The beeswax/encaustic medium has really caught my interest. Last week I spent some time experimenting with beeswax, alcohol inks, gold leaf, and pearl ex powders. I don’t normally dive into a new medium without understanding it a little more. In other words, I’m not always one to experiment with a medium I know very little about. Diving right in seems to fit living my word of the year: BIG.
All of these experiments were done in my mixed media sketch book. I’ve since learned that paper is not the best substrate for beeswax beyond the experimentation stage.
Experiment #1 has everything in it: beeswax, gold leaf, alcohol inks, pearl ex powders and swirls created by impressing the wax with an unmounted stamp.
Experiment #2 includes beeswax, alcohol inks, gold leaf and a texture sheet impressed into the wax. At this point I continue to have problems with the texturing. The wax is peeling off the paper and sticking to the texture sheet (or unmounted stamp as in experiment #1.) In experiment #2 I also tried incising or cutting into the wax with a needle tool. I like the way it directs the alcohol inks.
In experiment #3, I decided to keep it simple and applied three colors of pearl ex powder to the wax surface. I like the way the wax moved and blended the powders. The overall effect is very soft and dreamy.
In experiment #4 I started by stamping with black ink onto the sketchbook paper. Then I applied a layer of beeswax, followed by pearl ex powders and another layer of beeswax. Using a fine tip exacto knife, I “wrote” in the beeswax and back filled the marks with alcohol ink.
In this final experiment, I lightly sanded a small piece of wood and applied beeswax, gold leaf, alcohol inks, pearl ex powders, and texture. The wood is definitely a better substrate for the beeswax. I still had a minor problem with the texture plate pulling some wax off the surface. I think this may happen because the wax was still too warm or the layers were not fused well enough. Given that I’m using some very basic tools that don’t have exact temperature controls on them, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised.
But boy is this fun!