David 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 Guild. David 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 image 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.”
I 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.