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drybrush accretion

Drybrush Accretion | Encaustic Texture Technique

Creating texture in Encaustic art

Some of my encaustic paintings this past year are very textured. I’ve been playing with building up layer upon layer of encaustic medium using a dry brush accretion technique. Taken far enough, accretion can become encaustic sculpture.

The word accretion perfectly describes the process. ac·cre·tion – əˈkrēSH(ə)n noun the process of growth or increase, typically by the gradual accumulation of additional layers or matter.

Encaustic Tools used for building up texture

The key to this technique is a very dry brush and fusing gently. I find that the embossing heat tool is essential. I also use a 5:1 ratio so my encaustic medium is harder than some

Here’s a description of drybrush accretion process

  1. begin with a base of a few layers of encaustic medium that have been fused. It is fine to fuse with the blowtorch at this stage.
  2. with a fork or other sharp tool, gouge some lines into the surface of the wax
  3. take a brush that has been dipped in medium, drag the brush along the edge of the tin of melted medium to remove excess medium. The brush needs to be very dry. Wave the brush around above the tin allowing drips to fall and for the brush to cool slightly
  4. brush the thin amount of medium onto the painting
  5. fuse gently with a low-temperature embossing heat gun. Be careful not to liquefy the medium. Fuse lightly, the encaustic wax will glisten and that is enough.
  6. repeat steps 3 to 5 over and over again as you build up layers of texture.

Encaustic Accretion sculptural paintings

Here are some of my paintings that show the encaustic accretion technique. Click to view larger.

Have you tried the dry brush accretion technique?

Give it a try and leave me a comment to let me know how it goes.

About Ruth Maude

I enjoy experimenting with a variety of encaustic materials, techniques and tools. Everything I learn pushes my creative journey in new directions. I share what I've learned with other artists through my blog All Things Encaustic.

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20 thoughts on “Drybrush Accretion | Encaustic Texture Technique”

  1. Hi Ruth, I am Jess. I love your site and advice. I am new to encaustic and am diving in daily following this idea and that, learning every single step of the way. I blog my art and heart journey over at my wordpress site…www.jesssplatter.wordpress.com. I found you on twitter. I am there also. @Jesssplatter. Have a great day!

        1. Hi Bela, I haven’t used one yet, this is my understanding of how it works. The eyedropper to use with encaustic is a metal one that will stay hotter longer. You can rest the end of the metal dropper right in your tin of melted paint so that the paint stays fluid inside.

  2. I really appreciate the information on texture!! I accidentally created some lovely texture on a series of pieces a while ago, and have since been trying to re-create the effect. I will try the fork, dry brush, AND the dropper, and let you know how it all goes. I love this blog!!

  3. My first hobby is wood turning but I got interested in encaustic several years ago. I recently did a textured piece by putting down several layers of encaustic, covering the piece with wood shavings from the lathe, fusing the shavings into the encaustic base and then adding layers of encaustic paint over the textured surface. Its a really fast way to build up texture. Next I want to try the same technique on one of my wood turnings.

  4. The texture pictures always get me!
    I managed to so a little bit today, took all day!
    I tried the fork trick, no luck. Will try the eyedropper. Im quite pleased with the results I got but ran out of was colour 🙁
    I ended up with ‘bald’ spots, two or three areas that were smooth but was doing it on small square, think I might try a rectangle next weeked

  5. Hi I have been using encuastic wax for about 20yrs. I have never tried layering , but now! i mainly do mystic type art.

  6. Marietta Romero

    Hi
    Marietta Romero from Mexico.
    I am inlove with encaustic art, i’ve been practicing it for almost 2 years.
    I keep experimenting all the time.
    Thanks for this blog.

  7. I have been using texture technique for years. I always liked this kind of texture but could not find the how-to anywhere, so I came up with this: I use a stencil that has small shapes, fuse it gently onto a couple of layers of encaustic paint (not medium, which I hardly ever use), and then start dry brushing. I will gently fuse occasionally, not always.

    I will try creating lines, using a fork, etc. Can’t see how the wax would remain hot inside an eye dropper, though….

  8. Attempting this now. I used a net wine sleeve to start the texture. Hope i end up liking where it is going. Thinking it would have been better if the holes had been smaller! Thanks for all these tips & tutorials!

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