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Art In Wax : Encaustic Art By Hazel Rayfield

Going with the flow : Encaustic hot wax :: Posted by: Hazel on March 31st, 2013

Going with the flow …….

Having painted in many medium, oils, acrylic and doodling with watercolors, the versatility of painting in hot wax never ceases to amaze me. The combination of wax, including beewax and mixed pigment provides a wondrous medium to work in.

Just as when we paint wet on wet with watercolors for example (and I am no watercolourist – I only doodle and sketch in watercolors and watercolor pencils) and the paint flows to give amazing drifts of colour that in themselves flow across the paper. So the wax when added to a gloss card with heat can flow and create beautiful patterns almost on its own.
daffodils artinwax by HazelRayfield

Molten wax

Once molten the wax flows and resets when cool. I paint using encaustic wax in several ways, I use my heat stylus tool which I spoken about many times on this blog, it by far the tool I use the most and I refer to its usage, with the micro iron nib in a similar way to using an artists platte knife. A small iron type heat tool also plays a large part in my painting and this is how I create many of the backgrounds, skies and landscapes and in larger pictures some of the detail. I have a craft type hot air heat tool which I use for remelting once the wax is on the card and sometimes I melt the wax into pots and keep liquid on a hotplate and use a brush to apply to the pictures.

The first encaustic painting in I ever saw was a beautiful abstract, the colours had merged to give a vibrant rainbow of colour with a texture and shine I had never seen before, this painting inspired me to look at what could be done in wax, I love the way the wax merges when mixed on the iron or hotplate and the effects when added to the painting surface and how by adding heat this, can be transformed into shapes and given dimension with movement and lifting techniques.

Using the hotplate allows with flow to move further, and as I experiment more with my hotplate I find the wax can be moved and removed easily to create even more depth, especially in larger pieces.

Going with the flow ……. and sometimes not!

It is great fun to work with the flow of the wax…..
For example : wonderful summer skies of a landscapes may be made by mixing white, blues and pinks on the iron plate, then applied to the card. No too skies are ever exactly the same as the wax moves slightly differently each time, however by using the same colours in the same technique similar skies are created. If then perhaps some mountains or grassy plains are to be added as a backdrop, again as you apply the wax on the iron it may flow and create just what you are looking for, and if not, then I find I can need to control the wax and direct it to what I have in mind, and it is this way of working with wax that I find both so rewarding and challenging.

Challenging the wax

There are many artists working in wax across the world, I admire what they can do with the wax and I am continually amazed by the beauty and uniqueness of their work. Some use different types of wax to me, some paint in hot wax but using very different techniques and others may paint in cold wax, all creating wonderful works of art in wax medium.

As I am sure you can tell I have a real passion for Art in Wax!

I am always looking for the next challenge. If I have an idea for a picture, a landscape or a floral subject, maybe have some flowers or plants I have photographed or a scene from a day trip out. Then I think how can I create this in wax.

For me my paintings have a impressionistic feel, which allows me to look at a subject and then with some of my own imagination added in for good measure create a picture. The challenge of creating such pictures is what I love and it is fun working out how a picture will develop, blending the colours of the wax can be tricky at times and can end in a muddy mess, the beauty of this medium is that by remelting an area of a picture can allow the lifting off of the wax. With all painting, regardless of medium it is often the style of the artist that depicts it from others, and I have had many comments on how my own style is developing, and part of this is the way I work with the wax and challenge it to sculpt it to how I want my paintings to be. A recent set of sunflower exhibit pictures were such a challenge and yet extremely rewarding and fun to paint.

I have had some great feedback on my paintings and people from many places across the globe contact me after seeing my work or my videos. I often get remarks that people especially those who see a piece close up, that they are amazed at the detail in the pictures and that they are created in wax.

Easter weekend is a time I think fondly of my wax paintings, and why I am writing this post now …… I have been going with the flow and challenging the wax for a few years now, and it was on an Easter weekend when I first starting on my journey that is now my passion Art In Wax.

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