Tag Archives: encaustic

Breaking Loose With Photo Encaustic

Guest Post by Paula Scott

As an artist, I often question who I am as an artist. Am I a photographer? A printmaker? An encaustic artist? A painter or mixed-media artist? You see, I work in all of these mediums and have worked in photography the longest; hence it is my most prolific area. There are no clear lines or boundaries for me when it comes to working in these different mediums. How does one begin to combine them and perhaps more intriguing, WHY would you combine them?

Curating and presentation of one’s work makes all the difference in the world; the choice made in the presentation can totally transform the piece. In the realm of photography, many have gone past the tradition of the glass and frame and now have so many ways in which to present their work. Even the kind of paper the image is printed on makes a huge difference. Photo encaustic offers a great alternative to the traditional presentation of photographic works.

Encaustic, which is bee’s wax in most cases, combined with a bit of dammar resin (the combination is referred to as encaustic medium), brings a very different quality to a photographic image. The image becomes more luminous and seems to glow from within, giving it a different kind of depth. The kind of paper you use to print your photograph on in combination with the wax, also dictates the outcome. The best part about this marriage of photo and wax is that that the image is not restrained under glass. It brings another level of intimacy to the viewer.

In this first example, “Bandelier,” the image was printed as a laserjet image, adhered via wax, to the board that was already ‘prepped’ with encaustic medium. Oil pigment was also used in many thin layers, which is another advantage to working in wax as it allows you to build up translucent layers adding even more depth to the final image. Think of it as glazing your photographic image. Bandelier

In  “Raven Boy II,” the image was printed on a thin, handmade Japanese paper called chiri. Chiri means “leftovers” and refers to the small pieces of dark mulberry paper bark that are left in, or added to the paper vat. The image was mounted to a burned birch panel, a few thin layers of encaustic medium were applied and additional oil pigment was selectively added in areas to balance out the tone.

Raven Boy II








You can see in the image what it looked like before adjustments were made and before it was printed.

Raven Boy

In the next image of the contemplative Buddha, there are a few more steps involved. Contemplative Buddah

The background of the image is a photograph of a leafless shrub shadow printed onto scrapbook paper (which had the image of the ‘map’ on it). It was then adhered to a small cradleboard. A few layers of encaustic medium were then applied and the next image, which is an inkjet print of Buddha’s profile, was trimmed and adhered with encaustic medium. The wax medium also makes the paper translucent, allowing the visual information underneath it to show through. It is an artistic choice.









In the final example, “Blue Line,” it is a macro shot of a surface in the Albuquerque Railyard (a worn surface of peeling paint with the edge of some spray art). The image was taken so that there is no reference to what the image is, which is an abstraction of what many would see as mundane. The example on the left is the image ‘as is.’ The one on the right is printed on watercolor paper, adhered to a small cradleboard and a few layers of encaustic medium is applied to the surface.

Blue Line

Blue Line







My work is often about spontaneity, experimentation, exploration of color and textures; offering the viewer a different perspective of the ordinary. Being an artist who works in a handful of mediums, I love to capture what would be considered mundane, and with these moments, celebrate them. It is in these details of life that often go unnoticed that I see as the essence of living in the moment. Combining mediums such as encaustic and photography offers me more ways in which to express this.

Process & Paradox ~ A Conversation Between Ideas, Process and Materials

Guest Post by Christine Herman

I’ve long been enamored with how the outer landscape is a mirror of the inner landscape. To me, the landscape is a threshold of beauty that resonates with the sense of the beyond. I’m constantly looking for ‘signs’ and metaphors in nature, which is the starting point for my creative work. ‘Process & Paradox’ is a result of three different mediums: monotype encaustic, charcoal rubbings and photos printed on mulberry paper. The charcoal rubbings were done on location or my collected natural ephemera brought back to my studio and completed there.  The photos were taken while traveling in Alaska, Oregon, Arizona, British Columbia, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Minnesota and pay homage to the familiar and ethereal qualities of the natural world. The photographic images and charcoal rubbings ultimately inspired the final component of these pieces—the monotype-encaustic paintings.

Processs and Paradox

Processs and Paradox. Monotype Encaustic, ©Christine Herman

Monotype Encaustic

Monotype encaustic combines a printmaking process with beeswax and demar resin using heat and pressure which releases the flow of pigments onto the paper. It is a painterly process that allows for a great deal of chance and happenstance which I appreciate.



Embody, Monotype Encaustic, ©Christine Herman

Visual Conversations

Images of forests, shorelines and fields are turned vertically, horizontally or arranged in a radial symmetry. I’ve done this intentionally to expand the viewer’s experience of place and to see with fresh eyes what is often taken for granted. They are abstracted emotive versions of my time spent in these stunning locales, the resulting images of which are visual conversations between ideas, process and materials.


Response, Monotype Encaustic, ©Christine Herman


Whatever the contours of the land, the quality of light or textures of particular rocks or plants, it is the feeling of a place that I want to recall. I’m intrigued by creative work that states ideas obliquely, telling something indirectly that I can never tell straight out.

Threads of Possibilities

The layers and segmented arrangements hint of the passage of time and the textures and subtle nuances found in nature. I love to explore the relationship between color and see what happens when they recede or advance, mix or separate. I follow the threads of possibilities that emerge revealing and concealing elements. I’m interested in how these layers transform, shape and alter one’s perception.



Sanctuary, Monotype Encaustic, ©Christine Herman


Christine is a practicing artist living in Albuquerque and is represented in several private and corporate collections. Christine’s work is also included in “Trail Guide: The Northland Experience through Poetry & Prints”, “Response” Prints & Poetry by Calyx Press and “Dust & Fire: Annual Anthology of Women’s Writings.” She was awarded a residency at the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Red Wing, Minnesota, to develop works on paper using experimental printmaking techniques. A life-long creative explorer, Christine continues her creative journey by combining several printmaking techniques including collagraph, woodcut, etching and paper sculpture. www.ChristineHerman.com