Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Bee's Knees

I had a feeling I was going to like beeswax.  Since the first time I heard the word "encaustic" I knew this was something I needed to try.  It's been on my list of things to do for a long time, but it's easy to put off.  First of all there's the issue of a heat source.  I didn't have one in the studio.  THEN there's the whole intimidation and supply factor.  You start looking at supply lists and safety precautions and think you'll be both broke and dead if you try this.  And the encaustic artists?  So incredibly talented that you just want to curl up in a ball under your work table and never show your face again.

But TODAY was the day I banished "Encaustic" from my brain and just started messing around with beeswax.

I found this funny little warming tray at the Salvation Army for a few bucks and grated my block of beeswax with an old cheese grater and dumped it in a soup can to see what happened.  It melted beautifully and made the studio smell great.

I had a cardboard collage in my stash that I got in a swap and didn't really like.  It seemed the perfect thing to start with.  It already had some built in texture, it was sturdy, and I could completely mess it up without feeling bad.  I had no plan or clue - I just started covering up the board with all kinds of layers of paint.  I made some concentric circles with paint and various round objects and hastily dried it with my heat gun so I could get down to the messing-about-with-wax part of my day.

of course LATER I read that encaustic won't stick to acrylic.  good thing I didn't read it first or I wouldn't have tried.  my wax and subsequent layers of acrylic-painted papers are sticking just fine, thank you very much.  (and SEE - I just used the "e" word again! stop it!  this is just playing with wax and nothing more!)

so here's my first experiment messing around with beeswax on top of and underneath paint and paper.

The picture doesn't do much to show the cool sheen and texture it the wax leaves.  There's not a LOT of wax on here, mind you, but enough to carve a few circles and leave some cool ripples.

This was SO much fun and I'm already melting more beeswax and trying to color it with cheap-o oil pastels.  I feel an obsession coming on.  I'll let you know how it goes.


  1. i LIKE this.

    i love beeswax. it's very addicting.

    very addicting!

  2. i bought one of those melting pot things, and I use that, one color at a time for me, I know what you mean about the safety factor, all the artists the percautions ewh

  3. It's a fun obsession though, keep it up, I can't wait to see where you go with this!!! It will be an adventure. I like your bargain wax melter, good going. xox Corrine

  4. Everyone seems to be going nuts over wax! Maybe one day I'll try it but for now I'll just look at what everyone else is doing. Looks like too much work for me!

  5. Oh, I like obsessions! I have always been intrigued and intimidated by this process ... probably stemming from my mother's phobia over home candle making and burning down the house ... I may have to try this out once my obsession with molding paste dims :)

    xo Lis

    and I am still cracking up over your portraits I love the mustachio version!