Monday, May 20, 2013

Encaustic Transfer

One of the reasons I wanted to do encaustics was because of the transfer technique.
  I'd tried it before with

different medium withtout much success.  And the first time I tried it with beeswax wasn't much better. I used a photocopy of a 1920's era photograph because I wanted to keep the photograph to use in pother projects. When I applied the photocopy to the wax, the wax was still warm and pliable.  It turned out to be a massive failure, many parts of the photograph didn't take, the paper wouldn't come away after I wet it down and all I was left with was a blackened blob.
But after talking to Greg Flint, a dedicated encaustic artist, at the Art Bomb show this past weekend,  I had more hope. He told me that when he tried it first, he used warm wax, which was the way I tried it. He failed too. Greg  recommended waiting until the wax had ctrying it with cold wax. It's just been amazing to me how helpful and encouraging all the artists of the Village have been.  they've offered me tips on techniques and supplies and haven't hesitated a moment to share their methods. 
I found much more success.  so far I've only tried it with a conte/crayon/oil pastel drawing of a mermaid which I call the Melusine. I wish I'd taken more photos of the process. The first photo is of the drawing I used.

The second one is the finished product.
I had started with a thick walnut colored board of wood I found at a thrift store.  the kind crafters used to do decoupage on in the 70's and 80's.  I painted it seafoam green with acrylic paint. Then I covered it with about three layers of white beeswax
medium to give it a smoother ground. 
I cut my drawing to size and laid it face down on the board and burnished it first with a spoon and then with the rounded handles of my Bare Escentuals make up brushes in the foundation application size and then the eye shadow size.  These worked great for getting into all the crevices and dips.  I could actually hear and see the paper adhering to the wax.  I finished it off with the rounded end of a bone folder and then carefully peeled the drawing away.  I didn't wet the paper, at all this time. And it worked beautifully.  It looked a bit more antique when finished because I didn't catch every spot but I wanted it to look ancient.  I then added color to the shell in her hand and in her mermaid skirt and finished the edges off with gold leaf.  This process took more time to do than the actual transfer.  I knew these would apply pretty well, because I tried  the word "Berlin" in charcoal on the piece that didn't work out which unfortunately I've already covered over with colored wax for another project.
I'm going to make an attempt to do another piece using a photocopy.  And will take photos of the steps I use.

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