Encaustic… What’s That?

      2015…. I become an adult in 2015… That’s not right. I can barely make toast, and I’m supposed to be an adult? I don’t even know how to take out a loan! Don’t you go to a bank or something…? Well, I can learn that in the 11 months I have left. Gosh, I have 11 months left of childhood. That’s terrifying. It seems like yesterday that I was just chillin on the couch, watching Veggie Tales… Wait, that was yesterday.

    So… In other news. In the time that I’ve written (3?) posts about other artists, I have successfully completed 3 projects myself. Would have been 4 but…. Nope. Drawing see-through fabric is more difficult than it looks. And it looks difficult.

    Encaustic paintings are firstly, exhausting and time consuming and have a big risk factor. They’re easy to ruin. Very easy to ruin. But, I did one anyway.

    An encaustic painting is a painting made with wax, at least to my understanding. I have no idea if my process of making an encaustic drawing is technically correct, because I didn’t have all the tools I needed, but I made do and I think it turned out sweet. So first the tools. For this painting I used Hot Cakes. They are little tins filled with colored beeswax.

    
   To heat up the cakes, I used a heat blow gun thingy. (Not the technical term I know but it’ll work) It’s basically like a hair dryer, but really really hot. Then I had a wood burner and tools that screwed into it that are used with encaustic paintings. The 3 I used were; a metal paint brush to prime, a 3 pronged one to set the wax, and a spade type tip that I used for the texture.
     First I drew out my painting and put in some watercolor to just set the color. Then I used the metal brush on my wood burner and set it to 50%. 100% is very hot and it stinks up the building, I did have it set to 100% once but the principle came to the art room looking for the source of the smell. Her office is across the building. Anyway, I worked in sections because I’m very impatient and lose interest and motivation if I don’t see results, plus I was still trying to get the hang of painting and the spot where I started could have been cut off in an emergency. So after the primer I started just dropping wax with the pronged tip. It looked like a huge calligraphy tip, and worked similarly. Wax was pooled in a small area and could be poured out or used up with strokes. The area was very very very small though, so a small section would take 2 days just to get wax laid down. From this point, I set the burner to 70% and it pretty much stayed there for the rest of the painting.
     This is what it looked like at that point. I kept up the process for a week, going through almost all of the wax (using only red and black) until I could FINALLY do the texture, while adding in some orange to give the red a fiery looking effect. 
     Here is the final painting,
Skillz

     Honestly I love this so much. If I were to do anything different it would be to use canvas and not watercolor paper. The paper was thick but whenever I transport the painting if the paper bends even a little the wax begins to crack, and I have to heat the burner up again and fix it. Overall though I love it. Although, unfortunately no one else seems to like it. Wondering if my taste/judgement has changed or if the people in Ohio really don’t like this particular painting. Either way, I’m excited to do this again, using what I learned to make the process go faster.

I hope you had a fantastic New Year! Personally, I’m incredibly excited to see what happens in 2015. Maybe a crappy start of the year is symbolic for a better rest of the year…? Hope so. 
Happy Sketching!
-Jackie