Text and Photography by Joyce Wilson,
I read something rather strange recently, and I could certainly relate. It has been discovered that time actually moves faster the older we get. I’m considered an elder so I can testify to this as a reality. I promised to write an article every other month for this blog post. My last post was December 2018 and I’m shocked that it is now May, 2019. Time flies when you’re having fun and I’m always having fun, photographing, making art, sharing life with loved ones and sharing my LOVE of photography and art with eager students.
I still embrace the straight photographic image, but I’m always looking for a way to go beyond the ordinary and create personal work with the mark of an artist.
Modern technology blended with the techniques passed down through centuries gives us a powerful tool for experimentation and creating art, and one such tool is encaustic wax.
Enkaustikos – The word means “to burn in’. Three thousand years ago, a few enterprising Greek shipbuilders discovered a new use for the beeswax they used to caulk hulls. By adding pigments for color and resin for hardness, they created a painting medium with an unmatched depth and luminosity. Before long, encaustic art could be found everywhere, from painted ships to depictions of everyday life on urns.
A thousand years after the Greeks discovered it, painters in Egypt resurrected the medium, crafting exquisite portraits to decorate the mummies of their patrons. The modern resurgence of encaustic began in the 20thcentury. Mexican muralist Diego Rivera began painting with the medium in the 1920’s and in the 1950’s artist Jasper Johns further popularized its use. In the 1990’s encaustic became a process for fine art photographers to set their work apart and it’s an exciting and fascinating medium.
There are two methods to work with wax and images on paper.
One method is to work directly on the paper without a support and apply the wax in thin coats. The initial coat can be applied with the print placed on a hot griddle, and using a wide brush, apply the melted wax evenly across the print. After this first coat has settled, wax with color pigment added can be brushed randomly for effect.
The other method is to glue the photograph to a birch board using Elmer’s glue or an archival book binding glue. This method allows the hot wax to be poured over the image, or brushed on to build up a heavier layer with texture. This is a simple explanation of a process that takes about 8-10 steps to complete.
The equipment involved is relatively inexpensive and there is no need for a photographic darkroom.
I had the pleasure of visiting MOMA in San Francisco in April and was blown away with the exhibition “German Art After 1960”. I have been a long time fan of Gerhard Richter and Anselm Kiefer. Both artists use photography in various techniques combined with metal, oil paint, and collage. The images were stunning, and a great topic for the next blog…Inspiration vs. Imitation.
In the meantime, keep that camera focused and if you are ready for new adventures, join me in an upcoming workshop, or sign up for one of the Ernie Brooks Foundation Workshops and keep taking the classes offered through Santa Barbara City College.
Contact: Joyce Wilson – firstname.lastname@example.org 805-682-2955 joycewilson.com
June 27, 28, 29, 30 Imagine…a workshop beyond the ordinary
July 27, 28, 29 Kozo Paper, Gold/Silver Leaf and Resin with Photographs
August 10 EBF Workshop – Alternative Photography Techniques
August 24, 25 Encaustic Wax with Photographs
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER