I love it when a group of friends organizes an afternoon workshop at my studio, especially if I have not worked with them before.
Yesterday, five such friends met for an afternoon of exploring composition, collage and beeswax – one of my favorite topics. It has something for everyone, no matter how experienced or brand new someone is to making art. Here’s the class outline:
- Exploring Encaustic Collage is an all-level workshop designed to introduce you to simple encaustic techniques and layering.This popular workshop allows you to use your own images or studio images to layer stories through translucent beeswax and mixed media.
The Project – create a narrative encaustic collage that tells a compelling story using photos and textures.
The Process – create encaustic collages on substrates. Explore effective story-telling composition. Enhance the wax and images with mixed-media techniques.
The Goal – enjoy learning about the beauty of beeswax as a mixed-media tool while developing your skills in collage composition.
We emphasized the practice of veining images with white tempera paint (which is beeswax friendly) to conceal, reveal and connect images and design elements. I promised one participant, who said she didn’t like any of her main images, that if she started working with the one she disliked the least, she would learn to love it. She did!
Here are some of the materials we worked with:
- Images from copyright-free web sources, old catalogs, magazines, personal digital photos printed on plain paper, ephemeral scraps and partial images
- Assorted collage paper, fiber, tissue
- Substrate – 5×7”-8×10” archival mat board, 140-300# watercolor paper, Bristol board, heavy drawing paper
- Glue sticks –Scotch permanent glue sticks if possible
- White Tempera Paint – (note: this does not seal the substrate)
- Dick Blick Matte White Acrylic
- Graphite pencils
- Flat paint brushes, 1”
- Tsukineko Walnut ink
- PrismaColor pencils
- Small stencils
- Rubber stamps, natural stamps (like bottle tops)
- Stamping ink, black and/or brown
- Mats for isolating compositional elements
- White (clear) beeswax
- Metal leaf
- Book foil
- Pigment sticks, wax metallic finish
- Needle pottery tool or other incising tool
- Equipment for melting beeswax
- Hake brushes
In the video below you can see the process and the results.
I wish you could have been with us during the final discussion and critique to hear the words of the artists as they explained how their stories developed while they worked on their collages.
This is an amazing exercise. You never know why you choose certain images intuitively until the whole narrative starts coming together and making sense. It’s kind of like choosing Tarot cards to find a message for yourself. Trust the process!