Tag Archives: encaustic

“Serendipity 2,” Janet Amundson-Splidsboel

Janet Amundson-Splidsboel brought a beautiful encaustic painting to Muse Art and Design today.  Janet is one of the three artists whose work will be featured in the “An Artist A Day” exhibit and auction along with the work by 30 artists working each day at Muse.  Janet also shared the  information below about her work as an artist and specifically the creation of this piece, entitled “Serendipity 2.”  Thanks to Janet for contributing this piece to the event and for the informative explanation about her process! . . . .

Janet works in various mediums:  Oil, pastel, watermedia, and encaustic.  She paints some landscapes but focuses on painting figurative and stylized portraits.  Most of her paintings are based on drawings done in live model groups and usually her subjects are women.

Janet’s encaustic technique uses the standard beeswax and damar resin formula.  She mixes her own colors by adding dry pigments and sometimes oil paints to the molten beeswax recipe.  This painting is on a birch panel and was begun with several layers of beeswax fused onto the panel.  All of the fusing was done using a propane torch.  The drawing was lightly sketched onto the wax with a crayon.  Some of the important defining lines were then established by carving lines into the wax with a tool and then filling those lines with pigmented wax,  and scraping off extra wax until only the incised line was filled.  From that point on it was a process of painting on various colors of molten wax with various sizes of brushes, fusing, scraping, and adding many layers of clear and slightly tinted beeswax in between layers of more opaque colors.  A small fan is used to cool the layers more quickly as the work progresses.

Janet’s technique does not incorporate collage or photocopy.  Sometimes viewers think her paintings are oil paintings covered with a coat of wax but that is not the case.  The painting is done entirely with layers of molten wax, (there is a touch of gold leaf on the bird’s wing), and each addition of wax is fused to the previous layer with a propane torch. A heat gun is sometimes used for fusing, but this painting was done entirely using the propane torch.

Tuesday, 4/13/10: Linda Womack

Today our guest was encaustic artist, author, and teacher, Linda Womack.  Linda uses a variety of fascinating techniques in her multi-layered art and can effortlessly communicate about everything she is doing while she works.   Her skills as an artist and as a teacher always draw a crowd of people who are curious about the art of painting with beeswax.  Those who came to watch Linda work were treated to a full-afternoon demonstration packed with information.

Before she arrived today, Linda had prepared her wooden panel with a thick layer of joint compound which she had inscribed into and tinted with inks and watercolors.  She explained that the many layers of encaustic painting are difficult to build up in one afternoon, so the joint compound gave her a head start of color and texture that is also absorbent enough and tough enough to serve as a good foundation to hold the wax.

As she built up layers of colored wax paint and clear wax medium, Linda included some drawings in her layers that she had made using tissue paper and walnut ink.  The tissue paper disappeared into the wax, leaving the lines and colors of her drawings to blend into the layers.

In addition to adding colors with encaustic paint made of beeswax, damar resin, and pigment, Linda used india ink to heighten the contrast in certain parts of her painting.  Although water-based ink will not cover the wax solidly and evenly, the ink works almost as a stain when allowed to dry a bit and rubbed into the wax.

Linda’s finished piece is full of texture and translucent depth, qualities that really show off the unique properties of encaustic painting.

Tuesday, April 28: Kimberly Kent

To start today’s encaustic painting, Kimberly had already prepared her panel with a watercolor monoprint, made by pressing a single print onto paper after painting with watercolor on plexiglass.  The monoprint served as the underpainting for layers of translucent encaustic paints.
Encaustic paints consist of beeswax, tree resin, and pigment.  They are applied in a melted form, and cooled layers must be reheated for each new layer to adhere to the last. Kimberly used a wide brush to apply multiple layers of clear encaustic medium (wax and resin with no pigment) over her print.  She used a heat gun and a torch to fuse each layer together.
Over the clear layers, Kimberly painted with encaustic paints to add color and details.  She used a variety of tools and brushes, depending on the size of the area she was covering and the size of the details.  In one area, the trees at the right side of the painting, she incised lines for branches and trunks, then applied a coat of colored wax, then scraped back much of the wax to leave the color in the low spots and incised lines.  She also rubbed oil paint onto the surface and wiped off the excess so that the color stayed in the small grooves and indentations.
After working with details in some areas and broader areas of color in some areas, Kimberly had built layers over her whole piece to create a richly colored Mount Hood landscape with foothills and reflections in water.

Tuesday, April 7: Linda Womack

Linda’s medium is encaustic painting, an ancient technique that is experiencing a big resurgence.  All paints contain pigment and some type of substance that holds the pigment together:  oil paints use linseed or walnut oil, acrylic paints use acrylic polymer, and encaustics use beeswax (along with some resin to make the wax more durable).
Linda has written a great book about encaustic painting and teaches many workshops.  Those who were lucky enough to come by and watch her work were treated to a free ongoing lecture-demonstration about the techniques and materials of encaustic painting!
For today’s piece, Linda collaborated with Marcy Baker, who had created a monoprint that Linda used as a first layer of her painting.  After adhering Marcy’s work to a panel, Linda built up layers of encaustic paint to add color, details, and texture.  Encaustics are a very versatile medium, allowing collage elements, scratching/scraping/carving, adding color, removing color, and application with a variety of tools.  The transparency of the wax is ideal for layered effects and visual depth.
Linda brought a whole arsenal of specialized tools, including a griddle to use as a hot palette, a torch to melt and fuse layers, and a variety of instruments to incise lines, scrape in textures, and carve away wax.
Even while providing continuous educational commentary as she worked, Linda was able to complete her piece in an afternoon.  The final picture captures the color and composition, but it’s another one that you need to see in person to really appreciate the depth and layering.

Additional note:  Remember that you can find more information about all our artists, links to their website, and more pictures of their work through the Artist Schedule on AnArtistADay.com.  Click on the “return to AnArtistADay.com” link on the right side of this page.