April 29, 2011

Encaustic {Soul Music} [jana]


1 Wood panel board
Oil Paints
Pure Beeswax, tempered with 10% harder wax, like Carnauba or Damar Resin. (The surface would be too soft without this tempering that lends a surface.)
Pottery tools for scraping and engraving

And also, heat is needed, the fire, the crucible.

The palette, an electric griddle, stolen from the kitchen. It holds at a low temperature. Wait. It will take some time for the wax to heat through and become ready to use.

And then there are the tools to fuse the layers together, heat guns and torches, heated knives and spoons for burnishing, all weapons of transformation. Paper, for burying within, to be revealed or not, by choice.

Photocopies, shadows, to be transferred to the surface, leaving ghosts of meaning.

The wax is hot and honey-scent rising, consecrates the studio.


Layers down, clear, then colors. Buried notes and papers. No one will ever see them.

Each layer fused by torch and gun, permanence. The wax tempers and seals, layers built hard and uncompromising, a glassy surface, hiding richness.

Now for the knives. Potter’s tools, Razor blades. Choices, slices, removing the layers built so hard and well. Pull back the surface and find what you left behind, the pain and purpose of it, the promises obscured. And down to the wood.


You could always melt it all off, start over. The battle erased, forfeit.

The surface is battered, but now rich in depth now. Fuse once more with flame.

The transfer design must be rubbed in carefully to the still-warm wax, then saturated with water {baptized?} and washed away, leaving the trace resting like a prayer over the surface.



  1. I enjoyed this. It's mysterious where this is leading and then you get to the art at the end and it's revealed.

  2. I love your word choices--they're very sensory. The reader gets a feel for what's going on even without knowing about the art form.

    There are a lot of layers to this piece, as there appear to be in the art. I love how it blurs the line between prose and poetry.

  3. I feel like I was there with you.