encaustic painting n+6


this is how the nebula looks this morning, after the right side dried all night. it looks nothing like the picture.


i mixed up a nice light yellow, using ‘hansa yellow’ py74, yellow ochre, and loads of titanium white. might as well bite the bullet. i haven’t actually tried to melt any wax containing a mix of pigments including white. i wonder how it will act. i used the palette knife to apply this bright yellow, still not exactly the gold i’ m looking for, to the front line of the dark mass .

then i didn’t know what to do next.

i ws looking at the reference photograph, seeing how grainy the background is, and how deep the darkness to the left. it had patterns in it, splotchy areas, and in the background was wiped over with white light from some star. how to do that in wax?

i tore a bit off one of my sponges, which i never us for anything anyway, tho they’re great texturizers. i diluted some ochre with loads of medium, and then because it wasn’t thin enough, with some dilute beeswax and turpentine jim made up fror me, the stuff in the baby food bottle .

you can see the dabbing on the right, on the trunk of the body i can see standing there. you can also see ochre dabbed in the darks on the left.

then i hit it with the light and did my damnedest not to melt it beyond just a slight softening. i wanted to keep that texture.

suddenly i saw myself abandoning the palette knife for the sponge. this is getting out of hand. how many days will i keep working on this painting, moving it ever farther from the ideal painting in my head.


so i thinned down some blue and did more sponging. and some burnt umber, which is a true brown, warm and nutty. raw umber is more of a dark than a brown, if that makes sense.


then i got some white with my finger and did the outside of the figure in the background, and also the bright shiny place in the almost bottom right. and then i mixed up some light purple with my finger and put it in the middle of the figure. brown. with the finger on the left. the stuff i’m putting on with fingers is meant to flow, so i’m heating it longer. the stuff dollopwed on with a pallete knife, like the yellow line, is supposed to stay somewhat solid.


then i mixed up a big bunch of that burnt umber really thin and put it all over the left half with a pallete knife, really thin. and since i can never stop, i stuck the same color over the figure in the background. more ochre too, sponged in the white areas.


loads more white on the figure, blue s well, because it’s a real dark and i’m tired of that background being so i don’t know. i darkened it back down alot. i mixed all the sky blues and put them back in, as well. and i melted the hell out of the background. you can see a big slump to the right of the center of the painting.

now it has lots of texture and depth. i won’t say the composition is finished. i still have to put on golds and wipe the starlight in across the figure, and make the foreground very dark and rich. but this’ll do, and in fct there are places i want to preserve from change. if that can be done in wax.

when i heat a spot, it first swells with heat. and then the entire heated part slowly (a second at 3″) turns to slush and begins to move. then, suddenly, the entire pool of wax is molten, shivering with every movement and breath of wind. and then the wax begins to circulate. maybe this is the stuff boiling. it’s certainly convection. it mixes.

now, i’m not sure if i haven’t just overheated it too closely, and this wouldn’t occur at a greater distance from the heat source. this could well be what it is because it doesn’t happen all the time.

the last thing i did before bed was to coat the whole thing with a thick layer of wax medium. i’m going to put a bit of space between what i’ve got and what i need to do next. i need to finish it next, with the whites and the golds and the furry darks. and of course i have no idea how i’m going to do this. the original of this painting hangs in my head, and my hands are just beginners trying to accomplish, or in this case perhaps, execute it .

oh yeah. the various experimental mediums. the jar i’m dipping out of now is beeswax and citrus thinner, which is mostly mineral oil. that’s in good shape, but i’m running out of it. good shape = light and fluffy with no lumps.

the next jar is beeswax and damar crystals melted together and then citrus thinner added, which just precipitated the wax in lumps, and so an addition of turpentine to dissolve the damar. it’s beginning to shape up. i’ve got it stirrable if not cohesive and mayonnaise-like.

the third jar is beeswax and damar, plus citrus thinner, and it’s sort of kind of softening up. so i guess i’ll let it continue.

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