Daddy's Christmas Angel

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Encaustics Versus Cold Wax

"Turbulent Universe" Encaustic Painting ©Mary Montague Sikes
When Karen Eide introduced me to encaustics a few years ago, I was immediately hooked. I enjoyed manipulating the hot wax and pigment with a heat gun. I loved the way everything moved around on the surface, creating mysterious images that resembled other world and new universes.

Karen explained the dangers of allowing the wax to get too hot and creating toxic smoke that when breathed in could cause permanent lung damage. Because of those warnings, I hesitated bringing encaustic materials into my home studio. Instead, I took more of Karen's classes, including one she teaches in Virginia Beach that enabled me to work on larger pieces. Eventually, I bought a large flat grill, a heat gun, wax medium, and encaustic paints, expecting to battle the insects and work outdoors. I still haven't used them.

Karen Eide demonstrating encaustics techniques. ©Mary Montague Sikes
Now, I am wondering about painting with cold wax. I have tubes of oil paint from years ago that I might revive to mix with the cold wax medium. I've watched several YouTube videos about cold wax painting and am ready to try it. Some of the cold wax paintings I've seen closely resemble those created with the hot wax process I find so appealing.

I'm also working on three paintings now in which I plan to combine the Robert Doak watercolors with encaustics. I started the paintings with a 10" square center, using encaustic paints. One painting is on a wooden cradled panel. I have it ready to apply the Doak watercolors in my studio later this week.

I'm excited about the possibilities of using new methods in my paintings. Encaustics versus cold wax, does anyone have experiences to compare?

Starts with Encaustics ©Mary Montague Sikes


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sorry, I've not used either. The weather is cooling enough now that maybe outside wouldn't be so bad with the hot wax.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Monti - not being an artist of any description .. I can't help. But I admire all who try new things - and at least Karen sounds like the knows her stuff. Good luck with whatever you decide to do ... cheers Hilary

L. Diane Wolfe said...

What a fun way to "paint." How is it done if the wax is cold?

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Mary,

Interesting techniques. I like the fact that you love to experiment with your art. I wish I was a bit more daring sometimes, but I am set in the classics: pencil, ink, watercolor, guache, acrylic, and oil. Love classic sculpture, too. Something I'd like to get back into some day....

I just finished a huge illustration job for a children's Icelandic folk tales book. Such fun getting back into my art. I posted one at my blog if you get a chance to drop by.....

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Alex, I keep hoping to work on it outdoors, but keep procrastinating.

Hilary, I have several encaustic starts lingering in my studio. I'm going to work on combining them with water media somehow. That should be fun.

Diane, I have tried only the hot method. I think the cold wax is fluid, probably because of the addition of some chemical. I want to try it.

Michael, I like classic materials as well, but I find myself wanting to experiment. I always have! I'm going to check out your blog!