Tag: modeling impasto

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.


Mixed Media: Trapped

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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