Today I’m bringing you my latest project for Gwen Lafleur's Artist Tribe. This time I'm working on an encaustic mixed media panel featuring a BoHo Chic Butterfly that I coaxed into revealing his Arty Impressionistic side. He's the smallest butterfly of three from Gwen's BoHo Butterflies Stencil and I just love him. I've chosen to capture him under luscious layers of encaustic wax, but you can use the super simple stencil technique I'm sharing later in this post to make a focal point for just about any type of mixed media project.
It’s unfortunate that encaustic medium and acrylic paint don't place nice together in the sandbox. But it’s forced me to use other art supplies in my stashand, and that’s a good thing. I relied on Faber-Castell Pitt Big Brush Pens to add most if the color throughout this project. These markers are filled with highly pigmented India Ink and I love the way they smudged and blended over the Ampersand Encausticbord that I used as a substrate. I also got to play with gilding wax and paint sticks.
I laid down the colors of an Indian Summer for the first layer of my panel, blending the India Ink with a spritz of water and then moving the color around; sometimes with my fingers,, sometimes with a dry brush.
Next I added pattern to the background with Gwen's Not Afraid to Try and Ornamental Flower Screen stencils. To get a crisp, but muted look I used a black Pitt Pen to color directly onto the end of a makeup sponge and then transferred the color onto my panel through the stencils. I sealed this layer with a coat of clear encaustic medium applied with a brush and fused the wax flat with my heat gun.
For the third layer, I encapsulated a section of a vintage- wood block- rice paper print into the warm wax.
While the wax was still warm, I laid down Gwen's Decorative Filament Ornament Stencil and incised the wax with a bookbinding awl.
I donned gloves and spread an R&F Oil Stick over the top of the entire piece, rubbing the color onto the carved lines. Covering your panel in a coat of black paint can be daunting but never fear, the excess paint comes off easily with a little coconut oil on a paper towel. Then I gently fused the panel until it just glistened, so as not to disturb the incised lines.
I got my Pitt Big Brush pens out again to give it another pop of color. This time I colored directly onto the wax. Since I hadn't added any more wax, there was no need to fuse this time.
I shopped my own stash for more encaustic friendly supplies to use. "And what, to my wondering eyes did appear..." but my jar of Treasure Gold Gilding Wax just waiting for the perfect project. At first I used it just to create a ring of gold around the center of my panel. But then I went on to incise it as well, creating a ring of leaves using Gwen's Christmas Poinsettia Stencil, (and you thought poinsettias were just for Christmas...). I darkened the incised lines with a green Pitt Pen.
Stepping back, I decided that I wanted the Decorative Filagree ornament to become part of the background. So I pushed it farther back into the painting by wiping off the blue ink from the Pitt Pens with a baby wipe. (Since it had't been fused in yet removing the color was a breeze. Had this not been the case, I would have just scraped off the wax to reveal the previous layer.) Then I lightly fused again to seal in this layer and create the base for the next.
I've been waiting for just the right project to use Gwen's new BoHo Butterflies stencil and this was it. I transformed my butterfly from BoHo Chick to Arty Impressionistic with a super simple technique. All you need is your stencil, two pieces of rice paper, a make up sponge and a few juicy Pitt Big Brush Pens.
Stack two piece of rice paper on top of each other with the "rough" sides of both pieces facing up. Color one end of a cosmetic sponge with a Pitt Pen and then use the sponge to stencil your image on the top sheet of the stacked papers. Remove the stencil and use "juicy" Pitt Pens to color in the stenciled outline. When you've finished coloring, remove the top sheet. The bottom sheet will contain a "Bleed Through Ghost Print" to use as a focal point in your mixed media projects. Use a paint brush dipped in water to outline the image. This will allow you to rip/tear the image out without leaving any hard lines.
I burnished my butterfly onto the warm wax with the back of a spoon, sealed him in with another layer of encaustic medium, and fused the panel with my heat gun.
Then just for fun, I added some spark with splatters of white encaustic paint followed by another light fuse.
I couldn't help but add one more layer to tie it all together. I really liked the circle of Poinsettia leaves in the layer below. Although I could still see it peeking through the border in some places I wanted it to be more prominent. So I applied my white Pitt Pen to a makeup sponge and used it to stencil leaves around the border. This was followed by a quick final fuse and I was done.
I'm still considering my options for displaying my panel. I want to come up with something creative. Does anyone have any ideas to share?
Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to spend with me.
Hugs until next time, Jill