Thursday, January 29, 2009

Technique A Week Starts tonight!!

The first technique I'm going to post about is pretty simple though it may seem a bit intimidating if you have never used it before and that is Beeswax! I use Ranger's Melt Art beeswax for my collages and it comes in ""natural" and "white" I happen to like the natural best but that is just my preference. I like it because it gives that misty, slightly light yellowish tone to the images that may be under it, it adds a bit of nostalgia! But you can try both and use which ever one you like! I also use the slabs of natural beeswax from Michael's Crafts, it's just a pain to cut or break up into small enough pieces to fit into the pot! You can also use
Suze Weinberg Melt Art "Melting Pot" but I use a small size crock pot from good old Wally World!! because I melt the whole container at once due to the size pieces I work on, the crock pot comes with a lid so when you are finished working with it you can just put the lid on and turn it off until next time.
Other items you might want to have when using encaustics is a heat gun and/or a quilting iron and some old crayons of many colors (the blue collage is using both crayons and encaustic paints to add color) crayons are used for coloring the beeswax, or just adding drips of colored wax here and there and finally an old paint brush or two (these will be dipped into the wax so make sure you don't use a good brush it will be toast when done!) ***NOTE: Make sure the substrate you are working on is very absorbent and hard like wood veneer or any type of rigid surface because the wax will eventually seep through ***
using wax as the adhesive...first lay out your collage elements and find a layout that is pleasing to you, start with the elements in the background dip your old brush into melted wax and quickly brush the back side of element with wax and lay down, repeat with all elements working from background images to foreground, if you find that you are getting bumps and clumps of wax use your heat gun or quilt iron to iron right over the waxy bumps to smooth them, you can also coat the fronts of each element with a thin coat if you like but be careful not to add to much or the image will start to "disappear" beneath the wax. The great thing about wax is that if you make a mistake or decide you hate the composition you can heat the elements of the collage and remove them!! I also keep little tin cupcake liners so that I can put some melted wax in them and then use my quilt iron to melt the tip of a colored crayon into the natural wax to make really cool colors if you do this you might need a hot plate to set the tins on to keep the small amount of wax melted. You can also use 3-D elements by puddling up the wax in a spot and setting the 3-D items in the thick puddle.
using the wax as a sealer... is just that, once you have the collage composed and finished just paint a few thin layers wax over the surface to seal you can melt crayons with the heat gun or iron to add spots of color here and there if you like.
There is also Encaustic Painting which is a little different but no more complicated, you can buy pigmented beeswax at fine art suppliers I use R&F Encaustice that I purchase from Dick Blick these wax's are resin based ....What the Damar Resin does:
Increases the melting temperature so the wax is less susceptible to heat damage;
Allows it to cure and harden over time making it more durable;
Prevents blooming (Blooming is a whitish haze that can appear on the surface of a painting. This can occur when encaustic has been exposed to extreme cold, causing unsaturated hydrocarbons in the beeswax to migrate to the surface and crystallize forming a whitish haze. The addition of resins, or waxes that contain saturated hydrocarbons help prevent this. These include damar resin or micro crystalline wax. The saturated hydrocarbons solubalize the unsaturated hydrocarbons of the beeswax and prevent the blooming that occurs from cold;
Allows the encaustic to be polished to a high gloss, giving it more depth and intensity;
Although beeswax and medium are translucent, beeswax by itself will not maintain its’ translucency, while medium (because of the presence of damar resin) will.
Here is the description from the Dick Blick site " A very spontaneous and versatile medium, encaustics can be modeled, layered, sculpted, textured, and even combined with collage materials. No drying time is required.
The fine quality and exquisite visual properties of R&F Encaustic Paints are owed to the dedicated labor process. R&F carefully mixes pigment, pure beeswax, and damar resin. Each color is heavily pigmented and carefully milled. Because no solvents are used, many health hazards associated with other art materials are eliminated.
The beeswax contained in R&F Encaustic Paints makes them impervious to moisture, and thus highly durable. Over time, your art retains all the freshness of a newly finished work.
Encaustics are applied molten with a brush and then fused into the painting with a heat source. It is best to use encaustic paints on a rigid and absorbent surface.
Work done with encaustics does not need to be varnished or protected by glass. A mild buffing with a soft cloth will bring the surface to a beautiful luster. "
Purist or traditional encaustic painters dip the brush into the medium and actually paint on layers just as if they were using acrylics or oils.
Notes of caution: Work in an organised manner without electrical cables trailing underfoot.
Set up in such a way that you do not need to lean over hot tools or equipment.
Most skin burns that I ever received were by reaching over something hot and making skin contact by mistake - a bit akin to reaching into a kitchen oven carelessly.
Don't add or drop ingredients from any great height, gently introduce new materials into any mixtures being made.
Read hazard and caution label advice on all compounds, pigments, waxes etc that you use. Your source of purchase will be required to furnish you with this, in some places by law, in others perhaps by request.
Think twice, do once.
Hot wax in deep molds ca still be molten within, even though the surface looks set. Congealed wax skins can burst if a mold is prematurely handled in a rough or inappropriate manner (like turned upside down for instance!)
If you are using a hammer or mallet to crush material do it in a safe way on a totally solid surface and with adequate protection against shattering crystal shards and resultant dust.
Masks are useful when dealing with any powders.
Hot vessels are hot, so padding or oven gloves are needed to touch these items during any moving or pouring operations.
Use "common sense" Don't eat or lick it (as if -right?!)

1 comment:

  1. What a great idea ~ a technique a week & the results that you have posted are marvelous! I have done some art with beeswax but since moving to a new house have not ventured there yet ~ I do where my supplies are & that is an amazing thing ~LOL ~ Glad to see you a posting ~ think I will begin to do that also ~ I have been putting all my art work in the Smilebox & have not done my writing because I have been holding a place for OWOH ~ Great creativity you are doing ~ Hugs and namaste, Carol ~ artmusedog ~