I decided to sign an encaustic commission I have been working on. Thinking, that means it’s complete. I texted my client a few days ago, letting them know it would be finished this week. Doing that always lights the finish fire.

If you’re not familiar with Encaustic, it is a wax medium with oil paint inside. It comes in blocks of various colors and must be melted on a hot plate, iron, or heat gun to paint with.

Once the paint is on the surface you must re-heat it and fuse the wax to the surface. Obviously there are a number of details; bubbles, surface structures, fire hazards…encaustic setup

Heating surface, uncolored encaustic, color bars, oil paint sticks and tools (above) for scraping, engraving and line making.Heating surface, uncolored encaustic, color bars, oil paint sticks and tools (above) for scraping, engraving and line making.

But, mostly the addictive nature of this material is it’s creamy, soft, shiny and fragrant properties. You ought to buy a book or take a workshop. It’s super pricey and not for the faint-hearted but, so wonderful to work with.

Beginning Surface
Beginning Surface

I found that working on two pieces at the same time was a great strategy for the medium. While one set (it dries quickly but, stays soft until fully cooled) I exchanged it for another. I work one layer, fuse, cool, and apply second layer, fuse, cool etc…

This next image is a beginning work that will be deconstructed. Encaustic is great for revealing itself. Here you see just a modeled surface, however there are 5 layers of encaustic beneath. Every layer is painted on and fused. It’s ready to be carved away with a razor blade. This image is starting abstract but, not sure what will happen, as I like the work to evolve.

And here is a beginning and final picture of “Sunflowers”, the many fused layers and alterations. However, this may not be finished. I have to look at it in the morning. Have a great day – hope you get to touch an Encaustic work one day. Ask the artist and perhaps they will let you, I always do, it’s the best part next to the smell.

First layer of encaustic
First layer of encaustic


Almost Finished...
Almost Finished…

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