In the summer I purchased a book by mixed media artist and author Kelly Rae Roberts, from her Etsy Shop. The book is called ‘Taking Flight (Inspiration and Techniques to Give Your Creative Spirit Wings)’. In it are several mixed media techniques. One of these is encaustic painting. I remember being fascinated by this medium and knew it was something I wanted to learn more about and even try out for myself. Well, dear reader, life got in the way and it wasn’t until quite recently I was looking to purchase another pack of goddess oracle cards and the online shop I saw them in also sold encaustic art sets with DVD and painting iron , so of course I purchased one for myself. It arrived this week.
By coincidence – this week I also came across the blog of Pat O’Neill:
Here, you are invited to join Pat in her journey of discovery of encaustic art, the magic of painting with wax!
Pat who is a quilter is also an artist who has dabbled in various art forms… drawing, water colours, acrylics but could never feel comfortable at all. Until, she says ” I came across the word encaustic and my curiousity got the better of me! Not having a clue what it was I decided to explore and hence began my exciting journey into encaustics. Now, there is no stopping me as I teach myself the different techniques and evolve my very own style of painting.The medium allows the imagination to flow unhindered. When I start a painting I never really know what direction I will be following. Sometimes, totally abstract and sometimes something more conventional. My favourite subject has always been water, from being a Pisces maybe? Certainly, many of my paintings involve underground lakes, the sea and caves. Some will be mysterious, some dynamic or even peaceful but always exciting”.
Pat is so passionate about this media, she has written a book!
Here are 2 of Pat’s creations. The one above is of an ACEO – Fantasy Bird of Paradise flower and below is – Red Flower (you can read about how Pat ‘gave birth’ to this particular work of art on her blog). More of Pat’s work can be seen at:
She sells her artwork at:
Encaustic art defined by Wikopaedia:
Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. The liquid/paste is then applied to a surface — usually prepared wood, though canvas and other materials are often used.
The simplest encaustic mixture can be made from adding pigments to beeswax, but there are several other recipes that can be used — some containing other types of waxes, damar resin, linseed oil, or other ingredients. Pure, powdered pigments can be purchased and used, though some mixtures use oil paints or other forms of pigment.
Metal tools and special brushes can be used to shape the paint before it cools, or heated metal tools can be used to manipulate the wax once it has cooled onto the surface. Today, tools such as heat lamps, heat guns, and other methods of applying heat allow artists to extend the amount of time they have to work with the material. Because wax is used as the pigment binder, encaustics can be sculpted as well as painted. Other materials can be encased or collaged into the surface, or layered, using the encaustic medium to adhere it to the surface.
This technique was notably used in the Fayum mummy portraits from Egypt around 100-300 CE, in the Blachernitissa and other early icons, as well as in many works of 20th-century American artists, including Jasper Johns. Kut-kut, a lost art of the Philippines implements sgraffito and encaustic techniques. It was practiced by the indigenous tribe of Samar island around 1600 to 1800.
Encaustic art has seen a resurgence in popularity since the 1990s with people using electric irons, hotplates and heated stylus on a variety of different surfaces including card, paper and even pottery. The iron makes producing a variety of artistic patterns elementary. However, the medium is not limited to just abstract designs, it can be used to create complex paintings, just as other media such as oil and acrylic.