Friday, February 01, 2008

February Technique - Faux Encaustic

This was something interesting to me because I have come across it a few times but never tried it. I had a sample of it in a Golden workshop and have seen it in a couple of mags/books. I used to do a lot with beeswax. I went through a period where all you smelled throughout my house was the sweet smell of the stuff.

I tried the technique with the heavy gloss medium. That is a post or two or three below this one. It did not work well for me. It got cloudy and did not level like beeswax - when you heat it.

Please read through the whole thing before doing it. You might want to change what I did.

This technique was taken from the Acrylic Revolution book on page 107. I took some gel matte medium and mixed in a little nickel azo gold, iridescent gold, and some blue fluid acrylic. I did not have the interference blue so I subbed in a tiny bit of another blue I had. I did not particularly like the color when it came out so I put in a couple of drops of transparent yellow oxide to give it that tinge that natural beeswax has. I will call it my mixture.

Basically, the technique is to create an acrylic paint background, add a layer of your mixture, paint some designs or shapes over it. Keep going until you get the depth you like.

So you will need:

sturdy substrate

acrylic paints


gel matte medium - I used Golden


interference blue fluid acrylic

iridescent gold fluid acrylic

quin/nickel azo gold fluid acrylic

transparent yellow oxide fluid acrylic (I added this one in)

palette knife

container with a lid to save some mixture for later

1. Mixture - 3 oz of gel matte medium (about little bit less than half of your 8 oz jar of gel matte medium), 3 drops of interference blue, 1 tiny drop of nickel azo gold, and 2 drops iridescent gold. Add in a couple of drops of transparent yellow oxide later if the mixture is not tinged enough for you.

2. Create a background with paints. I did squares and then used foam stamps and stamped with paint over the background. Let dry.

3. Using a palette knife, put on a thin, even coat of the mixture. You should be able to see what's underneath. Let dry.

4. Use a paintbrush and paint designs or shapes over the mixture. You can use heavy body, fluid acrylic, and acrylic wash. You will see the difference later when there is more depth to your piece. I added the image of Frida so you could see what it looked like with a face in there. Let dry.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you like the depth. My piece here has 3 layers - paint, mixture, shapes paint, mixture, shapes paint, mixture.

I also added in the white writing during the 2nd layer. You can also end with your last layer with the paint on top. I ended my layer with the mixture on top. I compared this to a couple of beeswax pieces I have on my wall. I don't think it looks that much like encaustic to me. I do like how the shapes and images kind of blend together and I lose a lot of "sharpness". Mine has more of a yellow tinge because of the transparent yellow oxide, you might want to do without it.

The key here is to let each layer dry completely. Creating different shapes or designs with different acrylics also adds to it. If you wanted something more bold, then define the last layer with paint instead of my last layer being the mixture. This might be something that you want to do if you don't want to do the whole beeswax thing, all the stuff involved in encaustics, and still have a similar look.

Will I do this again? Probably not. It was fun experimenting but it is not something I would do on a regular basis. Why do it? The fun is in the experimentation. I cannot find what I like to do unless I find out what I don't like to do.

Comments welcome.


ceevee said...

I bought this book because of the Faux Encaustic, but I haven't tried it yet. Given the methods you have tried including 'real' encaustic, would you prefer doing the beeswax method to the faux others?


Sandy said...

Interesting. Wonder what metal on the bottom layer would have looked like in the overall collage

Kelly Parker said...

this faux encaustic really gave the piece depth. looks like you can see into the piece with all the layers you created. i like it and will file it away for future use on some work.

i have been a bit behind in my posts, i am sorry to hear about your sister. if you need anything please let me know.

i will be thinking about you and your family, Belinda.


Roben-Marie said...

Hey! Thanks so much for posting this. Can't wait to try it!