More still life in encaustic. This time I added translucent handmade paper between layers of wax. The painting was basically finished when I added the paper. But what I found that the paper had soften the colors a bit too much. So I went back in and added more colors.
I’m finding that working with encaustic with realistic subjects gives an abstract quality. The texture is there and abstracted background is there. I just love how it comes across.
I took this workshop back in February. Taught by Francisco Benitez, he introduced us to the history of encaustics painting. Encaustic painting were first discovered among the Egyptians and Greeks artists. Egyptians used encaustics for their Fayum portrait paintings for tombs and Greeks for their paintings on ships.
In this workshop, Benitz introduced encaustic portrait painting. We worked from a live model. First did a quick sketch to determine composition, and shadows/light patterns then we laid in a pencil outline of the model on a canvas panel.
The colors are heated; we used the 4 colors that the ancient Greeks and Egyptians used – white, black, red and yellow ochre. Sound familiar? Zorn! Two piles are created – reddish tone for shadows and the yellowish tone for lights.
The wax color is either painted on with the heated blow gun keeping it melted enough to spread. Or the color is brushed on and then heated with the blow gun to fused the wax color to the bottom layer. A heated tool is provided for detail. Bristle brushes are used instead of synthetic so they do not melt.
Photo references in my FB fanpage shows how Benitz worked when painting his portraits.
After taking a workshop in encaustics, I decided to try it out myself. I just love the translucent quality and the hint of layers that can be achieved. So I bought a hot plate from the Goodwill Store, purchased 3 colors of encaustic paints and the wax at University Arts. Bristle brushes I got cheaply at a hardware store. And used an iron I had for ages. Not too bad a set up. I might even had painted the canvas paper first with oils. But I had heard that it’s not best to combine oils and hot wax because of the toxicity.
I love the look. But the smell was not pleasant. And it was in the dead of winter when I did these. So when summer comes around…maybe, more.