Encaustic Paintings are very difficult to photograph due to the translucence of the wax surface. Some encaustic art appears to be ‘lit from within’. The wax surface can be very reflective. There is also a three dimensional quality of encaustic art that is hard to depict in a photo. I want to thank Sophia Liu for the wonderful photography work she provided for this website.
Americans are very familiar with music. Each person seems to have a favorite musical genre, favorite musicians, vocalists, songs, and lyrics. We communicate and make music a shared part of life with each other.
Americans enjoy movies, publications, and other visual entertainments as well. People watch films, television, and have favorite actors, actresses, and sports stars which we share with others. We also share opinions with one another about books, and other visual entertainments in the course of daily life.
Painting and sculpture appear to be visual language; a means of communicating with each other. Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. Every person should believe the reality of their own senses, and share their reality with others. There is no 'right' or 'wrong' opinion about visual art. You like what you like!
We should speak with each other about painting and sculpture with the same enthusiasm we exhibit when we hear music we like, enjoy being entertained, or speak with each other about a good read completed. Visual art is communication, and is best when it portrays, gathers, and communicates stimulating visual images of our shared human experiences. I am a human 'being' in the moment by painting, rather than a human being 'doing' painting... I hope I convey visually my 'presence in the moment' in each painting with other people.
Encaustic Impressionism is a newer type of impressionistic painting. The development and availability of high quality hot plates, small portable propane and butane torches, heat guns, tools, and high quality encaustic paints occurred in the latter half of the 20th century. The introduction of exciting new ideas (i.e. the mathematics of 'fractal geometry', or the 'geometry of nature' etc.); have given us new concepts for painting scenes. The introduction and evolution of visual electronic devices, etc., have aided visual communication as well. Many of these ideas and devices were not available to 19th century impressionist painters.
These developments have enabled encaustic artists to paint new, vibrant, impressionistic scenes using brushes, torches, tools, and molten wax paints. I am very excited about my painting journey. I usually make a short comment about each painting. Each comment is a written impression of 'being in the moment' for the art; somewhat akin to a 'lyric' for the music.
My painting goal is to share visual, creative, and emotive impressions of each painted scene at a moment in time with observers of the art. The paintings portray visual impressions; akin to snapshots taken with a camera.
I use R & F Encaustic Handmade Paints made with purified beeswax, pigment and Damar Resin. I start by sketching my ideas with simple shapes on larger, birch panels over a foundation of encaustic medium. Initially, I focus on where the light is coming from; paint the darkest shadows first to lay down the 'bones' of the painting. Sometimes I begin brush painting abstracts with molten encaustic paint on small birch boards to transition to my creative zone. I develop techniques for use in paintings in progress on the small boards. The process of molten wax painting with brushes and the torch on birch panels is a good painting 'blend' to create contrasting hues, translucence, luminosity, reflections of light values, and movement in scenes.
The torch is a creative tool; an imaginary brush. The torch can build textures, patterns, and depth, that a bristled brush can't accomplish with molten wax paint. Sometimes the torch fusing process results in surprising effects. Some of the effects provide opportunities to rework the encaustic paint to portray the impressions I want to convey to viewers of the scene.
Many of my paintings require a lengthy work process from start to completion. The finished work appears different from the initial sketches. Brush painting and fusing molten wax paint takes me on a journey to a new way of depicting momentary visual impressions on scenes. The hot wax painting process is completely absorbing, and I become happily oblivious to the passage of time!!
5" X 7" abstract board used to create solutions, effects and techniques for 2 paintings shown below:
"Ventana Creek" above and "Beach Walk" below.
Encaustic painting is a wonderful method for expressing textures, tones, and hues in seeking to capture the impressions of different weather conditions (i.e. ambient light, relationships between objects, water, reflections, atmosphere, and movement) in landscape paintings at a particular moment in time.
'Whale Rock Atmosphere' - features low ambient sunlight, a blustery, cool, late afternoon scene; movement of swirling wind is evident in the distortion of reflections of water in the reservoir, and cloud movement in the sky.
'Tranquility' - portrays a partly cloudy sky, and a tranquil, early afternoon breeze moving the scattered, partially moisture laden clouds over the lily pads and water. The moving clouds produce varying degrees of sun light; which creates changing light reflections of clouds in the water and on the lily pads.
'Ventana Creek' - depicts the bright sunlight, movement of air, and reflections in the flowing water amid the sunny, restful, shaded wooded areas, and rocks. I can almost hear the restfull sound of water moving down the creek!
I prefer to spend a day making encaustic medium of melted, filtered beeswax and Damar Resin. Filtered beeswax comes in many natural colors. This medium is the 'ground' applied on the birch panels. I can use a particular color of beeswax, and create different undertone effects for a painting. I brush and fuse three or four layers of medium on each panel. I sometimes apply R & F White Encaustic Gesso as a 'ground' for encaustic painting on birch panels. I enjoy making different mediums; it's like stirring good pots of stew on a cold day.