My Process

I started working with encaustic as a solution for my tendencies to overwork my paintings, particularly in acrylic and oil. All too often, I reach a point of beauty and grace in a painting, and then overwork and destroy the freshness of whatever was working in an effort to make it better. This doesn't happen in every painting, but it's extra heartbreaking when I overwork a painting to the point of no return, on a piece that I will end up havingonly an iPhone photo (or only a distant memory) of its MOMENT in which to remember it.  So I decided to try a process that forces me to really look at my work and absorb the decisions I'm making as the air changes the texture and position of the paint. Encaustic changes unpredictably with changing temperature and turbulent air, so I am forced to engage moment to moment in the bigger picture, if you will. In this process, I have to evaluate whats happening in the small area that is being manipulated by the heat, then work with the result when it shrinks back as it cools, and how that movement works into the overall piece of artwork. It either works or it doesn't. I'm constantly reevaluating my direction and shifting my expectations based on the movement and reaction of the encaustic. Its quite exhilarating! Some technical info: I'm using approximately 5 parts encaustic medium to 1 part damar resin. It's important not to allow your hot plate temp to get over 180 degrees, 220 is the danger zone. You should also have excellent ventilation and try not to work with wet oil paint, although oils and encaustic are friends. Acrylic is not a friend of encaustics, it is too slick and plastic there is no tooth on the surface onto which the encaustic can bind. Here is a video of what my heat process looks like up close...

Karen Haub Fine Art | karenahaub@gmail.com | 12285 World Trade Dr. #H, San Diego, CA 92128