(Pictured above, Tippi's Daydream, encaustic)

About a month ago I took a class at Shake Rag Alley in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. The instructor's name was Jeffrey Hirst, he was teaching encaustic painting, what a revelation!

Encaustic painting is a method of painting with liquid wax mixed with color, with roots going as bar back as Ancient Greece. I'd been aware of encaustic painting for many years but had never had the chance to try it before - and I think I may be hooked. Over the course of that 3 day class I completed 10 paintings - holy moly! I made it my first order of business on returning to stock up on the equipment and materials and give it a try at home.

This weekend was my first chance to sit down and do some work. Jeff taught us many techniques - painting with wax, fusing methods, image transfers, collage, stencils, etching, carving, etc. It really got my mind going - how can I combine this new medium with what I've been working on already? Following are a series of encaustic paintings finished this weekend which display my first try.

Above, "Tippi's daydream" is a small work on a cradled board. It measures 6.5" x 7.5" and 1" deep, and it is mixing the encaustic style with my "Discarded Memories" series I've been working on. I started by layering colored wax on the board, and then transferred a charcoal sketch inspired by a vintage photo portrait I'd purchased an antique shop. I then started working into the sketch with wax, laying over blocks of color and then transferring the charcoal drawings of the birds. Once that cooled I worked back in again with more layers of painted wax, and then etched in the lines finishing by rubbing oil paint into the etched lines.

I've also been working on a series of nudes - attending a weekly painting from life session with a few fellow artists. Below, "Moment" combines the nudes with encaustics. This was a simpler process than the above. I started with a 12" x 12" board and started layering wax - warm tones mostly, and letting it be a little pockmarked and messy. I then did a charcoal drawing based on a painting I'd finished this weekend and transferred it to the wax painting. I finished by rubbing oil paint across the entire surface to enhance the pockmarks and irregularities in the surface.

"Moment", encaustic painting by Rochelle Weiner

Below, "Still Wind" was a very similar process to the above "Moment" - layers of wax, charcoal drawing transfer, oil paint rub. The only difference is that before the oil paint I etched in the wavy curly lines to suggest wind and movement to juxtapose the stillness of the seated model.

"Still Wind", encaustic painting by Rochelle Weiner




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