What is Encaustic?
Encaustic derives from the Greek word, ‘Enkaustikos’, meaning to burn in. Beeswax and damar resin are melted together and combined with pigments to create encaustic paint. This paint is applied hot and manipulated with a direct heat source. Encaustic is one of the most durable of all artists’ paints, since wax is impervious to moisture and the colours do not fade.
Encaustic Mosaics were featured in an in-depth DIY article in the Sep/Oct 2013 issue of ‘Cloth Paper Scissors’ magazine and in the Mar/Apr 2014 issue of ‘Somerset Studio‘ magazine for the Reader’s Challenge – Le Cirque theme. The mosaics are made in two separate stages and then assembled together into the final piece. First, encaustic paints are melted and marbled together using an embossing heat gun onto Terraskin™ paper. Metal leaf (silver or gold) and metallic glitter are added to the warm encaustic paint for shine. Once cooled, the abstract painting is cut into small squares and mounted onto foam core blocks. Second, selected images (chosen for their subject matter and colour) are printed onto matte photo paper and then coated with two coats of clear encaustic medium. Once fused and cooled, these waxed images are cut out and mounted onto foam core blocks. After all the pieces have been assembled into a visually appealing composition, they are glued permanently to a piece of foam core and then mounted into a shadow box frame for display.
Mixed Media Collages are primarily created with collaged materials and clear encaustic medium. Materials can include three dimensional objects such as feathers, dried flowers, seedpods, tea bugs, string, eggshells, and two dimensional objects including napkins, old maps, handmade Japanese paper, and ephemera (letters, stamps, tickets, wine labels). The items are collaged together, often overlapping in layers to create a visual story for the viewer. Encaustic paint is used to highlight and complement the colours of the collages.
Encaustic Paintings are created on Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) in the standard size of 2.5 x 3.5 inches. The ATC supports are made of Encausticbord™, a unique material created for encaustic painting. The background colours are painted first, creating a marbled look ideal for sunsets and northern skies. A reversed laser photocopy of a black and white photograph is then burnished onto the cooling wax paints to create an image transfer. Once fully burnished, the paper is removed, and the black toner remains on the surface of the painting (like a tattoo) and gives a highly-detailed contrasting picture in the foreground of the painting.