Beyond the Basics
A photography student showed up on the second day of an encaustic workshop with a huge smile on her face. After learning the basics on Day One, she had gone into a local art supply store that evening and roamed the aisles. “For the first time,” she said with a grin, “I felt like I belonged there.” I knew exactly what she meant. As photographers, we share a history of chemistry, foul concoctions and magical toners but rarely do we get the chance to enjoy a stroll through the paint aisle, having our imaginations tickled by the colors and smells of classic art supplies.
In the photo technique article “Photo Encaustic: Part I− The Basics & Beauty of Beeswax,” I gave step-by-step instructions on how to print a photograph, attach it to a board and apply a coating of encaustic medium (a blend of beeswax and damar resin). Next, we gave the photograph an artistic dash of texture and darkening using pigment sticks to create an atmospheric vignette, gracing the corners with distinctive shadows. We covered the critical rule of encaustic−to heat fuse each layer and to use materials that accept wax and are porous. “Photo Encaustic: Part II” takes a plunge into the altered world of mixed media and encaustic painting−a creative place where photographers can romp and play with abandon.
Adding Color with Masks and Stencils
Color is added to an encaustic piece in two ways. Pigment sticks are crayon-like mixtures of pigment, wax and oil that can be rubbed directly on a wax surface and blended with linseed oil. This strong color is added on the final layer of the encaustic piece and left to air dry (some pigments have a dry time of weeks or months).