Working with heat guns, blow torches and molten wax is not for the faint hearted. I am attracted to this medium for its dimensional quality and luminous colour. It also keeps me close to nature. Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax mixed with a tree resin, to which I add coloured pigments. The liquid or paste is then applied to a surface, usually prepared wood, though canvas and other materials are also used. This ancient technique from Egypt dates back to 100-300AD, used to make Fayum mummy portraits. The natural beeswax will make your home smell absolutely lovely. I try to keep my imagery simple and timeless. Trees and birds are common subjects of mine but I also specialise in a very unique style of portraiture that I layer into the wax and fuse.
Before I even begin painting, I love that my artwork already has a history and a presence that you would not get from a store bought canvas. The Encaustic medium encourages experimentation and playfulness, for it's capacity to be layered and scraped back. It's satin nature encases and seals the substrate, adding depth and translucency to my layered photographic images and mixed media finds, only to reveal portions hidden by pigments in it's wonderful waxy texture.
I assemble my imagery by layering in portions of my photographs with indian ink, carbon, oils, and pigments building up the layers between many fine sheets of beeswax.
The process for me is very much an organic one; supporting sustainability in my art practice by upcycling, repurposing and paying close attention to the mediums and materials I use. I start with a found substrate, usually an old tray or wooden platter. Once prepared, I heat up the raw beeswax and resin to make up my own encaustic medium, perfuming my studio with honey and pollen. Welding blow torches and heat guns, I fuse the mixed media with molten wax in layers, until it is one solid structure.
Tread lightly on our earth, and be conservationists in our own right.