What is encaustic? Encaustic comes from the Greek word enkaustikos, meaning "to burn." Encaustic art involves using melted beeswax or encaustic medium with or without pigment with other media and materials.
|Encaustic collage by Daniella Woolf.|
"For a mixed-media artist, encaustic is a dream come true. All the media I have worked in come together in grand profusion with encaustic. It has become the glue that holds everything together," writes Daniella Woolf in her book The Encaustic Studio: A Wax Workshop in Mixed-Media Art.
"As someone who is primarily inspired by materiality itself, this is the ultimate medium, incorporating whatever I care to throw at it. For those of you wanting to mix media, encaustic will help you embark on a fabulous adventure."
If encaustic intrigues you like it does Daniella—or if even you've never heard about it before-this week you will learn how to get started plus tips, tricks, how-tos, and resources for encaustic art through daily blogs right here on the Cloth Paper Scissors community.
Plus, if you leave a comment on the blog posts, you'll be eligible to win some fabulous prize packages with products from Interweave's Cloth Paper Scissors Shop, North Light Shop, Jacquard Products, and Ranger Ink. (See below for details.)
So, what do you need to get started with encaustic art? In The Encaustic Studio, Daniella gives a through introduction to and explanation of the tools and materials you need. Drawing from the book, here is a list of basic needs.
Safety tools: Encaustic art is fun and versatile, but because you are working with hot wax, appliances, and substances that can emit fumes with toxic components, safety is paramount. Always work in a well-ventilated area, if possible near an open window with a box fan that will draw exhaust fumes out the window. Protect your hands with gloves or a barrier cream and keep a fire extinguisher, water, and burn cream handy.
Encaustic medium: A blend of beeswax and damar resin (a tree resin). Damar resin enhances and improves beeswax, raising its melting point and hardening and stabilizing the wax.
Encaustic paints and pigments: Encaustic paints are pre-made blends of encaustic medium and pigment. Oil sticks, pan pastels, India ink, and similar colorants can also be used.
|A variety of encaustic supplies and encaustic tools,
from The Encaustic Studio.
Heating and melting tools: A key tool for encaustic is an apparatus that will heat evenly to melt your paint, maintain its temperature, and keep your brushes hot. Thermometers are a must, as are flat-bottom aluminum or stainless steel containers for melting paint.
Fusing tools: Fusing each layer of medium or encaustic paint integrates the layers and creates lasting, archival work. Fusing tools include heat guns, torches, irons, and a hot wax stylus pen.
Brushes: Natural bristle brushes are essential; synthetic ones could melt.
Substrates: Substrates for encaustic 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.
Mixed-media mix-ins: Fabric, paper, found objects, fibers, powders (like Pearl Ex), and natural elements (like dried leaves), and incising tools all play at the encaustic collage table.
During the last Encaustic Week, Jenn Mason offered a quick and easy encaustic tag project you might want to try. She'll have another project for you at the end of this week. In between, we have tips and how-tos on encaustic painting, encaustic collage, and encaustic techniques like making transfers.
|Comment on the Encaustic Week blog posts and you'll
be eligible to win one of these prize packages.
Plus, leave a comment on each of the blog posts, and you will have a chance to win one of our five prize packages mentioned above.
On October 16 we'll have a special Twitter giveaway of a Melting Pot Project Pan and Beeswax and Heat it Inks from Ranger. Here's how it will work:
OCTOBER 16 – 8 am to 4pm (MDT)
2) Include #Hot4Encaustic and @RangerInk
3) Tweet up to 5 times
4) Winner announced at 4:30 pm
And, we'll be giving away an additional five Interweave/North Light Shop/Jacquard Products packages on Pinterest. To be eligible, create your own "I'm Hot for Encaustic" board and include a minimum of two encaustic-related pins from our CPS community or store. Then, email your Pinterest link to email@example.com with the subject: I'm Hot for Encaustic.
Blog and Pinterest winners will be announced October 22, 2012. The Twitter winner will be announced October 16.
I hope you enjoy Encaustic Week and learn a lot about this fun, fascinating, and beautiful medium. Don't forget to leave a comment below in the form of a question, tip, or experience.