I tried encaustics a year or so ago by taking a four hour introduction at NW Encaustics, a lovely little studio in West Seattle. The class was taught by Shaun Doll who is himself an amazing artist. I had a lot of fun but walked away thinking, “I’m glad I took that class but it isn’t really for me.”
Fast forward to last November and Kamla Kakaria’s class on monotypes on encaustic. See my post here. Yeah. ummm. Different story. I was suddenly hooked.
When my friend Jane told me she was coming to visit for a week I scrambled to get us both into the studio for a day. As luck would have it, Jane was on board (she’s a really talented artist, so I was pretty sure she’d want to do this). Shaun and Kamla were both amazing, letting us not only rent the studio for a day, but Kamla was coaxed into giving us a 4-hour class.
We started with the basics, working the wax on wood, using the blowtorch (yay!) and using varying techniques to work the wax, add images and create texture. I learned a lot! I was more aware of how to work with the wax and I let myself be more creative and loose with it. I chopped it up, added graphite powder to distress it, I gave it a coat of shellac that I then hit with a blowtorch, watching little bits burst into flames. For me, it was once again a very freeing experience. I finished one piece on wood.
The photo (left) is just a partial view of the piece before the graphite and shellac and carbon transfer, and so on.
I then moved on to the hot surface to work with paper. I found my groove right away and started doing some backgrounds. Applying the wax to the heated surface then removing most of the wax with newsprint then putting my good paper down, etc. It is a kind of repetitive process until you think you are done, then you go back to the paper with watercolors. Then add the image (in this case a photograph of a crow in a tree that I took at the cottage). Then play some more with the wax.
I also tried using shellac, graphite and the blow torch on the paper. I was a little apprehensive as I didn’t want to set the studio ablaze but Kamla was reassuring and I went for it. I love it. I can see spending quite a bit of time at the studio this year.
It was also a wonderful way to spend a day with Jane. She left today and although I’m so sad to see her go, we have lots of plans of things to work on going forward. Thanks for coming, Jane! It was wonderful.