this was yesterday. today i’ve done more stuff. i’m finding it absolutely exhausting to treat this huge expanse with a heat lamp. i finally measured the painting, it’s 3 feet by 4, and it took me two whole days to burn in these first layers.
something strange, i’m using titanium white for the whites, and when i hit it with a heat lamp to melt the wax and fix it, the white burns right off. it dissapears. you can see this in the equator, right above the blue on the right side. that’s faintly whitened masonite, rather than melted and rehardened wax and pigment. i don’t know why the white would disappear like that. nobody in any of the forums has said anything about it, and i’m only waiting until i’m approved to ask the question at the r&f handmade paints forum.
when i do i’m expecting to be pilloried for using wax softened with turpenting, mineral spirits, or orange oil. the orthodoxy on encaustic is that it’s molten when you put it on, and then molten again when you burn it in. this is only orthodoxy, however, and one of these days i’ll have lots to say about being fundamentalist about art methods. especially when it was a lost art for a thousand years, and today’s encaustic bears little resemblance to the evidence for how they did it in the old days. but that doesn’t stop fundamentalists from insisting there’s one right way to do it and everything else is heresy. i just hate that.
after i burned in the first layers and lost all that white, i had to go back in and put in more whites. that’s what i’m finding out about encaustic. it’s many layers, many applications. the way i do it builds up a rich texture that i rather like.
the difference in these pictures has not as much to do with chnging colors as with changing light. i’m using a flash to take all these pictures, but if i’m working during daylight hours i get a whole different tone than if i’m under artificial lights only.
with these steps i’m putting in white, burnt sienna, yellow ochre. for the first burning in i laid the whole picture on a table and went over each band with a heat lamp. for the following steps i’m leaving the painting on the easel and hitting it with a lamp until the paint almost starts to run. the first time i did it, i turned it on its side so if it did run it would be in the direction of the bands rather than across them. but i’m not really running the wax, so i’ve stopped doing that.
every stage gets it a little further, a little closer to what i’m looking for. i’m starting to get a lot of texture in the layers of paint, but it still doesn’t look very right yet. it’s going to take more time and more wax. it looks sort of okay in thumbnail form, here on the blog. but this closeup shows just how ragged it is.
i’m thinking i’m going to do a lot of very thing washes next, that will stick into the crevices of the wax and make shadows, emphasizing the 3-dimensionality of the forms. then a few layers of clear wax to give it some depth, and then the finishing shadow of the sun on the right side.
but first i’m going to put some more white in the clouds around the red spot, and turn some of those black lines more blue.