WaxCentric Update, and September 27 Meeting Info

WaxCentric Friends,

Fall is finally here, and it is time to learn new skills, make new friends, and renew art friendships. Not only is WaxCentric coming out of a long hiatus, but we have a new home! Join me for a WC studio open house on Sunday, Sept. 27, 12pm-2pm. 

Last Fall I was juried-in as a new studio artist at The Foundry Art Centre, St. Charles, MO.  A double-studio on the river side of the building came available at the end of June. Updates to the sprinkler system were done in early July, and 6 days of electrical updates were completed last Friday.

IMG_01I started moving in 2 weeks ago: moving boxes by car, painting walls, cleaning the floor, assembling shelving units, laying out table placements on the floor with tape for the new electrical drop-boxes (thank you Foundry and city of St. Charles!!!). I am about 50% moved in. Next week I hope to make and install tables, move my large flat files, press, and the rest of the studio stuff.

The new space will start with:

  • 4, 36″x80″ work tables with dedicated hot plates, heat guns and support materials and tools for encaustic. (Tables can me moved as needed for bigger projects.)
  • Up to 4 chairs per table, as needed for participants and projects
  • a 24″x48″ press bed etching press for printing encaustic-plexi plate monoprints/monotypes as well as traditional etchings and collagraphs.
  • a printmaking work bench for inking plates and rolling up Akua water-based inks
  • a Paula Roland Hot Box for encaustic monoprints/monotypes
  • a large drying rack for class/workshop projects.
  • a double-high flat file for storage demo/work station
  • storage shelves for the studio, as well as class projects in progress
  • some bulk materials that can be ordered at discount (beeswax, damar crystals, papers, …) and available for purchase by class/workshop participants.

RiverI will start offering open-studio access in October, and a combination of class/workshops and open-studio time in November. I will be working on scheduling my classes, as well as WaxCentric workshops and meetings next week. Tentatively, studio hours will be Tues-Sat., 10am-4pm (working around calendar holidays, and local events).

In the meantime, pencil in a party! Come party with me for a WC studio open house on Sunday, Sept. 27, 12pm-2pm. I will have snacks and beverages. (Bring something to pass if you want to, I never turn down someone else’ treats!) I can’t wait to hear about what everyone has been working on. Then go enjoy Oktoberfest in Old St Charles http://www.historicstcharles.com/includes/events/Oktoberfest/774/).

Along with Oktoberfest, there is run on the historic streets on Sunday, and so many streets will be closed earlier in the day. The Foundry parking lot is going to be locked before noon, but will be open and available at noon. Should be clear on Clark to get to the Foundry at noon.

The Foundry doors will be unlocked, so come up to the mezzanine by the stairs at the front and back of the building, or by elevator at the back of the building. My studio, #7-8, is on the river side of the building.

I will be working on moving in, and will be in and out between 10am and 4 pm Tuesdays – Friday. Come see me in studio #7-8.

Can’t wait to see everyone,


Julie Snidle: Make Your Own Transfer Paper !

Thank you Julie for your guest post, “Make Your Own Transfer Paper!”

“Here’s a recipe for making transfer papers in colors YOU want.

You will need

  • Newspaper to cover your work area
  • Disposable gloves
  • Respirator. It is always recommended that a respirator be worn when working with powdered pigments.
  • Tracing paper, medium weight
  • Powdered pigment or ground-up pastel (approx. 1 t. for each 9×12 sheet)
  • Denatured alcohol (available at hardware stores)
  • Measuring spoon, teaspoon or larger
  • Small glass dish
  • Small foam brush


Place about 1 teaspoon of powdered pigment into a dish. Add the same amount or a little more of denatured alcohol. Stir until smooth and about the same consistency as light cream. Using a small foam brush, drag the color back and forth assertively to work it into the paper. There is no actual binder; the mere action of rubbing the pigment into the surface is sufficient. The alcohol will evaporate, leaving behind a thin layer of color.

When the paper is dry, gently wipe the surface with a clean rag to remove excess pigment. After a few uses, the dust will dissipate and the paper will behave properly. A sheet can last several years!

Julie Snidle with thanks to Artists Magazine”


David Fielding: WaxCentric Demo Artist, 7-20-14

IMG_0985David Fielding presented a thoughtful, insightful demonstration of his encaustic painting process, along with a Power Point presentation for the July 20th meeting held at the St. Louis Artist’s GuildDavid is Instructor of Fine Art and Gallery Director at Three Rivers College. He hosted our Encaustic Invitational exhibit last March in the Tinnin Center Gallery. His work can be found online: http://davidfielding.weebly.com. 24 photos from the event can be found on the WC MeetUp site: http://www.meetup.com/WaxCentric/photos/23361152/.

Thank you David for answering all of our questions! Below find more information about his process, and replies to questions regarding finding a gallery.

“Here is a quick over view of my process

  • I take a photograph and open it  in Photoshop.
  • I crop the image 1/4″ lager than the scale I am working with.
  • I use one of the pre-set filters in Photoshop, I normally use “Dry Brush”
  • I print the image. I use a normal printer and have found that regular print paper works the best for me.
  • I trim the excess paper off the image.
  • I use 4” plastic putty knife to apply a thin even coat of wood glue to ¼” MDF board. I pour about a quarter size drop in the middle of the MDF, and work it from the center out with the knife. Save the edges of the MDF for last. There will be excess glue.
  • I attach the image so it’s’ edges just slightly over hang the edges of the MDF. If you have trouble with this step try making the IMG_1073image bigger. Starting in the center and working towards the edges burnish the image with the back of spoon.
  • I flip the MDF over and trim the edges of paper that are over hanging. I have found it easier to complete this step while the glue is still damp. It will not take long for the glue to set up, you could even speed it up by applying a little heat with a heat gun. Normally I work a day ahead so I am letting them rest for a day, but it doesn’t seem necessary to wait more than 10 – 15 minutes.
  • I apply a coat of encaustic medium over the surface and use a heat gun to smooth it. I want to see the medium going into the paper.
  • After the wax has cooled a bit I use a 1” putty knife to scrap most of the wax off. This is an important step because it gives the wax a little tooth for the pastel.
  • I will build up the texture and under-painting with pigmented wax. I use quite a bit of medium to pigment because I want it to be translucent.
  • I use Sennelier oil pastels to work in some detail and make the image look more like an oil painting. I have a set of landscape and a set of portrait pastels that seem to have the colors I like to use.
  • I will lightly fuse the pastel layer. I am trying to just make the wax shine, I will repeat this step several times.
  • I use a verity of tools to push the wax around and will often pant wax over the pastel layers before I am satisfied with the piece. Sometimes you do not have to do very much to the image for it to work.”


0007I have been a galleried artist for over thirty years now, but I have been represented by the same dealers for most of that time. Most of them came to me and I had an introduction to the others. In all cases I knew many of the artists that they represented. I do think it is important to choose your dealer wisely. Visit the gallery a couple of times. Think about how does your work fit in. If you know artists represented by the dealer ask them what their experience is like with the gallery. It is not an overnight process. Most dealers I know have way too many artists and are approached by artists of all skill levels almost daily. It doesn’t mean they don’t take new artists on, because they do. You should be aware that just because you are taken on by a dealer it doesn’t mean that they will sell or even show your work.

How to take care of these works

I don’t think they need any special care other than to be careful with the edges. One of my favorite qualities of encaustic is the way the outside edges build up. But they are fragile and prone to chipping. Framing them should protect and show off the edges. I like to use a nice floater frame. The pastel bonds with the wax but it does take a few months for the wax to cure all the way out. If the work gets dusty you should be able to clean it with a soft rag just like any other painting.”

Thank you to Kathryn Nahorski, Executive Director at the St. Louis Artist’s Guild for hosting our meeting.


Missouri Encaustic Artists Highlighted in MAC Article

Barbara MacRobie, Public Information Coordinator for the Missouri Arts Council, wrote a beautiful article about encaustic arti1sts in Missouri for the July 2014 online newsletter: Bees, Sticky Trees, and Blowtorches: Encaustic Painting Enthralls Missouri Artists (pdf).

The 15 page article showcases many of our WaxCentric members, as well as introduces us to new artists across the state. The following WC members who were interviewed by phone for the article include:

Sheri Goldsmith
Keith Kavanaugh
Mary Beth Shaw
Lisa Sisley-Blinn
Laura Skroska
Stella Spalt
Julie Snidle
Linda Wein

The article touches on each artists connection to the medium, as well as statements about inspiration, intent and process. A well written, up-beat overview of encaustic in general, and artists wielding torches and hot paint!


March 2014: Encaustic Invitational at Three Rivers College

10 WaxCentric members who work with encaustic as a primary medium will be exhibiting March 7-March 28, at the Tinnin Center Gallery, Three Rivers College, Trcc.edu. (No reception.)  Tinnin Center Gallery: http://trcc.edu/tinnin/tinnincenter.php.

Artists in this exhibit

posterCathryn Loos
Julie Snidle
Laurie Blakely
Laura Skroska
Linda Wein
Lisa Sisley-Blinn
Mary Beth Shaw
Michael Corson
Mike Albers
Sheri Goldsmith

Works are viewed primarily by students, faculty, and interested members of the community. Artists were selected from within WaxCentric based on quality of work, and emphasis on the use of the encaustic medium.

Special thank you to David Fielding, Instructor of Fine Art and Gallery Director for offering us this opportunity.

Images from the exhibit:






















































November 2013: WaxCentric Member Exhibit at SCCAC

Postcard: WaxCentric at St. Charles County Arts Council

16 WaxCentric members will be exhibiting original fine art November 2-30, at the Lillian Yahn Gallery, St. Charles County Arts Council, O’Fallon, MO. There will be a public reception on Saturday November 30, 5-7pm. Come meet the artists!

Artists in this exhibit:

  • Michael AlbersWaxCentric at SCCAC Poster
  • Laurie Blakely
  • Michael Corson
  • Julie Dubrovillet
  • Sheri Goldsmith
  • Jessica Hankins
  • Stacy Krieg
  • Cathryne Loos
  • Noemi Oyarzabal
  • Rachel Santel
  • Lisa Sisley-Blinn
  • Laura Skroska
  • Stella Spalt
  • Janet Frazee Wade
  • Linda Wein
  • Mark Witzling

For more information regarding the exhibit, please contact Lisa, waxcentric@gmail.com

October ’13 News

Happy October! Time for tricks and treats.

Trick: No October meeting due to presenter canceling. First time in our WC history, but it is not a bad thing to have more time to work on your art!

Treats: Opportunities to take advantage of yet this month. Consider  this a “mobile” meeting,  much like door to door trick-or-treating. Bags open now:

The deadline for uploading images for the WaxCentric exhibit at the St. Charles County Arts Council is today. Upload images and information to either of these locations, whichever is easier: http://www.meetup.com/WaxCentric/photos/17659142/, or, http://www.meetup.com/WaxCentric/files/.  A copy of the exhibit application, CFA9-30-13 is here: http://files.meetup.com/3454072/CFA9-30-13.docx. If you need help, email me: Lisa, waxcentric@gmail.com.

Quick Reference:

  • Submit up to 6 images.
  • October 1-21. Online image submission
  • If you cannot come on Saturday, November 2, drop off work with Julie S. at her studio this week on Monday and Friday from 10-4. Call first. I will pick work up from her and hang it for you.
  • November 2. Saturday, 10am-1pm. Hang exhibit (bring a hammer)
  • November 30. Closing Reception 5-7pm, take down exhibit
  • Entry fee: $15.00. Bring Nov. 2 with exhibit application.
  • SCCAC will handle all sales with a 20% commission.
  • Art submissions must use some form of wax either in the process of creation, or in the final piece (encaustic, cold wax, crayon, …)
    **See the application for all details: http://files.meetup.com/3454072/CFA9-30-13.docx

More …

1. Things to do:

2. Workshops:

  • VLAA. 2 more workshops in the current Business Edge series: “MARKETING BASICS & PROFESSIONAL PRESENTATION Monday, Oct. 28 (7:00 to 9:30 p.m.)”, and, “YOUR ART, YOUR BRAND: AN ARTIST’S GUIDE TO BEING NOTICEABLE AND GETTING NOTICED Monday, Nov. 11 (7:00 to 9:30 p.m.).” $10 each in advance; $15 at the door. Info and registration form here: http://vlaa.org/?view=Workshops
  • News from Nikki D. May in Paducah: “Crystal Neubauer, an awesome artist from Chicago, is going to be in Paducah November 8 and 9th doing a two day encaustic and collage workshop. She’s worth a trip from STL!!” https://ephemerapaducah.worldsecuresystems.com/BookingRetrieve.aspx?ID=17786

3. CFA (call for art):

4. Articles on WC blog: https://waxcentric.wordpress.com/

5. Other Blogs:

6. Recent news:

Looking forward to seeing everyone on Nov. 2 to hang work at SCCAC, and on Nov.  30. Closing Reception 5-7pm, take down exhibit.

Guest Post: Laurie Blakely

On August 25 numerous intrepid WC explorers took a road trip to Makanda, IL where we enjoyed a beautiful day with Laurie Blakely. Laurie presented an engaging studio visit and demo with encaustic and ceramics. We also viewed her sculptural painting exhibit at Anthill Galleries, in the heart of the Shawnee Forest



My journey to encaustic painting was a circuitous one. My background is mainly in ceramics. After years of creating clay vessels and sculpture I was  looking for ways to expand the possibilities of  my medium.

I asked myself two questions:

  1. How can I free my forms from the limitations of gravity (i.e. having to stand up, be balanced, etc.)?
  2. How can I create a “world” for these forms to inhabit (i.e. break from the tradition of mounting pieces on pedestals with an aura of empty space around them.)?

I explored several options and encaustic best met my objectives. And like many other artists, I was drawn to the “naturalness” of the wax; the smell, the organic nature of the medium. Encaustic seemed a perfect fit for clay– beeswax and mud.

Eventually, I developed my own idiosyncratic method for creating “sculptural paintings” by combining ceramic sculpture with encaustic painting.

The Process

Emergence. Detail.

Emergence. Detail.

First I carve intricate forms in white earthenware. Sometimes, they are so delicate I need a template for support to hold the clay as I carve. My templates are all bisque fired (unglazed) ceramic forms and I rarely use the same template twice. I usually spend several months immersed in the process of sculpting, glazing and firing before I move onto the process of painting and gilding.

After they are bisque and sometimes glaze-fired, the ceramic sculptures are mounted on board using an all-purpose, heat-resistant adhesive. Then, onto painting. Clay is a very receptive substrate for  encaustic paint though it can require some patience to achieve a smooth, bubble-free surface. I prefer to use a heat gun to fuse the wax, because of the control and gentle heat sometimes required on the 3-dimensional planes.

I often embellish my pieces with 22-carat gold leaf. The portions of the sculpture to be gilded are first glazed to provide a smooth, non-porous substrate. Then I brush on a slow-set, oil-based size (Rolco) and wait 10-12 hours. When the surface is tacky, I apply loose leaf gold with a sable brush and wait three days until I touch it again. When the size has thoroughly hardened, I can clean up the gilding by gently wiping away the loose pieces and burnishing with my fingertips. Any gilding on the wax can be cleaned up by lightly scraping it away with sharp clay tools or my fingernails.



The Idea

Most of my work explores the ideas of transformation and metamorphosis.  My sculptures are sometimes multi-layered with one sculptural  form opening to another form inside it. These relief forms change the architecture of the surface. I use encaustic to visually and physically join the sculptural components to each other and to the background. I aim for a sense of unity and  dimensionality—to be able to look “into” the painting– past the surface into layers that shift, open or reveal. More work at www.laurieblakely.com

 Pictures from the trip can be found on the WC MeetUp.com site: http://www.meetup.com/WaxCentric/photos/16991672/.

Guest Post: Vent-a Fume by Stacy J. Krieg

Stacy Krieg is a new member to WC. She comes to us from Mission, KS. Stacy recently visited my studio where we talked about encaustic practice and materials, studio safety and venting. Enjoy this informative article about her experience with Vent-a-fume.

Stacy's studio with Vent-a-Fume on the left.

Stacy’s studio with Vent-a-Fume on the left.

I recently purchased a vent-a-fume unit and wanted to share my experience with you.  I was having some issues with breathing in the fumes from the encaustic paints so I started to investigate options on the market to help vent my studio.  The only vent specifically made for encaustic paints that I came across is vent-a-fume, http://www.ventafume.com.  The company is based in Buffalo, NY and has been in business for over 20 years.  They started in the business supplying ventilation systems to schools, ceramic shops, and industrial plants.  A few years ago, they started working with encaustic painters to specifically design a unit to meet the needs of this medium.

Due to the fact that I was going to invest quite a bit of money (approximately $400-$500), I decided to give the company a call and get additional information.  I believe I spoke with one of the owners and he was great at providing me confidence in the product and answering my questions.  Since the company is trying to work in our market, he even upgraded my motor without any additional cost.


The unit came in two boxes and when it arrived I thought – oh boy, what did I get myself into?  Ha.  My sweet husband installed the unit in about 4-6 hours and the only complaint I got from him was that he had to cut a hole in our house.  The hole has to be cut so the vent can push all the fumes outside.  The standard unit hole size is 4 inches (same as a dryer vent).  Since I opted for the more powerful motor, we had to cut a 6-inch hole.


Vent-a-Fume installed.


The unit that I purchased was the bench mounted unit, size 27 “ diameter vent.  The vent is rather large but fits perfectly over my palette.


I am completely 100% satisfied with this product.  Before installation, I could only work around the medium for about an hour before I got sick to my stomach, headaches, swollen throat, etc.  Now, I can work down there day and night and I smell nothing.  I try to fuse most of my work by the vent also, as temperatures are very high with heat guns, torches, etc.

I would highly recommend this unit and would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.

My email is kriegsj@yahoo.com.

Stacy J. Krieg

Guest Post: Cathryne Kulick Loos, MFA

Shellac Burn
Burning shellac onto an encaustic surface is fun and visually stimulating.

Red Bouquet

Red Bouquet. Encaustic with Shellac Burn

Last May (2012) several members of WaxCentric came to my Kirkwood studio for a demo of shellac burn on encaustic surface.  Attending members participated in the fun by creating their own shellac burns.

This blog post provides a written followup to that experience. Hope you give it a try.  It really enhances the encaustic process.


– Brushes/rags
– torch:  brulle or propane
– fire extinguisher
– fireproof surface placed under the project
– create image on solid surface, such as, wood, plaster or fired clay slab
– encaustic medium (purified beeswax and damar resin)
– shellac:  amber and/or clear
– colored powders: Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments or dry pastel scrapings
– shellac tinted with mica powder


Circle Within Circles. Encaustic with Shellac Burn

Circle Within Circles. Encaustic with Shellac Burn

Before applying liquid shellac, I prepare a solid surface with several layers of encaustic medium.  Each new layer is fused to the layer below. The layers can be different colors, if so desired.  You can also apply hot beeswax to the first two layers (usually less expensive than encaustic medium).  Also, you can work either abstractly or with an image.

There are two types of shellac burn:  wet and dry.

Both Methods

Apply a thick layer of amber or clear shellac (Zinsser Bulls Eye Shellac) with a brush or rag onto the prepared encaustic surface.  I usually start with amber.  The strong amber color can also be diluted with the clear shellac, and then brushed onto the surface.

Clear shellac is also interesting, especially with colored powders added.  You can mix the colored powders into the clear shellac or brush it on top.  I have used both methods, sometimes in the same painting.

Place the solid base on a fireproof surface, preferably outside or inside and directly ventilated.

Wet Method

Immediately following the application of shellac, you can use a torch to light the shellac. The fire will burn itself out after a few moments.  (For beginners, I recommend a brulle torch because it is smaller and easier to handle than a propane torch.)

Caution:  Some of the burning is invisible.  If you have long hair, tie it back.  Don’t wear loose clothing. Have a fire extinguisher nearby.  A damp rag can also be useful to extinguish an unwanted flame.

Your end product with have interesting designs of a random nature.  Let it cool.

Dry Method

Primary Moments!  Encaustic with Shellac Burn

Primary Moments! Encaustic with Shellac Burn

After you apply the shellac, wait a few moments until the shellac is dry (can use a heat gun on low, to hasten the drying); somewhat sticky is also OK, then burn with the torch.

Direct the lit torch along the surface to create a controlled design.  I burn some areas more deeply so a couple of layers merge (a pleasing effect is possible with different colored layers.)  I only slightly burn some areas so the surface is not too disturbed.  A slight burn will be better if you are trying to preserve a specific image.

Let it cool and dry overnight.

Both Methods

You can add any number of layers of shellac and repeat the burn.  I do not recommend using any paper on your surface.  It will probably catch fire!

This is a very fun process, but be cautious!

My website: http://cathyloos.com
Websites showing my artwork: