My studio is cold these days. I adore the space but I have to heat it up with a wood burning stove. Once the stove is roaring though, it’s a toasty little den. There’s something about building a fire and warming the studio that makes me pull out the encaustics. I think it’s because it’s a molten art form, can get fairly physical (creating warmth) and the heat of the beeswax beneath my hands warms my bones.
I tried something new when I started this piece last week using watercolor paper. Encaustics require a strong support otherwise the wax can get pretty heavy and peel or break off the background. Many artists use boards. I was really missing my paper the other day so I laminated a heavy duty watercolor paper to the wood panel. I enjoyed working on the paper, watching the wax melt into the fibers. Eventually, the paper disappeared but it was a nice way to enter the piece.
I’m not sure this piece is done yet. That’s one of the dangers I’m finding with encaustics. It’s really easy to be seduced by the surface or the pigments. I’m going to have to hang this one up and sit with it a while…make sure the composition is strong and that I haven’t relied on technique alone.
The other thing I like about this piece was that is was created entirely with scrapings I had left over from previous pieces. I never throw away any of the wax that has been scraped off of a piece or dripped on the table or warming pan. It’s really easy to peel the wax up once it’s cooled and melt down for future use. This makes encaustic a very sustainable art form because it can be recycled to create more art.