I have a soft spot for encaustic work — not only the “painting with wax” style like the little landscape I made, but also the layering of clear wax over images and enclosures — so I was definitely curious when I came across Masterpaste Original, a cold encaustic medium. It is available in a whole range of colours but, as they say it can be mixed with various pigments, I just picked up some of the uncoloured medium.
Pure experimentation. It had to be really because there isn’t a lot of information about using this product out there; even YouTube is limited to a handful of videos showing people using the coloured variants with no commentary and one that I think is in Dutch. There are a few bits on their blog, but it’s remarkably limited…
I had a hunt through my substrates stash and picked out a greyboard “coaster” as my base. Ideally, I’d use something a bit more solid, but it is only a small piece and it is just for testing purposes.
I worked in layers, laying down the cold wax medium followed by a piece of test stamping I had on my desk. That was sealed in with more wax over which I layered some tissue collage pieces (the flower and butterfly). More wax, a scroll border strip and more wax. Then I got adventurous and swirled some black thread around to see how well the wax would hold that in place. A final layer of wax and some India ink around the edges and I was ready to fuse it.
There are various ways to fuse the wax medium: you can use a heat gun or even a hairdryer as it doesn’t require a high heat, but the recommended method seems to be to use an open flame. Butane torches terrify me. I am convinced I’m going to drop them or set something alight. But we do have a Dremel Versatip which can be used as an open flame, so I decided to be brave. I probably overheated it a bit but I’m not sure quite where the line between “getting a shine on the surface” and “melting it” lies. Probably somewhere around the point where the India ink started to break up 🙂 (though I do quite like the effect). On the plus side, the thread did hold in position.
It’s no masterpiece, but as a test piece to try out a couple of techniques with a new product, I think it turned out quite well.
Although there are several layers on this coaster, I used very little paste so it should last me a while. Which is just as well as it appears that it is no longer sold in the UK.
I want to have a go at incorporating the wax into some mixed media work. I have some vague ideas percolating in my brain which might, at some point, turn into something coherent enough to actually put into practice.
- Masterpaste Original encaustic medium
- patterned tissue paper, black thread, India ink