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A New Process

I again find myself fascinated by an artistic process I know nothing about. Encaustic Art, an ancient technique using melted wax and oil tints. I’ve seen a few projects and thought they were beautiful. So of course me being me, I set out to play with a technique I have no idea how to do. Did I get a book? Yes. Did I read it? Sort of. I read enough to get a general idea, and to learn that they are some health and safety regulations. A little more about me. I am beyond klutzy, a good friend who sells insurance suggested I get insured, not life or health, but accident. I have already revealed the accidental slit wrist, the six knee surgeries, etc…but it goes well beyond that. I think I have an oven burn to commemorate every holiday dinner I have prepared. As for inhaling fumes, my daughter once told me that the smell of polyurethane reminds her of home. Never bothering with a mask, or to work outdoors (although in all fairness to me, Chicago in the winter? You work inside if at all possible). I now have chemical allergies. All in the name of art. I’d like to think at this age I’ve learned to behave. That of course means I went ahead and worked with some wax. I didn’t have all the materials mentioned in the book, but I did have a box of tiny candles that I bought for a dollar several years ago. Trial and error is my mantra. Officially known as “Art by the seat of my pants”. When you’ve never had lessons, it’s a way of life. I melted wax and poured it over a black and white print of one of my photos. Error number one, it needs some reinforcement  under it or it will curl under the weight of the wax. Back to the drawing board. Also changed my mind about the photo. I originally was using photo of an angel from a gravestone. I switched to one of my cloud photos from a few days ago. This time I mounted the photo which was printed on matte paper, to a piece of black foam core board. I have altered the color of the photo slightly, intensifying the hue. I then added just a hint of yellow ochre oil paint to the melted wax. I poured it over the photo. I loved the effect, a cloudy, dreamy feeling. I went back with white oil and added highlights to a few areas, rubbing them in with my fingers. I was very happy with the result. Then as I looked at the finished piece I thought it needed words to go with it. Dan had been looking over my shoulder and really liked where it was going, so I decided to dedicate it to him. I found a quote about love and time, it just seemed to fit with the photo. I will definitely be experimenting more with this technique, and I might actually even read the book!9 2The quote translates to: “Love is the emblem of eternity; it confounds all notion of time: effaces all memory of a beginning, all fear of an end.

Madame de Stael

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