“I have explored many different media over the years, including mosaic, acrylic and oil paint. Currently I am working primarily with the encaustic medium. It has incredible fluidity and allows me to achieve balance between color and form.” Dallas artist, Elizabeth Schowachert came to encaustics through The Encaustic Center in Dallas run by Bonny Leibowitz. She explains, “I had always been interested in the medium, loved the look of encaustic paintings and decided to give it a try. I took a beginning class, and several studio days working with Bonny. I had been painting with Acrylic and Oil in the past, once I started painting with wax I never looked back. I just love the medium.” In using Encausticbord, Elizabeth found that the surface, being made especially for wax has terrific absorbency and doesn’t produce bubbles, and the panels look professional. Below, Elizabeth demonstrates her work and process on Encausticbord™ with encaustics and R+F pigment sticks.
Somnus, encaustic on Encausticbord by Franciso Benitez, 16″ x 32″, 2011
Francisco Benitez works in encaustic and also in oils, creating luminous portraits with a classical touch. He divides his time between Europe and Santa Fe and you can find him online through his website, blog, Facebook and Twitter. Francisco’s current gallery representation at the Chase Gallery in Boston, MA, and at the Galleria d’Arte Quadrifoglio, Siracusa, Italy.
Click here to explore the full selection of Ampersand panels and tools.
Palettes and Heat A heated surface is used to hold cups of paint or to mix color right on the surface. For health and safety, the recommended working temperature is between 180–220 F. This is the R&F 16″x16″ palette with attached brush holder and heating element. It is made with a sheet of 3/8″ aluminum alloy and has been anodized to prevent reactivity that could discolor pigments. Adjustable Legs make for easy leveling of the palette. Brushes, thermometer, and palette cups are sold separately.
About Brushes Use only natural-hair brushes for brushing on and fusing wax – synthetic brushes will burn or melt and cannot sustain the heat. Use palette knives for carving and applying wax, modeling tools for etching and carving, all types of absorbent papers for collage. Even dip or pour wax onto the surface. The possibilities are endless!
To clean brushes after use, keep a container of soy wax on your palette. Work your brushes in the wax and wipe clean. Soy wax (actually partially hydrogenated soybean oil) is an excellent alternative to paraffin for cleaning brushes for several reasons. Soybeans are a renewable resource, unlike paraffin, which is a petroleum product. Soy wax is non-toxic, burns cleaner than paraffin, and is naturally biodegradable. Soy wax is also easier to remove than paraffin wax, so after the color has been cleaned out of the brush, the brush can be washed with soap and water and is reusable in other mediums.
Cold Tools R&F manufactures a full line of Cold Flexible Tools that can be used with or without heat to create a refined surface. Designed after the tools that the first practitioners of encaustic used in ancient times these tools bring a modern sensibility to today’s encaustic artist.
Select from Circular, Oblong Angled, Diamond, and Oblong Flat shapes or a convenient set of all 4 tools. These tools are made of high carbon steel and are expertly finished.
Heated Tools R&F Handmade Paints also offers heated encaustic tools to help the professional artist finesse the surface of their paintings with control and precision like never before at an affordable price point. The Heated Hand Tools consists of the R&F handle, temperature regulator and an array of attachments that include flexible flat tips, as well as iron, horn and burnisher shapes. The flat tipped tools are offered in a set of 3.
“Encaustic is the culmination of all my loves — drawing, painting, and sculpture. It also has the surprise element of printmaking and developing black and white photography in which the final piece is never exactly like you expected, which I really like. It is this all-in-one characteristic that keeps me returning to my studio again and again.” ~Jessie Benson
Lowfields Farm, 8″ x 10″
North Carolina artist, Jessie Benson creates encaustic work that encompasses not just her love of many art mediums, but also her deep respect and passion for nature. She finds constant inspiration in the trees, leaves and birds around her. “Birds are a favorite subject matter as well and I am fortunate to have a yard full of birds of many species. They are constantly inspiring me,” she explains. “I love to paint trees, birds, nests, flowers, really any part of nature I find beautiful.” However, Jessie also likes the challenge of commissions, because the subjects aren’t normally what she would choose, such as a recent ship triptych.
Becoming the Moon, 6″ x 12″
Jessie has always been an art lover and began her path into painting with acrylic, ink, printmaking and even sculpture. But it was encaustic that she was drawn to through seeing another artist’s work at a local art fair. She explains, “after reading about encaustic painting, I went to Jerry’s to assemble the supplies including Ampersand Encausticbord™. I loved the professional look of the cradled panels and the various sizes. I also liked the way the final painting could be hung without needing framing. I use all 1.5″ cradled boards because I like the way the painting depth is uniform when hanging multiple pieces for a show. I also like knowing that when someone buys my painting they are getting quality materials.” Jessie prepares around thirty of her boards at a time, in all different styles, ready to take on a painting at a moment’s notice. “This variety in panel size allows me to create the piece as I have dreamed it up and having many panels on hand ready to go allows my creativity to flow freely.”
Faith, 24″ x 18″
Jessie has new work opening tonight at the Visual Art Exchange’s MOVE showincluding her favorite painting ‘Becoming The Moon.’ Come out to the opening reception with Raleigh’s First Friday events March 7 from 6-9 pm 309 W. Martin St. downtown Raleigh, NC. Next week, Jessie will be in Woodstock, Illinois for the 27th Annual Women’s Works Show to display her work Faith, opening on March 13thTo see more of Jessie’s encaustic work, or her other art, tune in to her website at: starfruitworks.com. As an extension of Jessie’s love of nature, she gives a portion of her proceeds to the North Carolina nonprofit Center or Human-Earth Restoration that serves to reconnect adults and children with the natural world. All things Ampersand, Karyn Meyer-Berthel Artist & Social Media Specialist Ampersand Art Supply Click here to explore the full selection of Ampersand panels and tools.