Thursday, September 26, 2013

Have you ever lit your painting on fire?

I hung out with my friend Catherine Weber in her studio this week and she wanted to try a new technique.
After creating a background painting with encaustics, we covered the top with a mixture of shellac and gold pigment powder, and then lit the shellac on fire.
Here's mine:

The fire does the most interesting things to the shellac/pigment.
Here are some close-ups:

I love the way the gold just floats on top of the layers of wax:

If you look carefully, you can see lines and letters from some of the collage paper I used in the encaustic piece:

Below is a shot of the entire piece.  It's a 12"x12" wood panel.
I feel like it doesn't have a focal point and could use one, but I'm not sure what I can put on top of that shellac layer. 

Catherine's going to be teaching me a lot more about encaustics in the coming months and I'm really excited.  Even if we don't light stuff on fire, it will still be a blast.


  1. Wow, looks great, just don't breathe that stuff chickie! xox

  2. MY thoughts exactly. I hope you have good ventilation. That stuff is not for breathing. Lovely effects though.

  3. Exciting results! I'd love to see photos of the process - the fire!

  4. Haven't tried encaustics yet and there's still so much to try with what I already have that wax is on the back burner.... :) But I can enjoy your journey and you're off to a good start. That's an amazing array of texture and crackle and color peeking through - I too 'suffer' from the notion that my work needs a focal point, but abstracts often don't. I don't feel the lack of one here at's like a close up of rusty bits....or a sunset sky with blue peeking through.....or a swirl of water - each time I look I get a different feeling. Can't wait to see more.

  5. C'mon baby, light my fire!

    I have wax on my back burner too, Terrie. I have all of the stuff, but haven't cleared a big enough space to play!

  6. Wow! Who knew you could get such stunning results by setting your art on fire!!

  7. That is just way too much scary fun! What stunning results!!!

  8. It looks so amazingly beautiful, and stands on its own and doesn't need a focal point. Very scary though setting light to wax and shellac. Catherine is certainly innovative, and very brave. But it all sounded such fun.

  9. Now, that's cool! Do you have any idea what my husband would say if I started lighting things on fire in my craft room?!?! He'd have me committed! Love it!

  10. So, Catherine Weber here. I have SO much fun with Karen when she comes to make are with me. We do have good ventilation with all of the bad stuff going out the window. We also had a fire extinguisher at hand. Glad to say, we didn't have to use it. If any of you ladies are near by and are interested in joining us for a Encaustic intro, let me know.

  11. I absolutely love it as is - gorgeous and kind of soothing... I love the effect, now I want to try it...