Encaustic is an ideal medium for assemblage, mixed media, collage painting. Encaustic wax can both preserve and adhere collage elements to artwork.
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5 Rules for Encaustic Collage / Mixed Media / Assemblage
Here are five guidelines for adding collage elements to an encaustic painting:
- Ensure that your ground is rigid and absorbent. Encaustic painting on acrylic primed stretched canvas is wrong—don’t do it! Wood or any absorbent panel is ideal. Depending on the work, you may wish to reinforce the support before you begin (particularly important for assemblage or encaustic sculptures).
- Wax can encapsulate collage materials and that will be sufficient to hold many collage elements in place. But wax is not a glue—if the material is heavy, you will need to use other methods such as glue, nails, screw or wire to securely attach the material to the substrate.
- When using collage materials make sure the materials are absorbent. Glossy photographs don’t work well, a thick gloss coating can act as a barrier to the wax.
- Fuse with care. As with all encaustic work each layer needs to be fused to the layer before. When working with collage materials extra precaution should be taken to ensure that the materials do not ignite. Instead of using a blowtorch to fuse, you may want to reach for a gentle embossing heat gun or a stylus with an iron nib. Always use common sense precautions, have a tub of water and a fire extinguisher close at hand.
- Dry organic materials. Pressed flowers or leaves need to be fully dried, not green.
Encaustic Collage Techniques:
There are many encaustic techniques that you can employ. Here are some to get you started:
- Layering – work the encaustic medium in thin layers.
- Glazing – thinning pigmented colours with additional encaustic medium will increase translucency for a glazing technique.
- Embedding – materials such as leaves, pressed flowers, fabric, and paper can be embedded between wax layers. For best results, choose thin objects that can be fully encapsulated in a layer of wax medium. Brush on the wax and then fuse.
- Subtractive impressions – press an item, such as a leaf or lace, into the wax and then remove it (or part of it) leaving its impression as a ghost image. You can then rub oil paint or pan pastels into the imprint.
- Dipping – works well for fibre-based, absorbent collage items such as paper or cloth. Try dipping the collage item into a pot of molten wax, then use an iron to flatten and fuse it into your painting.
- Drawings – add your own sketches to encaustic using tissue paper. The tissue paper will disappear when embedded in wax.
- Transfers – Photo transfers are wonderful in encaustic collage.
- Encaustic stylus – Draw with encaustic medium on top of your painting with an encaustic stylus. The stylus iron tip can be useful for fusing delicate collage materials in place.
- Stencils – on top of collage elements below layers of wax can be used to good effect.
What do you have to add?
What other collage technique have you tried? Please add your comments below, we would love to hear from you.
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