Encaustic on Canvas

I began working in encaustic in 2009 and developed my encaustic process during a 3-year intensive studio practice and study of the medium.  Recent innovations in encaustic materials have allowed me to experiment to paint larger, thinner and on canvas while still maintaining the primary properties of translucency and opulance that make encaustic such a rich medium for my sea and nature themes.

The encaustic process involves heating pigment-embedded wax on a hot palette.  As soon as my paint-laden brush leaves the palette, it begins to harden.  Each paint mark made on canvas has to be reheated to fuse to the canvas and to previous marks and layers.  In a medium-sized canvas, I have laid more than a hundred layers and have fused each with either a high-heat air gun or a small iron.  This is a labor intensive, messy, hot, uncomfortable process that relies on an artist's ability to “go with the flow” and manipulate the materials to her end.  I work on a flat easel, standing, and use gravity as well as brushes and palate knives to help move the paint.

Traditionally, encaustic paintings are made with beeswax paints on small, hard surfaces.  I use a combination of waxes and pigments, including a small amount of beeswax.  

See more of Ruth's encaustic paintings: