Encaustic Mixed Media Paintings
I have dabbled and experimented in many different styles and mediums. From creating ocean-inspired décor pieces with fabric and driftwood, to painting with acrylic, and assembling mixed media collages with vintage paper, found objects and acrylic mediums. And lately, I’m integrating all of these things into encaustic paintings with hot wax.
What is Encaustic Painting?
Encaustic painting is an ancient media using natural and pigmented beeswax. Dammar resin is used to help stabilize it. The process involves using both clear and pigmented hot wax to paint, and then heat to fuse each layer.
Because the wax needs to have something to grab hold of, in order to establish a solid foundation on which to build with more wax and additional elements, the surface needs to be absorbent or porous. This means that I cannot use my beloved acrylic mediums and paints since they are not compatible. (I still do very minimally – if it doesn’t impact the integrity of the encaustic artwork.)
With encaustics, the surface also needs to be rigid or hard. The rigidity helps prevent ripples and waves from cracking the surface of the completed artwork. This means that I haven’t been using large stretched canvases for my encaustic paintings. My primary substrate of choice, lately, has been cradled wood art panels. (This creates a need for me to make room in the garage for a table saw, so I can build very large cradled wood panels.)
Encaustic Medium, Paints and Pigments
I make my own encaustic medium (a blend of clear beeswax and damar resin) and encaustic paints used in my paintings. I also use pan pastels, India Ink, watercolor, and oil sticks (which are composed of beeswax, linseed oil, and pigment. I like the Pigment Sticks brand made by R&F).
The many layers give the encaustic painting a translucent, romantic, ethereal and intriguing quality.
My Collage Assembly and Painting Process
I start with an idea sketch, and then mostly go on faith and intuition around the story that I’m trying to convey. I go into a meditative state when creating encaustic mixed media art pieces. The process and completed art work is very mesmerizing. This journey in exploring, discovering, stretching new limits with encaustic artwork connects deeply with my heart and spirit.
Storytelling with Found and Reclaimed Objects
I layer a wide variety of found and recycled materials in all of my mixed media work. I enjoy recycling them into my artwork to help create interesting background and foreground, honor memories, and to add otherwise intriguing effects in the piece.
Found materials that I frequently use are: Vintage paper such as tissue paper, newspapers, maps, letters, paper bags, postage stamps, puzzles, music sheets, travel brochures, magazines, corrugated cardboard, laces, fabrics, cheesecloth, nettings, film strips, rusty metal, screws, nails, rivets, sea glass, sea fans, and anything else to see what would go with the story in the painting.
With encaustic medium, I see, hear and feel deeper meanings into each of my subject matter. Each artwork echoes a narrative. The hidden depths in each art piece tells a redemptive, compelling and powerful story through the embedded materials and multiple layers of translucent wax.
For me, encaustic is very seductive. All the media and found objects that I have worked with come together magnificently with encaustic. This medium opens up, far and wide, the possibilities of creative expression using wax.
"Journey to the Lighthouse: Pigeon Point" Encaustic Mixed Painting on Cradled Wood Panel
Materials used in Original Painting: Encaustic medium and paints, watercolor, rusted nails, burned corrugated cardboard, sea fan, nautical chart of Pigeon Point Light Station's maritime location, and customized postmark with the date when the Pigeon Point Lighthouse was first lit. The whale stamp depicts the grey whales that are seen regularly from shore as they pass Pigeon Point.
This artwork is part of Lighthouse Art & Design by Jocelyn Cruz’s “Journey to the Lighthouse” Collector Series
Golden Gate Beta Release (Part of Hidden Depths Series) Encaustic Painting on Cradled Wood Panel
Materials: Encaustic medium (a blend of clear beeswax and damar resin), encaustic paints, pan pastels, India Ink, watercolor, and oil sticks, metal mesh, rust, vintage envelopes, burned and dyed old book pages
"May Things Be Good Today" Encaustic Painting on Cradled Wood Panel
Materials: Encaustic medium (a blend of clear beeswax and damar resin), encaustic paints, oil sticks, India Ink, rusted key, and found "Sea Treasures"
"Magnolias in March" Diptych Encaustic Painting on Cradled Wood Panel
Materials: Encaustic Medium and Pigments, Oil paints, Burlap, Stitched Denim, Vintage Lace and Chevron Patterned Fabric, India Ink, Nails
About Magnolias in March:
"And the day came when the risk to remain a tight bud was more painful that the risk it took to Blossom."
The first panel on the below left painting shows magnolia flowers in tight buds and I painted the denim with encaustic medium--which makes the fabric very rigid. While the second panel on the below right shows magnolia blossoms opening up as if they are brighter and more joyful, and I did not encase the denim with encaustic wax this time -- so that when you touch the denim fabric -- it is very soft and flexible. I also intentionally added flicks of black india ink on both panels to acknowledge that the creative life can be messy but also beautiful. I thought that these two paintings portray visually and texturally my own life's transition when I realized that the risk to remain in a tight bud was more painful that the risk it took to blossom.
"Don't Worry About a Thing"
"Always Follow Your Heart's Dreams"
"Viva La Vida! You're a Miracle that is Worth the Wait!" Encaustic Painting on Cradled Wood Panel
Includes: Encaustic Medium/paints, pigment oil sticks, water color, film strips, dried flowers and grasses, burlap, lace and denim fabric underneath the wax.
"Life is a Beach" Encaustic Mixed Media Painting on waxed Burlap with Sand and Sea Treasures in a Large Shadow Box
Materials: Life is a Beach Word Art, Sand and Sea Treasures such as sea stars, starfish, sea shells, coral, sand and pebbles -- and also my own painted "Carmel-by-the-Sea Post Stamp"