger 2 x 2 square encaustic “mini-painting”. I made a paper square view-finder to find the most appealing small square composition, and then cut it from the main painting with an X-acto knife. The encaustic painting did have an uneven thickness to it from the multiple encaustic layers, so I had to cut it out carefully.
The remaining encaustic painting was cut into 1 inch strips with a ruler, and subdivided further into 1 inch squares and 1×2 rectangles.
Now came the hard part – how to best arrange the pieces together? I tried several combinations, starting with the main encaustic square, some rectangles and then the square to fill in the assemblage. I wanted a balance of colors, textures and also images.
Once everything was in place and looked to me like a good balance of lights and darks, images and painted pieces, I glued all the pieces down onto the foamcore base with a hot glue gun. You can barely see the black foamcore ‘mounts’ under the waxed pieces – they really look like they are floating or are three-dimensional.
Here you can see the completed encaustic mosaic, “Thought & Memory – Carnelian”.