Hot stuff


Painting with hot wax (Encaustic Painting) is not always without risk, burn blisters became part of my life since I started experimenting with encaustics. I realised how important it is to KNOW the composition of the art materials that you are using and to know HOW to work safely. In Joanne Mattera’s book I read very useful tips and on the internet I found an Art Safety Training Guide from Princeton that I like to share with you.  (see below)

My yesterday’s experiment:

(again I started off from a hardened fabric shape on which I applied pigmented hot wax)

All there is to know about (contemporary) encaustics you can find in the following book (available via Amazon)

The ARt of Encaustic Painting

The Art of Encaustic Painting
Contemporary Expression in the Ancient Medium of Pigmented Wax 

Author: Joanne Mattera

From the book’s introduction, “The Apian Way”: 

“When I interviewed Jasper Johns in 1986, he remarked rightly of encaustic, “It’s an archaic medium, and few people use it.” Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, he was virtually its sole practitioner, and at the time we spoke, just a handful of artists had gone beyond experimenting to create a serious body of encaustic work. Yet now, a decade and a half later, thousands of artists — impelled by the zeitgeist, the luminosity, or perhaps simply by the recent availability of good tools and materials — are exploring the possibilities of expression in pigmented wax. What a sweet irony it is that at the beginning of a new millennium, when cyber images are generated at the speed of light as pixels on a screen, a laborious medium that flourished over 2000 years ago should once again become a hot commodity.

For more information about this artist:  www.joannemattera.com

The Princeton Training Guide at http://web.princeton.edu/sites/ehs/artsafety/index.htm provides basic information for working safely with chemicals and operations in Visual Arts.

 

Organic encaustics


Apart from sketching daily I also keep working at my encaustic project. I call it ‘organic’ because I’m using mainly natural materials such as cotton, beeswax, pigments, parts of plants, seeds, beans, chickpeas… etc

For this work  I first made a base from hardened cotton:

Then I waxed it, adding colour pigments. To see appear the textures is very exciting, difficult to control but that’s what I like about it . It still needs a ‘finishing touch’ but I leave it to dry & harden for a while now.. :

 

 

Why can’t we just BEE?


They promote it for bikini waxing but I prefer to use natural beeswax to paint. Recently I also did some experiments with putting wax on a clay sculpture (clay is porous and adheres well to the wax). It took me to further exploration of all kinds of materials, including the leafs of our Magnolia tree. Some experiments (like plastic) did not survive but that doesn’t mean it was valuable to try and see how strong or fragile different materials are.

The beekeeper where I get my wax, gave me a hive which is so fascinating to look at and to realise it has been created by bees.

Masterpiece by anonymous bees, 2011

 

 

Fungi, wax on clay, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wax on magnolia leafs 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sisyphus, Clay/Wax/Magnolia leaf, 2011