Friday, November 5, 2010


Firstly, thanks to all of you in the blogger sphere who are keeping track of my encaustic progress and thanks for the advice and hints. It has made it easier for me to confidently go ahead and make my encaustic medium this afternoon. Isn't it silly that even after 40 years as an artist, playing with all sorts of media, that I feel a bit nervous about a new medium? Maybe it's the threat of health hazards, or working with heat, or maybe it's just because other people see it as difficult or dangerous - don't know.
Because I am concerned about the wax melting in the Queensland heat, I have gone with a slightly higher percentage of damar than most 'recipes' recommend. Hope it works.
100 grams damar to 400 grams beeswax.
So here we go with the pics.
 ...raw damar crystals [it is resin from a tree found in India and East Asia and is commonly used as a glaze in foods as well as in art materials],
...I used a 'Bamix' hand held blender to grind the crystals - worked really well,
...sifted the damar outside - a bit powdery,
 ...actually not all that powdery - lots of bug bits in the mix - oh well, I like wabi sabi,
...found my block of beeswax I've been carrying around from Caulfield Tech days in the 1960's [hi Jan, I'll bet you have some in the back of the cupboard as well!!],
...scraped the worst of the gunk off the wax,
...melted chunks of beeswax in a 'double boiler', actually my equally old electric frypan with a cake tin inside - just as well I'm over baking cakes these days,
...added the damar gradually and mixed well,
...topped up with the rest of the beeswax and after an hour of melting and mixing, it was done,
...used a small metal ladel to pour the wax into little cup cake papers [that's all I had on hand],
...this is not the true colour of the wax - it is not as yellow. I even mixed a bit of black shoe polish into a couple - seemed to work well,
...and fortunately the paper will come away from the wax reasonably easily,
...voila!!! upturned little wax tablet. Delicious. This is more like the true colour of the wax.
...not worried about the impurities.
I plan to use the wax as a surface medium to create a subtle, diffused, mysterious sort of finish. I won't be using strong colours - maybe a bit of brown/black/blue created with shoe polish. I have given away all my oil paints.
I'll post more once I try them out over the weekend, this space.

Thanks for taking an interest :)


  1. N- Looks like it haws turned out really well. Just shows it was worth holding onto that ball of wax - now you have vintage encaustic wax mediumk - will give a subtle gold glow to the work. B

  2. I have taken 3 encaustic workshops and have from time to time applied clear wax over collages- I love the effect- it creates a depth that is lovely. I know you will incorporate encaustic into your work beautifully.