Encaustic Art Can Take Many Forms

One of the aesthetic pleasures of working with encaustic medium is the smooth, rich surface that seems to make the artwork glow. But that doesn't mean encaustic art has to be flat.

hope lives here village encaustic art by jan avellana
Encaustic village by Jan Avellana.

The only requirements for encaustic substrates is that they must be rigid and porous. Porosity helps the wax bond with the substrate while rigidity helps prevent ripples and waves from cracking the surface of the completed artwork. Wood, cradeled panels, Encausticbord, and paper all make good substrates.

A good example of a 3-D application of encaustic is Jan Avellana's "Hope Lives Here Village" from our reader gallery. This photo shows a one-of-a-kind original mixed media clay village using encaustic wax. Jan first made tiny, hand-formed clay houses (from 1½' high to approximately 2¼ " high). Then she collaged over the clay with various kinds of ephemera and layered with encaustic medium.

"Exhibit No. 1" by therustyartichoke (also in our reader gallery), is a 9"x9" piece of encaustic art that began with a sheet of watercolor paper immersed in encaustic medium. Flat as flat can be. But then the artist "riveted" paper and other organic materials through holes in the paper, adding a few drops of encaustic medium to make them entirely secure.

exhibit no 1 by therustyartichoke
Side view of 'Exhibit No. 1' encaustic collage
by therustyartichoke.

She attached the discarded and painted remote control case by settling it into a puddle of warm encaustic medium and left to cool before ensuring its stability with some yellow thread. Now this piece of artwork is not at all flat, but the beeswax in the encaustic medium still affords the same translucency.

Look at how the same artist uses a more traditional style of encaustic collage: flat art on wood boards.

She started with four 6" x 6" blocks of wood to which she collaged some abstract photos altered with digital photo editing. She then added a couple of layers of beeswax before drawing into the cool wax with an incising tool.

yellow and orange abstract encaustic art by therustyartichoke
'Yellow and Orange Abstract Encaustic Art'
by therustyartichoke.

After incising the lines, she rubbed black oil paint into the crevices and into all the little "imperfections" in the wax. She also added black paint to the edges of each piece to give it what she calls the "through the viewfinder" feel.

There are so many ways to experiment with encaustic art techniques and collage. We have many resources her on the community and in the Cloth Paper Scissors Shop.

P.S. Have you explored dimensional encaustic art? In what way? Leave a comment below, especially if you have any tips to share!


Blog, Encaustic, Mixed-Media Painting Techniques, Mixed-Media Techniques


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