woah, inspiration strikes

i was lying in bed the other morning, drinking coffee and talking to jim and watching the light coming thru the window.  typical morning.

suddenly it hit me.

i was thinking about the dragon jim is fixing to paint onto a piece of plexiglass for his son michael’s front door transom in his newly bought house just around the corner from us.

it’s to be a sort of copy of the very header image of this blog, which comes off a quilt i made for my sister, with jim drawing the dragon in the first place.  he draws all my dragons; we collaborate on fabric art that way.

it’s a bit of a challenge trying to duplicate the blend of dyes on silk, using glass paint on plastic.  i was sitting there thinking how it would look done in stained glass, whether you could approach the subtleties of dye on silk.

i thought about how you’d render stained-glass leading in the medium of silk painting.  you could use a permanent resist if you wanted it to remain.  you could use sugar syrup that dissolves readily with water, like i do, or you can take the middle path and use water-based gutta like most people do.

i thought about doing a dragon painting in my new favorite medium – encaustic.  the way i did it in silk is to resist the outlines of the scales, and then apply a drop of yellow, red and blue in turn inside the scale, blending them all later with a coat of clear water.

in wax, i could outline the scales in white and fill them with colored wax, and fuse the whole thing at once, to molten wax.  or i could trace in the white and fuse that, and then put the colors in and fuse them.  wax is generally harder to melt the second time around, especially wax paste, which retains a bit of the orange oil until its been heated a few times, and so i guess the melting point goes up every time.  i don’t have the equipment to test it.

so okay, here’s my breakthru genius thought that just came to me.  i was sitting there thinking of how tedious it would be to draw in all those scales with a  palette knife, or worse, a brush.

and suddenly i saw it.

a pastry bag.

simply put the wax into the bag and squeeze it out wherever i want it, as thick or thin a line as i like. ooooooooh.

now, you can’t do this with neoorthodox encaustic methods, because they don’t work with solvents.  they work with molten wax, applying molten wax to a surface while it’s drying, which is a skillset i hope never to have to acquire.

we work with solvents.  it’s a bad thing, surely, and we’ll be punished etc.  but the thing is we’re using orange oil, and it’s much less toxic all the way around, and easy to ventilate away.  the reason we do this is because it’s really easy and fun to paint with wax paste.  paste wax.  like taking car polish out of the can and smearing it on with your hands.  that kind of fun.  personally i like painting with palette knives and wax, but on big paintings i’ll use my hands.  i used to love finger painting because i could feel it.  there’s nothing like using your fingers.

anyway, with beeswax mixed with orange oil (and you don’t have to melt the beeswax to do this, either, because the oil melts it in just a day or two), you can just load up a pastry bag with a lump of wax medium, put on a tip, and excrete lines of any size, shape, or direction that you want.

i can’t wait to try it out.  it’s sure to work, the only issue would be cleaning the bag, but sticking it in a jar of orange oil for awhile would do the trick.  i won’t get to trying it out until well after xmas, considering all the things i am currently working on and have yet to get around to.  but i’m very excited by the idea at all, and wanted to get it out there for anyone who’s interested to try.


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