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What's an Encaustic Monotype, Anyway?

Hey, there! It's been a while! On the verge of the new year, I wanted to share a little bit of a new process and fun art exploration I discovered during the latter part of 2023....

Encaustic Monotypes! OMG this has been so much fun. But let's rewind about a decade....

My husband and I had bought our "forever home" and he sweetly renovated the shed to make me an art-making space, complete with special work counters specifically designed for working with encaustics, which I was very interested in at the time. (Ignore my messiness, please!)

From the get-go, one of my favorite aspects of working with pigmented hot wax was the end-of-session clean-up... which, if you know me at all, is probably not something you'd expect me to say. BUT, let me explain why.

Working with encaustics means that you are heating up wax blended with pigments on a heated metal surface, which acts as your palette (see picture above, on the right). Then, while still hot and pliable, using a brush or another tool, you put it onto another rigid surface, like a wood panel, for example. At the end of your creative session, you need to clean the heated metal surface. I, being thrifty and all, hate to wait precious (and expensive!) art supplies, so instead of just wiping it away, I started making prints out of what was left on the palette. This was done by pressing paper down, and lifting it up (haha, so complicated!).

I absolutely LOVED the effects of this. The way the textures and layers of wax showed up on the paper... the end result is always a surprise. I started to create more and more and I just saved them... because, well, I loved them! But I also wasn't quite sure what to do with them. Some, I framed, while some waited in drawers for their next life. I also began making prints purposefully, instead of just "cleaning up", although the end result is still always a surprise... which is what I love about printmaking.

Fast forward to this year... I found some prints I LOVED... and created some new ones... and discovered that some were abstract and beautiful as is, while some begged me to bring something a little "extra" and a bit more representational to it... I experimented with adding charcoal, gouache, and other materials overtop the cooled wax. Again, I love the layers and texture that the cooling wax created on the paper and I didn't want to mess with that, but just add a bit more to create a new image.

Finally, I mounted some of these prints to wooden panels and got them ready to hang. And hanging they are! (And bringing me joy... yay.)

Check out some mounted monotypes that I have for sale here!

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