Encaustic Collage: Putting it into Practice

So many of you commented on the encaustic blog posts last week, saying you were excited to try encaustic art or delve into it more. For myself, I was curious to try using natural elements and Pearl Ex powders from Jacquard.

encaustic collage
My encaustic collage.

I opened the windows, made sure the fire extinguisher was handy, and pulled out my encaustic supplies, found objects and papers, plus a new batch of Pearl Ex powders before started to play. I melted one container of just encaustic medium and the other with medium plus a bronzey Pearl Ex powder to contribute to the aged look of the collage. (No matter how hard I try, I always end up making something vintage.)

I began with the cover of an old, damaged book. I layed down a layer of wax and added some book text on top for some background texture, followed by another layer of wax and fusing. In my haste to get started, I realized my wax wasn't hot enough, so the wax went cold and puddled up rather quickly. I used a plastic serrated knife to scrape off the excess wax and not only did that do the job, but I liked the grooves it left behind.

I had just bought a bunch of onions and was drawn to the twisted, fibrous end of a red onion. I cut it off and pulled apart the fibers, pressing them into the existing wax, then dripping melted wax on top of them to embed them. I had cut the ends of the red mesh bag the onions came it in order to use it to make impressions in the wax. However, I ended up liking the twisted floret ends better! I pressed one of them into the wax, applied wax over it and fused.

Using the technique for adding found objects I learned from Amy Stoner, I applied a bit of wax to the back of the spoon, pressed it into the board, then pooled wax around it to secure it. When it was cool to the touch, I scraped away the excess from the top of the spoon. I used the same technique to set the rubber girl into the spoon bowl.

I used stickers to write the word red and fused. I had some rusted lace I wanted to incorporate somewhere in the piece, but I just couldn't make it work. I tried several different paper edgings, but they were too defined. Then I saw it: the loosely woven mesh from inside the old book cover's binding. It was nicely stained and had just the right degree of decay. I gently pulled it away from the paper and attached it to the lower edge of the board.

I painted on the Pearl Ex wax here and there where I wanted a more aged appearance and let the piece cool slightly. I wanted to remove some wax and give the piece a little more texture around the edges, and I accidently discovered a cool technique. I was using wooden skewers to remove some of the wax and one fell onto the surface and stuck. I rolled the skewer off the surface and in the process picked up some of the wax on the wood. Hmmmm. I liked the way it roughed up the surface, so I left it.

Takeaways:

  • Make sure your wax is at the proper temperature before starting and throughout the process (use a thermometer dedicated to encaustic).
  • Have everything you need in place before beginning. (There was a tense moment when I realized I had left my heat gun in the other room. I had my husband babysite the wax palette while I fetched it.)
  • Start small and don't be afraid to experiment with materials. If something doesn't work out, try again on another piece.

I hope you will try encaustic techniques yourself. Why not get together with some artsy friends who want to try encaustic, too, and share advice, materials, and the fun? We have many books, videos, and products to help you on your encaustic journey, too. Go to the Cloth Paper Scissors Shop and check them out!

 

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

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