When I first started my Art Appreciation class, I didn’t think I would have anything to share with you from that class. I assumed it was all a bunch of reading and tests. I was wrong. It’s MAINLY reading and tests, but yesterday my teacher invited a guest artist to come and demonstrate his work. He does a type of painting called encaustic painting. I had never heard of this type of painting before, so it was very interesting to me.
Encaustic painting is done on wood. Paper or canvas would eventually get ruined due to the materials used. The artist began his demonstration and asked if anyone wanted to try it. Pretty much no one spoke up. I have a feeling that there are not many artists in the class, and they are only there because Art Appreciation is a require class, like Math and Composition. Well, since no one was speaking up, I said I wanted to try, so I got to do a painting!
To begin an encaustic painting you melt beeswax mixed with resin. This artist did his in a crock pot he got at goodwill. You don’t want to use a nice crock pot. It will no longer be a nice crock pot when you’re done. After the wax has melted, you take a block of wood and paint it with the beeswax mixture. Keep painting until you have built up a thick coat, then allow it to dry. This won’t take too long. After it hardens you take a chisel and carve the wax away like you are drawing a picture in it. Next you melt more wax and mix some kind of a pigment into it. I’m not sure what this artist used for pigment. He might have said but I was kind of caught up in my carving. After you’ve melted the colored wax, you paint over the top of your carved lines. Then you let this cool and you take a razor blade and scrape off all the excess wax. This takes quite awhile, but after you are finished, your carving shows up in the color you painted. It is really cool. Mine I did really simply, because our class is less than an hour, and I wanted to be sure I finished, so I just carved some leaves into the wax.
This is a very simple example, but this type of painting can be done very complexly. He had an example done by a friend of his who had carved a woman’s face. She had done many layers and she had done the teeth on a lower layer so that they looked like they were farther back in her mouth. It must have taken her quite awhile to do.
Yesterday I also began a new project in my Drawing 2 class. We have started learning about Print Making. Funnily enough, this also involves carving, and we were all given a set of chisels.
The blue cube in the picture is not part of the set, I used it to keep the chisel from rolling. The round end of the handle is a cap that you unscrew. It is hollow, so that you can store all the little tips inside.
The gray sheet that the chisels are on is what we are to carve into. You draw a picture or a design onto the rubber mat and then carve away the lines. Then you paint it with a roller and put it through a press with a sheet of paper and it prints what you carved. So far I’ve only gotten about halfway through my carving. I’ll finish it before Monday and then I’ll do the painting and printing at school.
So far this semester I am learning lot of new types of art. It has been really fun, and I am excited to see what I’ll be doing next!