Encaustic painting is an ancient technique using a layering of beeswax mixed with damar resin and oil pigments fused together with a flame or heat source. The word “encaustic” is from the Greek meaning “to burn in” and refers to the process of fusing the paint. This ancient technique has recently experienced a resurgence in popularity.
I paint in thin layers of molten beeswax with oil pigment onto a wooden substrate, fusing between each layer with a blowtorch. Often, I carve into the hardened wax or create texture and use oil pigment sticks as I work. Graphite, charcoal, pastel, dry pigments, and ink are sometimes used in my encaustic process and I also fuse bits of ephemera between the layers. I love the luminosity and depth that are intrinsic to this medium.
The process for cold wax and oil work also involves building up many thin layers of oil paint mixed with cold wax medium on a wooden substrate. However, that mixture differs greatly from the molten beeswax of encaustic and does not require the use of heat. Building up layers, then incising, scraping and dissolving away portions leave me with a textural surface, a subtlety of color and a depth that greatly appeal to me.
My mixed media collage pieces incorporate snippets of text or covers from old books, treasured correspondence, documents or ledgers from an earlier century, pieces of vintage wallpaper or sheet music, as well as more recent papers and items that might otherwise be discarded. I frequently use ink, graphite, charcoal, and pastel in my collage. The layers in my mixed-media collages share a common thread with the layers that are found in both my encaustic and cold wax and oil work.