Encaustic Irony and Rust
Thought Bubble…Now rust would be an interesting conversation in an encaustic painting!
First hurdle. How do I get this intriguing organic substance for my art without wrestling a rusty piece of iron from the scrap yard into my home studio?
Big Box Hardware, here I come. A little aisle surfing and steel wool caught my eye and leapt into the cart!
Next hurdle. Break through the protective coating used on steel to prevent rust. Some iron products even have a thin coating of wax. As an encaustic artist, I appreciated the ‘iron’y.
In this case, however, steel wool has a microscopic oil layer.
More curiosity screen time led to a link about pickling steel, a process used to remove the protective coating. My grandmother was a pickling wizard. Pickled cucumbers, beets, and watermelon rinds; you name it, and out came the vinegar. I can say I finally have her with the pickled steel.
Now to soak the steel in vinegar, and then expose it to oxygen and moisture. A two-step process.
Then again, I’m a bit patience challenged. Why not speed this up and mix some pickle with some H20? One-step process!Encaustic painting with rust! How-to instructions and photos to get you started Click To Tweet
How to create rust for encaustic painting
- Glass dish
- Glass jar with lid
- Steel wool
- White vinegar
- Spray bottle
- Paint brush
- Set steel wool inside glass dish
- Mix 1 part vinegar to 1 part water in spray bottle.
- Spray steel wool with mixture and let sit for several hours or overnight
- Store rusty run off liquid in glass jar
- Create art
I use rust like paint for my encaustic art. Brush on, let the moisture evaporate, then fuse.
This seemed the safest way to produce rust. I encourage your own research.
This technique does produce a smell similar to sulfur — ventilate! Wear gloves and a surgical breathing mask so you don’t breath in the particles.
Enjoy encaustic painting with rust!
If you have a tip to share on rust technique, please join the conversation and leave comments below. Thanks for reading