Thursday, April 21, 2011

Encaustic Workshop Review

After I had signed up for the encaustic workshop, I was sent a list of supplies I might want to bring.  Really, I didn't need to bring anything, except lunch.  The instructor had everything we needed to work.  But she did have suggestions for our own stuff and I scrounged.

Of course I wanted to bring fabric.  That was basically the whole reason for signing up.  I put in my rusted fabric and scraps of others.  I also brought sheer fabrics.  I went through collage papers and brought some of those.  We could bring toner copier images to transfer.  I had some moths from a printmaking workshop and brought those (which you could see in some of my pieces).  I packed some legos, plastic canvas, and spools to impress in the wax.  I also had scissors (one pair for fabrics, one for paper), masking tape and my camera.

After the first day, I had a better idea of the techniques and left some stuff at home and brought some others, like my pressed leaves and flowers.  But there were just so many ways to work with encaustic that I didn't get around to playing with many of the things I brought.  I didn't try out any of the stuff to impress in the wax.  It was just overwhelming.

What I learned is that encaustic is a very versatile medium.  It is also something that would require a bit of money to invest in the stuff to get started.  You could use a skillet to melt the wax, but that wasn't recommended.  Brushes must be natural hair so they don't melt (because you have to keep them on the hot palette).  You need parafin to clean the brushes, the wax paint (the instructor had all the colors because she used to work for the company that makes them).  In addition you need medium to work with and a heat gun to "fuse" it after application.  If you want to do the rub in color afterward, then you need oil sticks (which are slightly different than the oil paint sticks that some of us are familiar with) and something to rub on the piece first (forgot what it is called). 

This is not something I will be getting into.  We can sign up for another workshop (at a discount) and go use all her stuff if there is something we want to do.  But you would want to maximize your output to make it economical. 

I do see that I could get just the medium and use my skillet to melt it and coat fabric with it if I wanted.  But that would be about all I would invest in, right now.

The process was immediate, as the instructor said, because it basically dries as soon as you paint it on.  But if you wanted to do something specific, you would really need a plan because it is a layering process.  Some of the techniques do need the wax to be cool to do (such as drawing with the Neocolor) and some need the wax to be warm (like image transfers).  It is a really different thought process for me.

I was the only one there with an art background.  It wasn't necessary.  Everyone was able to work with the techniques and come up with some interesting and fun things.  My favorite was the random texture you could get from the air bubbles and the way you brushed on the wax, then rubbing the color in afterward.  That seems very different from the graphic, geometric, controlled way I am working in fabric right now.

I really enjoyed it, but it's not something I will get into right now.

1 comment:

Pam McKnight said...

I took her workshop a few months back and really enjoyed it. I will not be buying all the supplies but may take another class to make some more stuff. I had fun combining it with my assemblages.