Monday, February 11, 2013

Encaustic Exploration and One Invention

I received money at Christmas which enabled me to begin working in encaustic. I've been at it furiously for about six or seven weeks now.
I'm in it for the color. Encaustic is the "what you see is what you get" medium. The color of the melted wax in the tin is the color it will be when applied and the color it will ALWAYS be. For me, whose entire reason for painting is to work with colors, this is the Holy Grail of color. I make most of my own colors by adding pigment powders to the encaustic medium. I also make the encaustic medium. (I started out with store-bought medium and then after reading, decided I wanted to make my own--both clear and with yellow beeswax.)

And the natural yellow of the beeswax I have come to consider not only as wax for the medium, but as a color in itself. So far in my explorations, my primary palette consists of Yellow Ochre, Vermilion, and Prussian Blue.

Very quickly I discovered that I had to deal with a working space that is too small. Today I gained about 2 square  feet on my work table with this simple rack. Not only that, my colors are right in front of me whenever I look up. More about those tins later.

Sorry about the image quality but I had to shoot against the light. 

Now about all  those glass topped tins. I was delighted to find them and ordered about twenty of them. Most of them were the small size you see here (2-1/2" dia.). Unfortunately the larger ones don't come with glass covers.  Those are the ones you see at the right on the shelf below the rack. And they are just fine for mediums and beeswax. They can be ordered from Specialty Bottle in Seattle, WA. In addition to these, they have lots of other containers. But, the glass topped ones let me see my colors all the time and I am so lucky to have found them.

The rack is just a flat board with narrow strips of wood across and a board (about 5" wide) glued edgewise onto the back about 2" up from the bottom. This gives the main board enough of an angle to keep the tins on the rack. If you made that board on the back a little wider the rack would be free-standing. But since I needed table space, I made mine to hang on the wall.

If you are curious, you can see some of my recent work at the top of this page:

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