encaustic painting (some number here)


this is the still life of my studio equipment. from left, paint rag (paper towel folded in 4), thick gel-like wax and turpentine (or now beeswax and citrus-flavored mineral spirits) in a jam jar, very thin beeswax and turpentine in a baby food jar, and beeswax and turpentine heavy paste in a bitty jelly jar.

my paint blobs are spread out on the glass palette in front of the jars. hansa yellow, ochre, titamium, raw sienna, naphthol red, burnt sienna, raw umber, ultramarine.

the wood grain you’re seeing at the top of the picture, representing the table the glass palette is laid out on, is the wood grain of the wood i used to make the painting on. it’s got several coats of paste wax on it at this point.

i’m struggling with the folded paper towel. in reality it’s got brushstrokes of paint, or palette knife strokes of paint, and gets ratty fast, with lots of paper towel texture showing thru. i put a few representative scrapes with the palette knife, and melted the hell out of it, until the entire square was molten and trembling in my upraised hand. (i haven’t yet taken the light off its clip and turned it upside down to melt the picture as it stays steady on the pallete. i’m still holding the painting up to the light and waving it around at varying distances from the source.

god this is fun.

i’m also struggling with the jam jar. it’s got a quilted glass surface, with the lovely creamy beeswax medium inside, and i can’t begin to recreate the translucency of the real thing. no more can i paint the liquidity of the thinned out mixture in the middle. i can’t render light coming thru something very well at all. yet.

the learning curve is deceptively steep. like silk painting, you don’t notice how much there is to learn as you quickly master the basics.


my glass palette, the palette knife i’m using to paint with (seems i’m using several different types and sizes of palette knives. i’m discovering what damned useful things they are.)

i’m starting to run out of colors again. i’ll be scraping the palette clean after messing with this painting, and start over with freshly mixed up paint, on the completely abstract experimental piece, the seduction of the wax piece.

and oh yeah i’ve figured out what to do wfor my next encaustic painting.


that’ll be the painting where i do something the wax naturally likes to do, instead of seeing if i can do realistic and seeing how well i can do abstract and getting seduced by the wax.


i did more things to the paper and boiled it again. i built up the piles of paint on the palette. i put on a darker coat of green blue for the glass, and then i put on a layer of wax medium over everything but the glassware, the paper, and the built-up blobs. i seem to recall doing something in the shadows of the jars, but i can’t tell by looking at my photos, because they all ended up in different colors, even tho i took them under mostly identical conditions. the light outside was changing, but we’re in a basement facing the house next door, and i use fluorescent studio lights no more than a foot above the pictures, and use a flash on the camera. but i don’t know, except for the paper and the palette and maybe the paint blobs, i’m hard pressed to say what i did with this painting session.

but wait, there’s more. now for an update on the abstract seduction of the paint.


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