Try Something Different

When I’m ready to apply encaustics (materials available at most art supply stores), I turn the heat regulating knob on my heat pen to the highest setting and gently press the angled brush into a tilted cake of wax paint. Then I lightly blot the brush on a piece of scrap paper to remove any excess paint. If I’m mixing two separate colors, I sometimes allow the brush to cause a watery meltdown in each of them, letting them drip into the metal mixing palette below so I can blend the colors before applying them to the surface. Then again, I may apply the two colors to the surface separately and blend them there. Either way, I apply the local colors with a fast, sketchy motion called “a goozle” by artist Ann Huffman. This first application of paint is merely an early indication of volume and I place it down rather thinly so that it doesn’t dome up in additional paint layers. Then I weave the dark tones in with the local color with a “squiggling” motion, passing the pen through the individual beads of wax and allowing the heat of the pen tip to mingle and blend the colors together. I gradually add more darks as well as a few highlights, increasing depth and volume and continuing to integrate colors with the squiggling motion. Controlling the brush may seem awkward at first, but with a bit of practice, you’ll easily gain a feel for handling it.

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