Mixed Media: Trapped

Encaustic mixed media art caged hands

This mixed media piece was made to go with my other mixed media piece, “Caged“. They are meant to hang next to each other, and reference the upper and lower parts of a whole body. While they create one body, by hanging them next to each other it appears as though the body is split. Although they were conceived as one piece, I consider them to be separate.

I really love how both of these pieces turned out, and it has inspired plans for a whole new series of artwork similar to these. My only reservation is the fact that so many people refer to them as dark, depressing, even creepy. I received one comment that it didn’t seem to fit me, because I appear to be a happy person, and it seemed like I was creating dark artwork because I some how thought to be taken seriously I had to create something dark. I was slightly offended by this at first, of course I am not creating artwork to try to fit in to whatever “art” is supposed to be. However, I do see their point, it is a little off for my personality.

To explain it to the best of my ability I would have to say that in my work I represent a piece of myself, but at the same time I feel like I am projecting other people, my observations and impressions of them. This piece represents a person who is in a sense trapped. They are stuck in their bubble, their small town, where they go to school, maybe college, and never leave. It can be so easy to fall into that pattern, but I think it’s important to leave, at least for a little while, and see what else the world has to offer. You need to learn about other people, different types of people, places, and things. This painting shows a person stuck in a small cage, with all of these interesting things right outside, just waiting to be discovered, and as time goes by, slowly fading away.

I created the mixed media painting, “Trapped”, the same way I created “Caged”. I used oil paint, modeling impasto wax, image transfers, and fabric. The base is made from plywood, built to imitate the look of a canvas. If you decide to use encaustic, or wax, in a work of art make sure you use a solid base, if it flexes it will cause the wax to crack.

I start by drawing out the image. I then heat the modeling impasto in a pan on a griddle. I then drip the hot wax on the panel, where I want wax to be. If the wax runs into areas I only want paint, I use a credit card to scrape it off. I then use a heat gun to re-melt and spread out the wax to an even layer. Once I have a good layer of wax I paint on top with oil paint, then use the heat gun to fuse the paint and wax. I alternate layers of wax and paint until I am happy with the look. In traditional encaustic the wax is dyed with pigment, then layered and fused.

Once I complete the background I added the cage and legs with oil paint. I typically use linseed oil and glazing mediums in my paint to thin it out and add a sheen to it. I then added the image transfers by placing laser printed images upside down on recently fused wax, burnishing the back with scissor handles, then rubbing the paper off using a damp sponge and my fingers. I then heated the wax around it to fuse it. The fabric was the last step, and I used a hot glue gun to attach it. To read more about the process visit the post about the mixed media “Caged” painting.

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One response to “Mixed Media: Trapped”

  1. Thank you for the link and wonderful comments! I plan on continuing to create pieces similar to this, and your kind words have inspired me to get started sooner rather than later! I enjoyed visiting your site and will definitely be back!

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