Encaustic with nature’s materials

I’m still playing with my encaustic medium. I taught a class and learned this…limit the size to 10 students, you can’t plug in and run a griddle, melting pot, 3 heat tools, a quilting iron and a woodburning tool into one socket, even with a surge protector without blowing a fuse, and finally, your stuff will get really messy with melted wax drips and glitter!Art004

I have seen some lovely painted eucalyptus leaves lately and wanted to collect some for my class. There is a park nearby with a lot of good nature offerings so I collected bark, leaves, seed pods and some bits from a palm that look like little fans and some woven fibres. 

For this artwork I began with a 5×7 canvas board. I used modge podge to adhere a rectangle of brown handmade paper with gold flecks on about 1/2 the board and then overlapped that with a piece of yellow handmade paper with a torn edge. This gave me 3 background colors with the overlap making the 3rd color once the wax made it somewhat translucent.  I added a scalloped edge of gold paper rescued from a store bought cake cardboard.  Before adding any wax, I drew some branches and simple flower shapes with a black sharpie. I also signed the work. Then I layered the wax and began my additions. I stamped a feather, on the white piece of napkin you get after separating the layers, using versafine black. I added the feather, a piece of bark, three leaves, a fan shape and woven piece from the palm and some seed pods. Then I strung some gold beads on thin copper wire, looping the wire at intervals to separate the beads. I wanted to repeat the gold from the scalloped paper and the flecks in the brown paper. This helps to balance the art work when you carry the color around the work. Each time I added something, I melted wax for under and over the new piece. The beads were added last and come out of the artwork. I didn’t want to lose all the shine of the beads.

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Encaustic on canvas by melting wax

I will be teaching a class on encaustics next week and my usual method of using the pellets and a tiny quilting iron doesn’t really work for more than one person. I was given a melting pot by Ranger and decided to try that with the wax medium(beeswax plus damar resin)and a bristle brush. I used a lot more wax which gives it a lot of depth. I had watched a lot of videos on image transfers on wax and it looked easy enough…unfortunately, didn’t work that well for me…more practice, I guess. I think I didn’t get the surface smooth enough to start with, perhaps didn’t burnish enough and was a little hasty with the removal of the paper. So I layered images, napkins, flowers and another image. Not fond of the outcome…so if anyone wants this one, speak up.

Art isn’t always about the outcome…sometimes it is learning what not to do. So here is my fail…but I’m not about to give up…now go play.

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Artsy figures to use in your Altered Books

class project016 Here are some fun figures to use in your altered books, art journals or collaged canvas’. First you take some colored 8 1/2″ x 11″ cardstock. I used colors from a Sugar Candy 50 sheet pack from Michaels. Next you loosely brush on some paint using a 3/4″ flat brush. I used Americana craft acrylic paints in Saffron Yellow, Irish Moss and Royal Fuchsia. The colors of paper and paint aren’t important…just use whatever you have on hand. Brush on one color at a time leaving your strokes showing and some paper underneath. I’ve done this with 2 colors on some sheets and 3 on others.class project013class project014class project015

After the paint dries, which is pretty quickly, you begin stamping. I use a variety of random stamps with one face stamp placed near the top of the page. The stamp pad used is Versafine in Onyx Black. After placing the face, randomly stamp 2-5 of the same image around the sheet, then change stamps and do the next in the same manner until the page is filled. It may be easier to start with the larger stamps after the face.class project019class project020

For your body shape, you may trace around a figure from a book, magazine, photo or use a template from a doll set or draw your own. I have some made of mylar or thin plastic and some from cardstock or manila folders. Trace around your templates and cut out the figures. The rest of the painted and stamped sheet can be used for other cut outs and collage pieces like flowers, stars, hearts and leaves. Often I will get out my box of stencils and keep cutting shapes until there is nothing left to work with.class project017

This is a fun and easy activity for any level of artist. Now go play! Artful hugs to you, linda