I spent an absorbing 4 hours at R & F Paints in Kingston, NY last Saturday. R&F is a leading maker of encaustic supplies and they offer a mini workshop the third Saturday of each month. Encaustic is a beeswax and damar resin mixture (90% beeswax, I believe) that was used by the Egyptians for tomb portraits around 2000 years ago, and the portraits are as beautiful today as they were then. Let's just say, it's a very archival medium! Anyway, a few years ago I took a class at the Woodstock School of Photography with Fawn Potash on using encaustic with photographs. For more information about encaustics, techniques and materials (also workshops), I refer you to their website, www.rfpaints.com.
A few years ago I printed macro portraits of roses on kitikata paper (a thin, semi-translucent Japanese paper) and dipped them in the wax. The effect was lovely - translucent, delicate.
This time I mounted photos (printed on Epson Velvet Fine Art Paper -- although any matte paper will work) on blocks of wood. I lightly stained the sides ebony and pasted the photos on the wood with mat media. The images were brushed with wax, then annealed/bonded/smoothed with a heating tool -- similar to a creme brulee torch.
Encaustic wax gives a beautiful surface - it's soft, yet has a satin sheen and total archival quality. Because of the resin, the wax hardens. It will not melt or soften, even during the hottest summer.
I kept the size small - these are 5x5. I wanted an intimate experience with the images.
Some artist friends were at my house the other night and thought they had a fairy-tale quality to them. I definitely will be continuing with these.
I will be showing these at my gallery, www.riverwindsgallery.com and at my pop-up truck during the Beacon Open Studios, September 24 -25th.