Painting With Wax

Encaustic is an ancient art technique that is still used today. However, it is very messy, somewhat dangerous, and requires specialized equipment and materials. An easier, if somewhat cruder, technique that I found is as follows:

(1) Purchase some purified beeswax and candlewax and place equal portions into an old tin can where they can then be melted together over the stove by placing in a pan of boiling water.
(2) Pour the molten wax into a shallow container that will serve as the “frame” for your picture. I constructed small wooden boxes for my pieces.
(3) After the wax has solidified, outline your picture by scratching the design with a stylus.
(4) Then shave slivers from appropriately colored crayons onto the surface, using your design as a guide.
(5) Carefully melt the crayon by touching it with the tip of a hot woodburning tool.
Interesting effects can be obtained as different colors blend together upon melting, and the surface can be easily scraped off if a mistake is made.
The three pieces shown below represent symbolically the various sections or chapters of three of Paul’s letters.

I Corinthians (1986)
In this piece, the circular divisions were made by imbedding plastic communion cups in the molten wax. Some of the detailed design was created by rubbing black ink into inscribed lines in the wax.
II Corinthians (1986)
Some variety in technique is shown in this piece by imbedding metal, porcelain or plastic objects in the molten wax of the bottom compartment.
Romans (1988)
This piece incorporates all of the techniques of the other two but adds further variety by filling some of the compartments of the box with plaster of Paris or with epoxy resin.