Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Getting bolder....Wax and a blow torch...yikes!

Of course, I just can't play it safe and just use the heat gun in my encaustic paintings. Again, I'm putting the blame on youtube. I came across the video of a marvelous artist Shawna Moore and her use of the blow torch.

Her work is breathtaking isn't it.

Laura Moriaty is another wonder artist who uses the encaustic medium and a blow torch to create sculptural pieces. Her work is also breathtaking.

Suddenly I'm feeling all brave and borrowed a blow torch. However, I put the torch out several times....flash-backs to that wax fire kept making me chicken out.

Finally I got brave, lit the torch and actually touched the flame to the wax. After experimenting for a while, learning how to control the flame and the movement of the wax, I wanted to try an actually art piece.
My first attempt with the torch was pretty good. But I still have to work on controlling the amount of time I spend on the wax with the torch.

A friend of mine has titled this "Angels and Flowers"

Oh....here's another reason why I love wax art....scrap wax. I'm from the polymer clay world and you never throw away scrap clay. You can use it as fillers, but that's a waste to me, scarp clay makes the most wonderful patterns itself. I salvage the left over wax from my work surface, tools, scraped sides of the pieces I'm working on and from scraping back an layered encaustic surface to reveal the colors underneath.

This piece, I call the Scrap Yard. The center was created with wax bits fused with the blow torch. The marbled areas were created by layering different colors of wax and scraping them back.

The Scrap Yard

I am very proud of this piece.

But oh-uh I have learned about a new technique involving setting shellac on fire...{gulp}. Better make sure the fire extinguisher works. More to come

And I fall deeper and deeper in love with hot wax

After spending time over a hot stove making up my encaustic medium, I was ready to jump in and begin making encaustic paint (pigmented encaustic medium).

In researching, I found that some things a no-no for encaustic painting. Acrylics and other water-based medium will cause the medium to remain soft. As will certain oils. so fare I have experimented with oil paints (however they must be leeched of their oils), oil pastels, oil bars or stick and powdered pigments.

My first experiment was with leeched oil paints.

On gesso board (won't be using in the future since acrylic gesso is not a good ground for encaustics

However on my first try, I did not leech the paints long enough and ended up with somewhat soft medium. Plus the first try left a lot to be desired.

My next try was with oil pastels. I was much more satisfied with the hardness of the medium.

On gesso board (won't be using in the future since acrylic gesso is not a good ground for encaustics

I added mica powders to the surface to for the shine. However I hit it with the heat gun too long and it the wax moved too much and marbled. It's still nice, but I've got to learn more control of the heat gun.

On gesso board (won't be using in the future since acrylic gesso is not a good ground for encaustics)

I decided that I wanted some richer deeper colors, so I picked up some better quality oil pastels. The difference is very apparent.

On whiteboard panel

This is probably my favorite so far. I used more control in brushing the wax on and had better control with the heat gun.

On whiteboard panel

The Heat is On!

Believe it or not, I've started playing with hot wax again. Now, now get your mind out of the gutter...not that kind of play.

Six years ago, I made my 1st candle and fell in love with hot wax. Six and half years ago, I made made last one and fell out of love with hot wax. I don't know if you know this little secret or not....but molten wax is flammable when it comes in contact with a heat source...in this case the electric burner on the stove. I was in the process of making a huge molded candle and want to make somewhat vertical layers instead of horizontal so I had it propped on something so that it was practically laying on it's side...not smart I know. Well I'd gotten the next to the last layer poured when the candle slipped. And then all hell broke out. Whoosh! In a matter of seconds I had a fire blazing right there on the burner. 15 minutes later I had the fire out, and was sitting on the couch doing shots of tequila to calm my nerves. No serious damage done, just a hell of a clean up.

Once again the world wide web as lured me back into the world of molten wax. Encaustic Painting...{Gasp}...I was in love, what beautiful art wax creates.

Encaustics Painting is not a new art...it's some 2000 plus years old. This Terracotta column-krate circa 360–350 B.C. is amongst one of the oldest pieces of encaustic art still around.

The more I researched the more intrigued I became...but not enough to even think about melting wax again. Youtube was my down-fall. It was ok reading about and looking at pictures of wax art, however, the first video I saw had me hooked. Next thing you know, I'm dragging out all my old candle making supplies. Not crazy about the process of making the encaustic medium, but I'm too cheap to pay the high cost of commercially made medium. Whoopie no fires set.

Welcome to my Art Corner

I have jumped back into the more artistic side of creating lately. Any medium is game....I've even taken up encaustics....gasp....after that wax fire I had making candles a few years ago, who would have ever guess I'd be dabbling in the hot wax again.

I've also started visiting galleries and doing art crawls again. So you may also find art done by others featured here. Why did I ever let myself get so far away from the art world? Note to self....stop straying so far away from home.

The House of Vanet...what does that mean?
I was in Starbucks getting my daily expensive fix. The barista was trying to read the name on the cup of the customer before me. He thought it said Vanet (Va-nay) and was like that's cool. I was in agreement. Turns out the name was actually Janet. But Vanet stuck with me. Most of you already know my muse Shelia....yeah, split personality and all that. Well...I think Shelia is actually two people herself...so she's got a Sybil complex....don't worry, she "mostly" harmless. Shelia, I think is more of the crafter, but this other entity needs a name...and Vanet sounds all French and artsy like. So now Shelia's muse now has a name...Vanet.

As far as I can tell there is no such French word and the English word is an acronym for Vehicular Ad-Hoc Network, which is ironic because Dez (the other me) is all about technology...funny how that works.

Anyhow, sit back, grab a cup of your favorite Joe (or tea) if you prefer and join Vanet in her travels as she rediscovers the artworld I have been away from for far too long.