Thursday, 23 April 2015

Hot Wax!

Hi everyone, Ruth here with my first inspiration post...eek! here goes...I've recently become fascinated with encaustic painting and have a desire to replicate some of those wonderfully luminous, layered mixed media pieces that are out there. Having looked into it, encaustic boards and paints can be quite an investment so I thought I would start small and use the equipment I already have to start exploring this wonderful art form....and maybe inspire you along the way.


The pieces I've created above are on 2" square pieces of stamp board (anyone else have stampboard stashed away?) I didn't intend to create such small pieces as I also had some larger squares but it's just the way it went.

I'm not about to give a run down of equipment and all the mediums you can use with encaustic work, it's too large a subject. I'm also only just beginning so my knowledge is very limited! I will put some links that have inspired me at the bottom of the post and I can also highly recommend  a book I recently received which is fast becoming my bible for this journey. It's 'Encaustic Painting Techniques - The whole ball of wax' by Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch.


However I will mention a few basic things.

  • The surface you work on has to be rigid and absorbent, so ampersand bords (stampboard), birch plywood or HDF painted with encaustic gesso are a few options. I had some 2" square dense chipboard pieces above which I also used and worked, I think because they were so small they didn't bend. 
  • Encaustic wax is beeswax with damar resin in it (a substance that gives durability to it), however beeswax will work fine and is what I've used in this post.
  • You need a heat source to keep the wax melted at about 80 -100degrees C. Anyone have a meltpot? If not you could use a pan on a griddle and put the wax in a tin on it. You also need a heatgun 
  • Brushes have to be a natural hair or they will melt, I used a hake brush, which was inexpensive.
  • Watercolours, oils, dye inks, alcohol inks, oil pastels, pan pastels can all be used but acrylics can make the wax lift...so until I become more confident I'm not going there.
  • Fusing...when you put a coat of wax on or add some oil pastel or paints you need to fuse that layer with a  heat gun, just heat till the wax goes from matte to shiny, no need to melt it all.
So were off, now as this is Stamps and Stencils, that is what I chose to use, I also used some 'scraps', dye ink pads and portfolio oil pastels. Apart from a melt pot masterclass with Hels Sheridan and a recent wax class that our DT leader Sue Carrington taught I have not made any other wax pieces so these are my first dabbles.


Wax is very forgiving, if you make a mistake just melt it off. My first piece didn't go according to plan and I was left with lines I'd scratched into the stampboard, not a problem. I said it's forgiving, wax softens sharp edges and gives a smooth sheen to everything, so even the roughest drawings and things you think are an almighty mess can turn out wonderfully with a coat or 2 of wax....honest.


 Heat the board before the first coat of wax to help it go on smoothly.


Oil pastel through a stencil, then fuse gently with a heat gun


Another coat of wax...and fuse


Portfolio oil pastel on an uneven surface, wipe away with a slightly damp cloth (oil if not water soluble pastels)


Wax left in dips...and fuse


Stamping...dry, wax layer...and fuse. A scrap of paper flower, wax layer.


Cutting in, I used a cutter to make an impression and then rubbed pastel into the crevice...like the pink board above. It can look quite cloudy at this stage but once cool a quick buff and a lovely sheen appears. So first piece done and I've explored a few ideas, not perfect but I had fun. 


Top - both are stamped with dye ink, bottom left is on chipboard and dye ink squiggles, last is stamped coloured paper and some tissue glued on and left to dry thoroughly.

Using ribbon to make an impression in the warm wax and then rub oil pastel on.

 Some stamped tissue paper circles and twine, 


Hope you can see the sheen on both of these


A piece of photocopy paper becomes translucent, some thread and red melted oil pastel


 Music paper and twine 


 The flourish can be seen behind the photocopy paper, 


the gold is mica powder, burnished on


If using metallics they need to be on the top layer or their sheen will just dissappear.


This is a larger piece which I made a right mess of when spraying dylusions through a stencil...but a layer of wax and it's softened and it's ready for whatever is coming next

Well done if you've got through that long, photo heavy post, it will be a short one from me next time!

I'll leave you with the links to  
Ruth x

32 comments:

  1. How interesting..this is something I have not seen before I can understand how addictive it can be. Your pieces are wonderful and I can see that you will be finding lots of other ideas too. Thanks so much for sharing x

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  2. These are all amazing. I have never tried this kind of artwork but it looks wonderful. Thank you for sharing the technique

    Love Chrissie xx

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  3. Wow Ruth fantastic! What a great selection of different techniques with stunning results, can't believe this is just your first try out. I now feel totally inspired to explore encaustic further (sigh). Thanks for the links also!

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  4. Absolutely fantastic Ruth ! Love all the pieces, these would make a fantastic art board ! Looks like I need to make space for some Encaustic wax ! Sue C x

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  5. These are awesome Ruth!! Love this bees wax stuff, picking some up for sure! You always come up with the most creative things to play with, such creativity!! hugs :)

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  6. Oh this is so helpful Ruth,I've only dribbled beeswax over things before,never layered it...shall try this method now ;)
    Big hugs
    Donna xxx

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  7. Such wonderful little "tiles" Ruth, all so different, and so many techniques.
    They are all beautiful, and it is exiting reading your -how to-
    Thank you
    Dorthe, xo

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  8. Such wonderful little "tiles" Ruth, all so different, and so many techniques.
    They are all beautiful, and it is exiting reading your -how to-
    Thank you
    Dorthe, xo

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  9. Wow Ruth, if this is what you can create first time out then it is a double wow - you have made such an expert job of these, I love them! My melt pot is just gathering dust, perhaps it is time to dust it off and have a try. Thanks so much for the wonderful inspiration! Anne xx

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  10. AWESOME and outstanding Ruth such pretty tiles, will you add them to a larger board and hang them up somewhere???

    I was lucky enough to take a class with the wonderful Suze Weinberg where we made large projects using beeswax and paper and beads and chipboard. We did get the opportunity to make a 2 x 2 inch canvas at the end but encaustic was never mentioned. It was all about the Melt Pot.

    One thing to mention was Suze put the beeswax in the project pan not the actual pot as it was too high a heat for the beeswax and it meant that you lost a lot of the wax when you cleaned it out so a project pan is the best way to melt beeswax. Not sure if you knew this or not, hope you don't mind me mentioning.

    I have loads of 2 inch square Stampboard pieces from a project that didn't get completed and yes i don't use it often enough lol.

    So glad you have found a new area of mixed media to play with. I found a place in Stockport that sells beeswax, it is a bookbinders paradise and i hope to visit very soon.

    Looking forward to more encaustic from you :-) xxx

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  11. I really enjoyed that Ruth, your tiles are fantastic I can see it being another addiction of mine.

    Thank you, Sharon xxx

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  12. Your first inspiration post is AMAZING, no need for eeks ;) I love your tiles, and this technique sounds like something I really want to try!! I love something new to dabble in xx

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  13. Superb Ruth! Your tiles are gorgeous and you've given us loads of really useful and inspiring information, I really want to have a go at this now ... I mean NOW !! Toni x

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  14. What a terrific tutorial, thank you Ruth - and gorgeous results too.
    Alison xx

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  15. Such a detailed tutorial and wonderful creations with the wax. Thanks for sharing.

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  16. Ruth, TFS such a wonderful tutorial with Beewax. I am so much inspired to try out now.
    All these creations are ......so artsy pretty! :)

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  17. Fabulous Ruth! Love beeswax and your tutorial may get me back to using mine as your samples are stunning! Chrisx

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  18. Great project Ruth and very useful instructions, might have to give this a go. Now I know I have loads of Stampboard hidden away somewhere Lol! Angela x

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  19. Great tutorial Ruth! Love the pieces you made and although I have all the equipment including Melt Pot & project pan I have never thought of using wax on Stampbord so thanks for lightbulb idea.

    Hugs
    Lesley Xx

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  20. Adorable mini encaustic Ruth.. such a fantastic inspirational post! Thank you!

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  21. What an absolutely stunning tutorial and small pieces of art you've made here Ruth. Love it! xx

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  22. A FABULOUS tutorial on what it is possible to do with our Encaustic stuff (I have a bit that I never use, it's a shame..) I think I really needed such gorgeous inspiration to get a start!!! So a huge thank you! Coco xx

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  23. Gorgeous projects and a wonderful tute! Ruth, please send me your email address if you would like me to feature this post on my recurring blog series.

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  24. This is fantastic especially if you are a newbie! You make it very easy to understand and have inspired me to have a go at it!!

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  25. Only just picked up on this Ruth! Exciting play possibilities...thanks! Xx

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  26. Soooo interesting. What lovely creations you have made Ruth. Thanks bunches for the great tutorial and inspiration. j.

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  27. Soooo interesting. What lovely creations you have made Ruth. Thanks bunches for the great tutorial and inspiration. j.

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  28. Fabulous project, and such wonderful results - love the push/pull effect!

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  29. Fabulous project, and such wonderful results - love the push/pull effect!

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  30. Really lovely work Ruth.. many thanks for the inspiration.. I've worked with beeswax before, and the lingering aroma is awesome!

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  31. thanks from my heart.. love all this gorgeous work... i am interested in this medium so i am glad you found basics among your own supplies because that is the relaxed budget i love to pursue and find first.. :) all the best to you in the future wax techniques:) i am supposed to be on your email list now... thanks again...

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  32. Fabulous tutorial Ruth, thanks so much! Now I have to go and give this a try, amazing and beautiful results.

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