Years ago I purchased some oil sticks to play with, not having any idea that they would lead me here, to share my encaustic experimentation with you. Searching for information about using R&F pigment sticks with encaustic, I found All Things Encaustic and I was delighted to connect with Ruth who is from Toronto—I am also in Canada, just a little distance away in Westport.
Recently I have been working with plaster on jute or burlap before adding layers of wax. In this post, I share my experimental work and process .
As I love to work with plaster and cement, I was delighted to find the book Plaster Studio by Stephanie Lee and Judy Wise. I have used some of their ideas as jumping off points for my own work.
“Plaster is a luscious, absorbent surface-comparable to the texture of an egg shell” (pg 13)
A friend recently told me about venetian plaster. This has opened up another avenue for my encaustic experimentation. Venetian plaster is a wall and ceiling finish consisting of plaster mixed with marble dust. Venetian plaster can be tinted, or colored using natural colorants and can be burnished to create a highly polished, rock-hard, marble-like finish but, when left unburnished, it has a matte finish that is rough and stone-like. [source: wikipedia]
What I love most about encaustic is the texture that can be built up in many layers. But I have also discovered that great texture can be created using a plaster on jute for a base.
My Experiments | Preparing Plaster Surfaces for Encaustic Art
Experiment One: Plaster on Jute
I spread a sheet of 6 mil plastic on my work table as the plaster can be messy. Sometimes I use a runny plaster if i am going to adhere the jute or fabric directly to a board. This photo shows this with the jute adhered with runny plaster to a board with canvas paper surface.
Experiment Two: Plaster on Burlap
This panel shows a piece of burlap adhered to hardboard with wax. The second photo shows this piece with thin plaster spread over it and some alcohol inks beginning my design. And the third photo shows a detail, look carefully and you can see the board beneath the burlap wisps.
Experiment Three: Jute & Plaster Book Cover
Jute was laid on a piece of plastic and the back area and front cover area were coated with venetian plaster with the spine left as jute, although a bit of plaster did find its way there. Then two pieces of archival mat board were glued to the other side of the plaster covers.
Experiment Four: Cracked Plaster on Burlap
This next surface will be for a painting, but here you will see only the beginning. This ground is made from plaster the consistency of heavy cream to cover one side of burlap. When it was set but not too hard, I picked it up and rolled it and folded it in several directions. I then glued it to a piece of board.
All these plaster surfaces will be worked with encaustic medium and alcohol inks.
Have you used venetian plaster as a ground for Encaustic painting? I would love to hear from you about your experience. Have a question about preparing a plaster ground on jute or burlap? Add a comment below and I will be happy to respond.