Notebook, 1993-

MATERIALS & METHODS - Encaustic Wax Painting

Painting Methods - Equipment & Materials - Preparing the Colors - Binder - Supports & Grounds - Burning-in / Equipment - Care & Display

Encaustic Wax Painting
Preparing the Colors

Dry pigments are combined with the binder on the warm encaustic palette. The melted wax-resin or wax-oil binder is added to the dry colors and quickly mixed to a smooth consistency with a spatula. If any of the pigments are too granular or rough to combine easily with the hot binder, they may be first mixed to a stiff paste consistency with turpentine or mineral spirits and stored in jars. Small amounts of such pigment pastes can then be put on the palette and combined with the melted wax-resin or wax-oil binder. This would correspond to the tempering of a pigment-water paste in the tempera technique. Once a batch of color has been mixed with a wax binder, it can be kept on top of the heated palette in small tin cans or in compartmented muffin tins, so that good-sized batches of liquid color will be available if they are needed.

Alternatively the color may be prepared and stored in the form of large tablets, using only melted wax without any resin or oil. To do this, dry pigment is added to melted wax on the hot palette, and the mixture is put into tins to cool. Such tablets or sticks can be stored indefinitely and remelted as needed. When artists wish to use one, they simply rub it on the hot palette until a sufficient puddle of color is melted. At this point oil or resin must be added to the liquid wax color. After a brief mixing with the spatula, this is applied to the panel. The tablets may be made using either a single pigment plus wax or combinations of several pigments and wax. Tablets containing pigments and wax, plus oils and resins, have been made, but sometimes they handle or dry badly---possibly because the oil ages. [pp. 162-163]

[Kay, Reed. The Painters Guide to Studio Methods and Materials. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1983.]



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