“I paint with a torch.” Using paint made from pure beeswax, tree resin, dry earth pigments, and oil paint, I paint from hot-plate palettes using special brushes and tools. Torch fusing the paint at extreme temperatures over 1,400 hundred degrees, creates a hard, glossy, permanent bond to wooden canvases. This is Encaustic.
The ancients created this moisture impervious medium and used it to create burial masks, to honor the deceased, because it maintains coloration and withstands the test of time. I create my own custom encaustic paints, to customize my hues, viscosity, and transparency. The process is cost and labor intensive, which accounts for its lack of prevalence in our modern art practices. For me, creating in encaustic is a labor of love, for the challenge, unpredictability, and transformative nature. I see art, in chemistry, particularly in transformations brought about by the addition of heat. I make both opaque and translucent paints. Applied between layers of transparent medium, the medium allows me create multiple layers of interest resulting in paintings with depth and dimension, and for me, lends itself perfectly to abstractions.
Often, I do “shellac-burns,” which involves combining earth pigments to shellac, a natural substance combined with alcohol. I paint it on, then ignite the layer. As the alcohol burns off, the mixture boils and embeds the pigments into the paint. From time to time, buff your encaustic painting with your clean hand or a soft cloth and you will enjoy its lustrous, glossy shine and natural beauty for a lifetime.