Tag: encaustic wax

Encaustic Art: A 36″x60″ Commission

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I created this 12″x24″ boat encaustic a few years back. It was one of the first that I tried carving into the layers of melted and hardened wax to pull out an image. I loved how the boat blended into the background yet popped against the colored wax painted around it. This piece has traveled with me to many art shows and is my most favorited piece on my Etsy shop.

In the spring I was contacted through Etsy by a woman interested in the piece. We went back and forth on price negotiations, and I thought the day had come for me to part with my little boat. I was very surprised when Amber wrote me again requesting quotes for a larger version of the piece. I was intrigued by the prospect, I always love a challenge, and it would be interesting to see how it would translate on a larger scale. I sent back a range of prices and sizes, with the largest size at 36″x60.” When setting up commissions I always assume the buyer will fall somewhere in the middle, so I was surprised when Amber jumped on the 36″x60″ size. I was thrilled at first, then slightly scared. Encaustic can be a difficult medium to work with, especially on a large scale, and this was by far the largest size I had ever tackled. But once the wood panel arrived, I was ready to go.

Layer 1

I started with a bare wood panel. When working with encaustic you must work on a rigid surface, such as wood, to prevent the wax from flexing and inevitably cracking. The first step was to coat the entire panel in layers of blue wax and fuse the layers by heating it up with a heat gun.

Layer 2

Once the panel had a good base layer I covered up the blue with thin, art paper. While it is shocking see all the beautiful blue covered up, once I add and fuse another layer of wax the paper ends up being absorbed into the wax and showing a lot of the layer below.

Layer 3

After the paper was attached I added a thick coat of encaustic medium, a clear wax. This was by far the most challenging step of the process. With every new layer I painted on, I had to fuse it with the layers beneath, while making sure air bubbles were smoothed out. The difficult part of working so large is the wax hardens fairly quickly. I would heat one section, move to another, and before I could get the two sections to blend together one would already be hard. It took many layers and a lot of fusing in order to get a solid, smooth layer.

After the encaustic medium was added I loosely painted natural white wax on top and fused it to create a smokey, hazy layer.

Layer 4

While it was still difficult to get a smooth, even look, it was much easier to work with the white since I had well fused and smooth layers beneath.

Layer 4 detail

Once I was satisfied with the general look of the background I carved the boat shape into the layers of wax using a pointy tool that I scavenged from by hub’s tool box. I lightly marked out the shape before carving in the final lines. If I messed up it meant melting and re-smoothing the entire piece. I then pushed Payne’s Gray oil paint into the lines to make them pop.

Boat Progression

Once the white wax was melted into the piece I painted a repeating diamond pattern in the background using oil paint. It added another interesting layer and helped tie the layers together in the background.

After adding the diamond pattern I added the layers of blue to create the water beneath the boat and the layers of white and yellow to create the sky. I loved how immediately the boat popped. At this point Amber and I were e-mailing daily, hourly, as I worked on the final touches. I would send images, she would send feedback, and the piece was tweaked. While it is important for my vision to come across I think it’s just as important for the commissioner’s vision to also be represented. I love working with my clients to get their work of art just right.

Layer 7

I was so happy with the final product and felt incredibly accomplished to have finished such a large piece.

Finished Product

I loved both the similarities and differences between the mini and the macro versions of my boat. It was fun comparing them before the commissioned piece was packed up and shipped out.

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I was terrified as I packed it in many layers of foam and bubble wrap to be shipped from my little Atlanta, GA bungalow to the other corner of the United States, Seattle, WA. I eagerly awaited Amber’s reply when she received the piece. It is a very different experience seeing an encaustic in person. The layered look isn’t done justice through pictures, and I could only hoped she liked it in person as much as she did through the many photographs she had seen.

Encaustic Reveal

Amber was sweet enough to not only let me know when she received the piece, but she also photographed the process of she and her kids opening it up. I felt like I was there during the big reveal.

Hanging on the Wall

In addition to commissioning an almost 3x larger version of the original, Amber ended up also buying the original to give as a gift to a friend. I love that both my boats live near each other on the pacific coast.

I loved every minute of working with Amber and creating this work of art. She gave me the opportunity to put my encaustic abilities to the test, work larger than I ever had before, and see how one of my smaller pieces would translate to a large size. I hope for many more opportunities like this in the future.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Help me spread the work about all things art, encaustic, and made in the south by sharing on your social network site of choice. I would love to hear your comments about this piece and encaustics in general! Comment below or e-mail me at [email protected]

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Encaustic Art: Exploring Mixed Media and Carving Wax

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For the past three years I have dabbled in the world of encaustic art. I began incorporating it into sections of my mixed media paintings, and slowly it became my primary medium. I have learned so much in the last three years, how to achieve smooth surfaces, how to manipulate the layers, and most recently, how to incorporate carving into my designs.

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As I began working with encaustic, I primarily focused on black and white paintings of singular objects on top of collaged layers and encaustic medium. A water tower from my years living in Athens, ginkgo leaves from the tree at my Atlanta home, and images of chickens, among many other things, began finding their way into my works of art. I realized each of these objects represented a different piece of my past and present. They were self-portraits through objects, small snippets of the memories that make me up.

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As I began exploring the concept of self-portraits and representing memories further, I realized specific objects would immediately come to mind as I reminisced on certain events and moments in my past. Likewise, when I saw certain objects, memories would begin flooding back. These fleeting images in my mind became the basis for my newest works of art, objects carved out of colored wax, revealing the collaged layers in the background.

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The lines and shapes of the objects are mimicked in the background, making them feel like one. The carving out of the objects, creating a negative space, represents the fleeting images that come to mind as memories are processed. I want the objects to almost feel temporary as the viewer looks at them.

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Perhaps my favorite part of my recent artistic journey, is hearing how my images have also brought memories back to the viewers who see them. As they take in the lines, shapes, and colors, they tell me how their grandfather used to have a camera like that, or how they used to live on a farm. Their stories intertwine with my own, and continue to inspire these encaustic works of art.

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Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Help me spread the word about my art by sharing with others. Link over to your social networking site of choice! Thanks for stopping by.

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Craft Fair: 16th Annual Wesleyan Artist Market

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It’s the week I have been preparing for, for the last few months, it is Artist Market week!

I’m so lucky to work at a school that offers opportunities to promote my artwork, like the Wesleyan Artist Market. Last year I felt very accomplished as I packed up my booth, a good 30 pieces shy of what I came in with. I hope to be just as successful as I was last year, and since then I have added a lot to my inventory.

Here is a sneak peak of what I will be offering this year. Prices range from $5.00-$750.oo, offering a lot of options for all size and depths of wallets. With Mother’s Day rapidly approaching, and Father’s Day in the not too distant future, this market is a great opportunity to pick up gifts and plan ahead. Support local and handmade and come visit!

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Last year my biggest seller were my encaustic letter paintings. A collage of pattern paper, a layer of encaustic wax, and an oil painted letter come together to create these personalized works of art. Unfortunately, due to time constraints I was limited on how many letters I was able to bring in. On the first night all my vowels sold, which meant I could no longer display cleverly spelled out words.

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This year I started letter painting in advanced, and have the entire alphabet created. In addition, I have also scanned every single letter I made, and had high quality prints made. The prints are the same size as the original, 6″x6″, and are matted in either 8″x10″ or 8″x8″. I hope these prints will help meet the demand for the letters. The $10.00 price per letter will also allow people to more easily buy a few, spell out words, or hang an initial for each member of their family. These prints will also make an appearance on my Etsy shop soon!

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In addition to the re-appearance of my letter paintings, I also have my 6″x6″ silhouette paintings, at $35.00 each. These were my second biggest sellers, and I hope the range of images I have picked will appeal to the crowd once again. I love to focus on old and vintage in these pieces. The encaustic wax inherently creates a hazy, dreamlike surface to my paintings, and the vintage items pair well with the wax.

Antique Photo Collages

A new item I am offering this year are my re-purposed antique photographs. While at an estate sale I discovered an entire table full of 1920’s photographs. Something about the antique cars and stiff looking portraits appealed to me, and I decided to use them as part of a new encaustic series.

To create these pieces I layer paper, the photograph, and add a thick layer of wax on top. The hazy wax blends the layers of photographs and paper together, creating a cohesive look. In the future I envision the original photographs hanging next to silhouette transfers of the originals, with bright colors popping behind them. It will be a comparison of old and new, breathing new life into old photos. Be on the look out for these in the future!

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I will also have larger encaustic paintings, a few from last year and a few new ones. The new encaustic pieces I am working on focus on sketching. Lines are carved into the wax, and filled with oil paint. These range in subject matter from chickens to chairs, and range in price from $250.00 to $450.00.

Birch Tree Encaustics

In addition to my sketch encaustics I also have antique silverware paintings, ginkgo leaf collages, and lots of birch trees!

Fused Glass

Like last year I will once again put out a handful of my fused glass pieces. I have my traditional geometric style as well as my new pieces, which incorporate my new obsession, glass paint. I have nest and birch tree themed plates and bowls using the paint to add the details. Whatever doesn’t sell this weekend will make its way to my Etsy shop, Sweet Celadon.

I hope to see a nice crowd this weekend, I hope you stop by! Thanks for checking out my blog, help me spread the word by sharing with others! Check out the line up of entertainment and food trucks at the Artist Market here.

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February Giveaway: Customizable Letter Painting

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I am excited to announce my second giveaway, one of my very own customizable, handmade letter paintings.

These are my most recent art experiments, and listing on my Etsy shop. These 6″x6″ canvases are covered with patterned paper, then sealed with encaustic wax. To top off the interesting background I paint letters using oil paint. These little paintings are the perfect way to decorate a blank wall,  sit on a shelf or mantle. or pair with another work of art!

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These mini works of art are easy to make and only require a handful of materials. It’s a good afternoon project and way to decorate your home! If you love them, but don’t want to make your own, buy one of mine or enter to win one below!

SUPPLIES:

  • 6″x6″ wood panel (or any size wood panel, I prefer the small square, 1 1/2 inches deep)
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Hot glue gun
  • Encaustic medium
  • Hot plate (with temperature gauge)
  • Glass or metal dishes (to melt the wax in on the heat plate)
  • Heat gun
  • Oil paint
  • Paint brush
  • Mineral spirits

HOW TO:

Step one… Cut or rip your scrapbook paper into strips and glue it onto the wood pane using a hot glue gunl. I typically rip the paper because I like the rough edge it creates

Step two… Place the encaustic medium in a glass or metal container on top of the hot plate. Do not allow the wax to heat beyond 200 degrees, if it reaches temperatures beyond this it can release toxic fumes. Make sure you are in a well ventilated area!

Step three… pour the melted wax on the panel, or paint it on with a paint brush. If you use a paint brush keep in mind the wax will ruin it, I have a few brushes I use exclusively for encaustic.

Step four… Use the heat gun to evenly spread the wax, and make it thin enough to be able to see the paper beneath it.

Step five… Paint your letter, number, or symbol using oil paint! You can purchase cardboard cut outs of lettersto trace around at places such as Hobby Lobby.

Step six… Hang on your wall and enjoy!

Hang a letter to reflect each member of your family, or add ampersands, plus signs, and hearts to his and hers letters. These letter paintings are so much fun to make, and are made with a lot of love a little bit of glue. I currently have them listed at my shop for $15.oo per letter.

For my February giveaway I am offering one of my letter paintings. The winner gets to choose the background color and letter, or symbol, of their choice. The customized painting will be shipped to your doorstep free of charge!

In order to participate all you have to do is comment on this post! Next Sunday the winner will be selected at random using the And the Winner Is plugin.

I wish each one of you good luck, I look forward to choosing the winner in one short week! Thanks for participating in my giveaway and supporting my blog!

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Mixed Media Art: Phone Lines and Birch Trees

This is my most recent mixed media painting. I was commissioned to create something with blues, greens, and yellows, but other than that it was up to me. At first I was stumped. Whenever I take a break from painting sometimes it takes a minute to get my creative juices flowing. However, even in my most stumped states I generally have a rough concept… but even that was lacking in this painting.

After putting it off for awhile I decided I needed to get started. I went to the store and picked up a variety of things I could incorporate into whatever I decided to create. I chose fabric that included the colors I wanted to use, went home, and got to it. I slowly made my way to this composition, the girl on the right, and the trees on the left. Slowly, but surely, everything began to work itself out.

I am very happy with the end result. I was nervous going into it because I didn’t have the idea completely worked out. However, I think that is part of the success. I was able to be loose, experiment, and in my opinion the result was very successful. Often times people go into a work of art with a specific concept in mind, and that is often their downfall. If the end result doesn’t match what is in their head they may consider it a failure. I hope my future paintings work themselves out as well as this one did, I enjoyed the creative process much without the preconceived concept.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I started by loosely drawing everything out with pencil and followed by painting in the background. I  wanted it to be dark behind the trees, so I used Paynes Grey, Pthalo Blue. and Pthalo Green. I faded these colors into a more turquoise blue and Naples Yellow. After I had the background color I began building up texture on the trees using melted modeling impasto. I layered paint and wax, and used a heat gun to melt it in-between layers. I ended with a final layer of oil paint on top. To read more about using encaustic click here.

 

Once I had my trees worked out I began working on the girl. At this point I already had a base color for her skin, and I began adding details. Once I completed the girl, and allowed it to dry, I began constructing her dress. I cut out the flower pattern from one fabric, and layered it with a neutral color fabric. I used a hot glue gun to attach the fabric to the wood board. Once I had the girl complete I added the wire and the bird silhouettes. Last but not least I used a transparent encaustic wax, painted a layer on the top and bottom of the wood canvas, and used a heat gun to melt it. I turned the canvas upside down to make the bottom portion look like it was dripping up.