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Cynthia works in the versatile and archaic medium of encaustic, in which the images are built up with layers and layers of colored bee's wax, usually incorporating other media as well. Her paintings are often stories, commentaries of how we cope with and enjoy the contradictions in life.
What is Encaustic Painting?
Encaustic Painting: also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added.
How it works: To begin, I melt down a mixture of beeswax and Damar resin crystals in a crock pot. This mixture takes all day. I then strain and pour the mixture into plastic containers making "bricks" of wax for future use. When I am ready to work, I re-melt the mixture on a pancake griddle and paint many layers of it onto a support of arches 140 lb watercolor paper that has been glued onto a piece of masonite or other board. I am then ready to paint by melting bricks of intense wax colors and oil sticks. I can also scrape, incise, in-bed, and transfer images and objects to the surface. Interesting textures can be created by simply changing the direction of the brush as I apply wax. After each layer of wax that I add to the surface I must fuse it with a heat gun. The heat binds each layer to the one set before it.
Care of Encaustic Paintings: Will it melt? Wax itself melts at 150° but this wax has Damar resin in it so it is much tougher. The wax painting will begin to move around 180°. Keep it out of direct sun and heat (especially in the hot trunk of a car). If the wax gets chipped it can be repaired with a cigarette lighter. The wax completely hardens in one year's time. It can be polished with a soft cloth. The surface can be susceptible to scratching so if the work is not being displayed keep in a slipcover or a box. ~ Cynthia