Experiments In Wax and White


I’ve been having some fun in my studio this week experimenting with wax inlay (intarsia). Here are some of the results-in-progress.


First, I tried putting oil paint into the texture and doing a wipe, but it didn’t work as well as I had hoped, so I tried filling with wax and scraping back, and I’m much happier with it. I like using intarsia in my underlayers, as I like to imagine that they are more stable, and an oil wipe in the last stages of a painting. But, Oh! The scraping- my fingers don’t like it much. I need to do a serious perusal of my local hardware store for a razor holder that works well for this. I took good photos of the intarsia process this time, so I’ll do a technique tutorial on it soon.


Above: a detail of a larger acrylic painting. I’ve been trying some new things with acrylics, too…. laminating milky, transluscent papers into this painting, tracing some of my field sketches, and using a graphite paint that I found recently. It is such a good exercise to try to explore the same aesthetic and formal concerns as the white encaustics, but it a radically different medium. I think it keeps things fresh all around, with each medium informing the other. Well, we’ll see. I don’t think the above painting is really successful in the way I want it to be, yet, but I’m going to keep on playing with it. I’d love for it to segue into a new (and parallel) body of work.

And I’ll leave you with one last image, something I picked up on a walk the other day. I don’t know what my neighbors thought, with me traipsing through the neighborhood with my dog and a dead bush, but I love it- it’s color and form- and can’t wait to take an hour or two and draw it from different angles. 


P.S. I’m going to the opening for “Working in Wax” tonight in Walnut Creek (see announcement below) and am so excited to see so much encaustic work!

10 thoughts on “Experiments In Wax and White

  1. mechanisticmoth

    I really enjoy your work. The final piece with the inclusion of the branch really adds a lot. Great job!

  2. amyf

    I love the intarsia effect… the delicate lines are quite nice. Really beautiful.

    The hardware stores definitely have razor blade holders – I’m sure that will make it easier to scrape. I’ve also used a steel clay scraper from here: http://www.fineartstore.com/Catalog/tabid/365/txtSearch/scraper/List/1/ProductID/21750/Default.aspx?SortField=UnitCost%2cUnitCost

    The toothed one is quite thick and solid. I like it as an alternative to the razor (not necessarily a replacement, but it’s nice to have options). It is smaller than the trowels you find at the hardware store, so it seems it would be easier to handle (I haven’t tried the trowel yet).

    Have fun! I would love to see a tutorial, to see how other artists do this as well. I am just learning and experimenting… I’m really loving encaustic!


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