“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.
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.
Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch is known for her dynamic encaustic approach and inspiring instruction. When Ampersand first came out with Artist Trading Cards in Encausticbord™, Patricia jumped on board to try them and demonstrate a project for us. Ampersand first won my heart when I began translating my creative bent from mixed media work into encaustic on Claybord™. The luminous white surface, solid foundation and delectable option of a 2″ cradle all married beautifully with the ancient, yet contemporary feel of encaustic. Imagine my delight when I learned that Ampersand improved on this near-perfect relationship with new Encausticbord™ that offers the best of two worlds: R&F’s encaustic gesso paired with Ampersand’s expert wood panels and advanced coating technology. The use of ATCs or “Artist Trading Cards” arose a few years ago as the next big art movement. Exploding on the scene, potentially as the next ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ trend, ATCs have managed to gain a permanent foothold. Ampersand has embraced this tradable palm-sized art form and I find myself embracing these miniature delights right back. I jump with both feet into Ampersand’s delicious Encausticbord ATCs! I adore R&F’s encaustic paints and mediums and put them to task here, along with Daniel Smith’s luscious oil paints. By choosing this triune of materials: Encausticbord, R&F Encaustic and Daniel Smith oils, I have assuredly set myself up for success! To begin these paintings, and any paintings in encaustic, I first prime the board, though not in the traditional sense to which you may be accustomed. The priming is done with an initial layer of encaustic wax medium fused to the substrate with heat. Before applying this prime layer, I warm the Encausticbord first so that the wax will flow more evenly over the surface. This can be done by using a heat gun or by placing it on a hot plate/palette until the panel is warm to the touch. Use a natural bristle brush to quickly cover the panel with long smooth strokes that slightly overlap each other. Then, heat or “fuse” the whole surface to an even “wetness” and until there is a perfectly even film of wax covering the ground. Each layer of wax should be fused in this way before applying the next. For a few more basic tips on encaustic, visit: www.encausticcenter.com
For this project, I worked on multiple ATCs at once which gave me the opportunity to hang them as a multi-storied group or to hand them out as individual ATCs (fig.1). After applying the initial priming layer, I placed chip board die cut letters over the entire group of 12 ATCs and sprayed alcohol inks over them to create stencil effects (fig. 2). Once the ink dried, I removed the letters. Then, using a natural bristle brush, I applied a layer of R&F’s encaustic medium (made from beeswax and damar resin) (fig. 3). I decided to paint stripes of R&F encaustic color across all the boards to unify them. I masked off the stripes with tape, painted them in with R&F color, then removed the tape while the wax was still tacky and then fused the layer (fig. 4). I collaged in Daniel Smith decorative papers (encaustic medium being its own wonderful glue) and then I fused again. For soft glazes of color, I rubbed on Daniel Smith oil paints and then wiped them away to show relief texture. Lastly, I dropped a touch of metal fleck glitter inside simple metal circles and melted them into place (fig. 1) This collection was inspiring to create. Enjoy! Remember that Encausticbord, along with Claybord, Hardbord, Gessobord and ALL the Artist Panels are now on sale through the end of September. Find a participating retailer near you: www.ampersandart.com/retailers
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