Friday, December 17, 2010

Let Me Count the Reasons...

First, a list of all the rational reasons that I use encaustic:
  1. Color: The colors are vividly rich. The suspended pigment in the beeswax allows the brilliant colors to sparkle with energy
  2. The colors can be opaque or transparent, and can be applied thinly (glazes) or thickly (impasto)
  3. There can be total coverage of one color with another, with no bleeding through
  4. Line elements can be as varied as you wish: thin, thick, scraggly or sleek
  5. Infinite texture capabilities: Textures are easily created, literally and figuratively speaking. From silky smooth to rough, bumpy textures, from the illusion of texture to the real thing 
  6. The surfaces of the work can be textured, smooth, poured, scraped, dipped or incised
  7. Forms can be created 2-dimensionally or 3-dimensionally
  8. Wax has an adhesive quality that is good for embedding, pasting, or collaging
  9. It is quick to "set up" (that is, become a permanent, finished artwork)
  10. Reworking possibilities are endless, since the wax is malleable with heat
  11. Encaustic readily lends itself to image transfers
  12. The layering that is inherent with encaustic gives a sense of space and time
  13. Encaustic is one of the cleanest and least messy media for the artist
  14. It is non-toxic when properly used
  15. It has a sweet smell

    Next, a few of the subjective reasons:
    1. From the moment I began using wax, I felt an affinity to the medium 
    2. I love the feel of the cooled paintings and the lingering beeswax scent
    3. Paraphrasing from Reni Gower, curator of the show, The Divas and Iron Chefs of Encaustic, wax/encaustic work has a "seductive surface, luminous color and ethereal image layering"
    4. Encaustic informs my work with the hazy, muted quality that is inherent in memory...necessarily out of focus, but nonetheless, genuine in its authenticity
    5. Encaustic is a challenge to use. Too much heat, and the image is forever a fleeting idea that escapes into thin air.


      Observe Closely said...

      EXCELLENT! A very thoughtful and a very accurate list. It captures my feelings as well. I am going to link to this posting, if you don't mind. Very well done! Thank you.


      Kathryn said...

      Thanks Jan. Encaustic is a mesmerizing medium, isn't it?

      Karen F. Rose said...

      Thank you for this post. I was touched by your comment of the "hazy muted quality that is inherent in memory" so similar to the look of a tonalist painting which I have been trying to achieve in oil. Yes and one glaze too many and it's lost.

      Kathryn said...

      Karen, I see that same quality in your paintings, too. It is an illusive effect both on the surface of the artwork and as a technique. Knowing when to stop is a pretty difficult skill to master, I find!

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