Thanks to guest writer Mesha Koczian for today’s post
Encaustic art is painting or sculpting with heated wax. Encaustic painting uses using wax mixed with pigments as paint. Kimberly Kent is an encaustic painter; she has 15 years experience and decided to demonstrate her skills by painting a cherry blossom scene using a technique called monotype. Monotype is performed by painting on a hot aluminum surface and placing rice paper on top to absorb the pigment. The paper is peeled off to create the first “print” or monotype, then paint can be added or reworked again on the heated surface. Kimberly did this 4 times until the image transferred to the paper was what she called a “ghost,” or what’s left of the pigment on the surface.
Kimberly wanted a look of layered colors so after she made a number of monotypes, she began painting on a wooden panel to which she would later add one of her monotypes. Her panel was primed with R&F encaustic gesso, a primer especially made for encaustic paint because it is absorbent and textured enough to “grab” onto the wax. Kimberly used R&F paint blocks and watercolor crayons for the painting and PanPastels for the background color on her gessoed board. After the PanPastels (powdered pastels in a cake form) were put down, she coated the board in wax by pouring it. If she had brushed the wax on, the brush would have smeared the pastels. She prefers to do an underpainting using watercolors, but the painting would have to sit out overnight to be able to set well with the wax. A heat gun or torch is used to smooth the first layer of wax, but if too much heat is applied, the gesso could blister. An iron can be used to smooth out the wax without blistering the gesso. Kimberly placed the monotype on the surface in the desired position and used a heat gun to fuse the wax in the paper to the wax on the board. A torch or iron cannot be used here because they would burn the paper or smear and rip it. Additional layers of wax and pigments are added to blend the paper into the background, creating a lovely scene of spring.
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