Encaustic Painting – Between the (Incised) Lines

Whether you have just started to create with encaustic medium or you have some experience, adding paint to incised lines is a perfect next step.

how to incise lines in encaustic art
appy oil paint to enaustic art
Top: Incise lines in the medium by drawing around a
spoon and making lines with an encaustic tool or
other sharp instrument. Above: Rub oil paint into
the lines (be sure to wear gloves).
(From Encaustic Painting Techniques
by Patricia Seggebruch.)

You will need incising tools (anything thin and sharp, from a craft knife blade to a metal cookie cutter), oil paint or an oil paint stick, encaustic medium, a heat gun or other fusing tool, paper towels, rubber gloves, linseed oil, and a natural brush.

Note: You must use an oil-based paint because water-based paints such as acrylics will resist the encaustic medium (oil + water don’t mix). Also, be sure to use a natural-bristle brush as the bristles from a synthetic brush will melt in the hot medium.

To demonstrate this technique, I’ve adapted Patricia Seggebruch’s directions and images from her book Encaustic Painting Techniques: The Whole Ball of Wax.

Patricia begins this project by creating a small doodle on a square of Japanese silk tissue paper with a permanent marker. The final piece will have the drawing in the center with painted incised lines and coffee ground inclusions framing it.

Here are her directions for incising and painting the decorative lines:

1. Brush one layer of encaustic medium over the surface to prime it. Fuse it by heating the surface with the heat gun. Let it cool.

2. Set the drawing on the cool, primed board to establish its placement. Add incising lines around the edges by tracing around the bowl of a spoon, drawing straight lines, etc.

3. Remove the tissue paper drawing from the board. Squeeze out a small amount of oil paint (or apply an oil stick) and, wearing gloves, work it into the incised areas.

remove excess paint from encaustic art
Wipe off the excess paint with linseed oil
and a paper towel or cloth. (From Encaustic Painting Techniques by Patricia Seggebruch.)

4. Rub off the excess oil. If oil remains on the wax, use a bit of linseed oil to take it off, all the way back to just the incised lines. (Make certain you remove all the oil afterward, or it will cause the next layer of wax to resist adhesion).

5. Use clear medium to adhere the tissue drawing in the position you determined in step 2. Brush one layer over the tissue and re-fuse. Build up additional layers as desired.

It’s as simple as that.

Patricia’s encaustic work has been featured in many issues of Cloth Paper Scissors, and her book is filled with techniques and ideas for encaustic art, based on her vast experience.

We have put her book together with two of my favorite encaustic resources, plus a bag of encaustic medium to get you started, in our Warm Up With Encaustic Kit, available for a limited time in the Cloth Paper Scissors Shop.

P.S. What do you use to incise lines in encaustic? Leave your comment below.


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


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