I’ve got some wonderfully creative and talented friends. Recently a few of them took a few encaustic painting classes in Chicago at the Lillstreet Art Center, and in turn they invited me to join them whenever they meet to create more artwork. It’s a fun excuse to hang out, be creative, and get our hands dirty once in a while. Plus, good beer.

Wikipedia defines the process pretty concisely:

Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. The liquid or paste is then applied to a surface—usually prepared wood, though canvas and other materials are often used. The simplest encaustic mixture can be made from adding pigments to beeswax, but there are several other recipes that can be used—some containing other types of waxes, damar resin, linseed oil, or other ingredients. Pure, powdered pigments can be used, though some mixtures use oil paints or other forms of pigment.

Metal tools and special brushes can be used to shape the paint before it cools, or heated metal tools can be used to manipulate the wax once it has cooled onto the surface. Today, tools such as heat lamps, heat guns, and other methods of applying heat allow artists to extend the amount of time they have to work with the material. Because wax is used as the pigment binder, encaustics can be sculpted as well as painted. Other materials can be encased or collaged into the surface, or layered, using the encaustic medium to stick them to the surface.

I’ve posted some of the works we’ve done over the past several weeks. It’s a messy process, but the results can be pretty awesome. We’ve been exploring a variety of mixed mediums like textured craft paper, metallic leaf, gears, oil paints, tea leaves, tissue paper, and whatever else we decide to use.