encaustic painting n+2


i put another layer of brushstrokes on the paper towel, stuck some white around the paint blobs, put down some really thin darks around the blobs and the jars, put local color over the white i’d stuck down over the paint blobs what was i thinking, and melted it down a little. i wanted the dark stuff to run and the local color to just sag, and because the dark stuff is dark, it happened to work just fine. i see there’s a lot of planning involved. i’m better at slapdash.

did you have a real chemistry set, the kind back when you could actually mix high explosives? it was a metal box, and glass tubes, and you were only supposed to use it with adult supervision.

while jim used his to make actual explosives, i was always too impatient to follow recipes, and would always add a little of this and a little of that until all i had mixed up was a test tube of toxic waste.

i’m still like that. i learned astrology by studying transits, rather than what venus in leo means.


i got to the point where i was comfortable with the representational aspects of the painting, so i covered the whole thing with a thick layer of paste wax medium. since i’d heated it slightly all over, it had hardened, and i could gently smooth thick globs of wax over it. i stopped in process to take a reference photo. good thing it’s a digital camera. i would expire of boredom waiting until the pictures got back from the lab if it were still film. you couldn’t blog with pictures unless you wrote it all down as it was happening on gasp paper.

actually, that’s how jim does for his blog. he takes a picture, he sits in his chair and writes it out, and i type it in when i get to it. i’m such a dilatory secretary.

so now i believe all of my encaustic paintings are sitting around collecting layers of wax and curing. so i’ve been casting about for something new to do.

i’m learning specific things with this series of paintings. one is to try to use wax the way i was using silk dyes. one is to go even more abstract than i was tending to in my koi series of several years ago.  one is to do representational painting. what’s the other one? the seduction of the wax.

so my fifth encaustic painting is to do something that the wax naturally wants to do. and that’s going to be cosmic. wax is a cosmic fluid, well, anything that has a range between melting point and boiling point. the miracle of life on this planet is liquid water. if it were too hot or too cold there would be no life. so i’m exploring the range wherein life is possible, or in this case, creation.

i’m finding that making wax paintings is a lot like making bread. the yeast is alive, and the bread is an individual creature that you’re going to feed and exercise and grow up fat and happy, and then stick in the oven and make a part of your own body, its highest purpose. well, we won’t go into highest, yeast has probably a more exalted destiny than humankind.

making bread is like doing magic. it requires focus, intent, knowledge, insight, and the flow of creative enery.

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