Encaustic is essentially painting with beeswax. The medium is a mixture of beeswax and damar resin (crystallized tree sap). I often use it as a base on wood canvas then add oil pigments. Color can be added directly to the melted medium or on top of cooled medium. Sometimes I’ll start with a photo or watercolor painting adhered to the wood, then cover it with medium. Layers of the wax are then fused to the surface with a heat gun or blow torch.
I believe there are as many different ways one can use encaustic medium as there are encaustic artists. I began working with encaustic medium around 2018 and since have created and sold hundreds of original works. I love that it reaches multiple senses: sight, smell, and touch. As you can see, my subject matter varies, but it typically has a reverence for nature and wildlife.
Midjourney AI + Encaustic
I’ve been using an AI (artificial intelligence) tool called Midjourney for over a year now. I describe it as painting with words. A few favorite images I conjured with the program to cover with wax have become a permanent feature in my mini encaustic collection on Etsy. It’s another way for me to express my creativity, and I always disclose the use of the tool in my work.
Suncaustics and Cyanotype Prints
I discovered how easy and fun it was to create cyanotypes in early 2021. They are made by adding light sensitive chemicals to paper then layering negatives or found objects and materials on top. This create images on the paper when it is exposed to the sun. Since they are all on high quality watercolor paper, I naturally tried to cover some with wax and loved the results. Sometimes I’ll add pastel or alcohol ink pigments on top of the encaustic medium for even more drama. I came up with the term “Suncaustic” since they blend two of my favorite media. Here’s a guide on how I create my cyanotypes if you’re interested in the process.