What is Encaustic?

As I've let everyone know--I will be showing my Encaustic paintings at Twins & Friends tomorrow night. What is encaustic anyway? Encaustic means "with fire." 

my encaustic studio area

Well, Claire and I both went to lovely Carmel California in May to learn this way of painting, and the bug bit us! I have finally set up my encaustic studio in my painting studio, and am going at it. It is fun. It us unpredictable. It involves fire. You can get burned--in more ways than one. It is very expensive to do--the paint is pure pigment mixed with beeswax. Supplies must be purchased from California or New York. You must either pay an arm, leg and ear for the paint or make it yourself, which is very intricate, toxic (if you're not careful) and time consuming.  You paint very fast with it--it cools in less than 10 seconds as you apply it to your board. Knowing color mixing is a must, lest you waste alot of time and paint.

my palette--griddles with tins of paint, kept molten by the heat

The process involves applying molten paint to a support that is wood, clayboard or something rigid. You can't use canvas. Each layer of paint is fused with a blowtorch.  What I love about the paintings that are produced is the awesome texture.  You can make it really smooth like the glaze on a donut or very textural.  It can become a mixed media piece by adding things to it as well.  I haven't gone that route  much yet.  But the smell is so nice too--I know that sounds weird, but you'll see when you experience seeing, touching, and even smelling the paintings.  Can't wait to see how people like them.  Those who have been in my studio and seen them have flipped over them.  So, hopefully that is a positive sign.

 close-up of my new crab painting

This technique is centuries old, but lost its popularity since it is so labor intensive and time consuming. However, there are those of us who are discovering it and jumping into it like crazy.  So, I'm thrilled to show you--join us tomorrow night!  You won't be let down....