Saturday, April 14, 2012

Experiments with Wax

I'm using this little sketch made with water based inks and watercolor to experiment with  encaustic (wax). Typically, wax works better with oil based inks and paints because they mix well and because water based materials smear when wax is applied on top. But I like to work with water reactive materials, so I wanted to find a way to use them successfully under encaustic. This sketch led me to a simple solution: 1) work with high quality water based applications, and 2) allow plenty of drying time - weeks, even. By then, the water based materials have become deeply permanent and won't smear.

Here, the drawing, itself, features bleeds and other loose qualities achieved from working with water. After sufficient drying time, I added a layer of paraffin and rubbed it into the paper. The drawing wasn't altered and the paraffin provided a rich tone to the colors and a wonderful leathery surface to the paper. Had I used bees wax instead of paraffin, there would have been a more honey-like cast to it all.

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