encaustic venus

not de milo – de planet.

this will be my nth encaustic painting of a planet or moon. i’m obsessed, happily, with soft looking rounded shapes floating in space. cosmic breasts. and i keep finding correspondences in life – i saw my mammogram image on the screen behind me in radiology, and it looked just like one of the moons of saturn. so i’ll be doing a mammogram disguised as a planet any old time now. and antarctica without the ice. and the crescent earth with long  shadows cast by the clouds.

so cool.

venus by radar image, color coded. venus uncoded

for this painting i’m using a 30×40″ panel coated out with rabbit skin glue gesso. i outlined it in pastel, as i have been doing, and sprayed with acrylic medium thru a mouth atomizer to fix the pastels.

this is the first pass, just to block in the colors. i’m using beeswax thinned with orange oil except on the sky, where i’m using microcrystalline wax and orange oil, mixed with dry pigments, and put on with a palette knife.

then i burned it in with a heat lamp.

after putting on the base colors – pink, blue and green, i worked in some brighter pinks and some acid greens, as well as a purplish red. i used the ex-wax i keep in a jar with orange oil to make the atmospheric gunge.


interesting how nothing seems to change even tho a great deal has been done. i put in dark blue (dioxazine purple and prussian blue), and started working the “landmass” toward yellow and orange, because i just don’t like pink.

then i burned it in, a little less deeply this time (as if it’s easy to avoid liquifying the whole thing). i’m trying to only barely glisten the wax, only to barely soften the outlines, only enough to swell the wax, not to melt it. but i find it very difficult to do this because it all happens so fast, and because i continuously have to keep coming back around to that spot in order to continue heating the nearby wax.

the interesting thing is that it’s not very visible, the difference, whether you melt the shit out of it or barely warm it. you can’t really tell until you get close that there’s been any running at all.

which is why i like encaustic paintings close up.


not being able to leave anything alone, as soon as i’m fnished melting the planet, i start in adding more paint. about the only difference i can see in this picture is that i’ve started messing with the gunge in the atmosphere again. oh yeah, and i remember slapping a bunch of quinacridone gold over the “landmass”, which gives it an overall richer and yellower cast.


sorry about the shakes. i took it outside to get the real colors, after putting on some nice acid green (viridian and cadmium yellow dark) and starting to define the circular features with various shades of purple.


this is how i left it last night. it’s ready to be melted again, and then i might have to do something else to it. the ring things are god knows what. let me look it up. volcanic features.

i included this as a post. it’d been sitting in my draft box for months, and i figured it had things that i was never going to say again about this painting.


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