Encaustic-inspired layering step-by step

Encaustic-inspired layering step-by step

 

UPDATE (June 2016): GOOD NEWS! I'm launching "Layers of Light", my first online class for next September, including a full project with this "encaustic inspired" technique! Check out the Classes page in the site menu above!


"Landscapes of Intention" is a series of small mixed media works that started with no preconceived ideas, simply following my intuition and inner guidance at every step. As is often the case, the journey has been most exciting and intriguing, bringing with it renewed insights and energy!

It all started with a brand new set of small, deep-edge canvas I had never worked with before. It also started in one of those moments of "stuckness" when the only thing to do is to just show up, lock myself up into the studio and start doing something, anything, with trust.

Infinite possibility...

Infinite possibility...

Curious as to where this would all lead me (and, by now, knowing full well it would indeed lead me somewhere), I took pictures of the whole process, which I am excited to share with you today! You'll find all the steps in the video below, and more insights follow in the rest of the blog post below it. Enjoy and feel free to ask questions in the comments!

NB: The important thing to remember is that nothing in the process is planned ahead. It's really about handling one step at a time, being fully present and engaged in the HERE & NOW, following whatever idea presents itself, staying open and at the same time committing to show up for the next step, and the next one, until the work tells me it's complete.

Step 1 of the process, in most of what I do, is the inner work. Sooooo important. Art-making for me has a lot to do with ritual: it opens a portal, a connection to Source, and then it really feels like "co-creating" (which, by the way, takes a lot of the pressure off!). In this case, as I was going to work on 9 pieces at a time, I decided to choose a specific intention for each one, a blessing of sorts, to support me in the process and support each piece as it was being born.

Intention setting...

Intention setting...

Although I did not plan it at this stage, the intentions kept coming back along the journey in the form of journaling or, singing, or just thoughts and feelings. The intentions were general at first (like Trust, Gratitude or Truth) but then acquired a more specific feel and flavor, infusing each piece with a unique energy.

Journaling all over with the intentions. I do it a lot, it's a great way to get rid of the blank canvas!

Journaling all over with the intentions. I do it a lot, it's a great way to get rid of the blank canvas!

At some point, after applying some brown ink in puddles and drips, some of the pieces started to feel "landscapy". I was also starting to feel a bit uneasy with all the brown tones, as if the pieces and I both needed a breath of fresh air. It was time to commit to a direction, and invite some color in.

Landscapes start to appear

Landscapes start to appear

This is how I ended up adding some fresh green, and going for abstract landscapes. That felt really good! Which is an unmistakable sign that the work is progressing in the right direction. Being conscious of the emotions that arise as we create is actually a very reliable guiding system.

Landscape a few minutes' walk from our house

Landscape a few minutes' walk from our house

Magic technique!

Magic technique!

The landscapes needed a softer, kind of misty feel, so I decided to use the same technique I had successfully used in a previous series, recreating the look and feel of encaustic with acrylic medium. It was not possible to use real encaustic because the layers of collage had been done with gel medium, which is not porous enough to hold the wax well. Paying attention to the archival quality of a work is very important, and this technique is a very good alternative. You can coat your surface with a palette knife or an old credit card. The acrylic medium I have most successfully used is THIS ONE, but any heavy matte gel medium should work (it's the matte quality of the medium that creates the cloudy look). It's has a creamy-buttery texture and spreads like cake icing... LOVE.

© 2016 Laly Mille - Landscapes of Intention, work in progress

Working in a series is something I enjoy more and more. The pieces feel a bit like a family, you can tell by their look, yet each has its own personality. Moreover, there's an added layer of stories and meaning that seems to arise from the relationship between the pieces. And it changes depending on the way you combine and arrange them. Magic.

To find out more about this series and see the finished pieces up-close, please visit THIS PAGE.

I hope this inspires you to experiment and go with the flow... I would love to get your feedback and please feel free to post any questions or share your own experience in the comments below, or on my Facebook page. I'm happy to help! ;)

Also: I initially shared most of the process in real time on Instagram. Make sure to follow @lalymille: you're invited in the studio!

Light & Love

 

PS: Some of you have been asking for the supply list, so here it is!

  • 8" x 8" deep-edge canvas (if working on a larger scale a wood substrate is preferable)
  • Lefranc-Bourgeois acrylic binder or other heavy matte gel medium (not gloss)
  • Black fine-tip pigment pen
  • White gel pen
  • Stabilo All black pencil
  • Soft Pastels
  • White gesso
  • Collage papers in natural tones (natural papers, vintage printed, ephemera, pattern paper, handwritten paper… your choice!)
  • Brown acrylic ink
  • Acrylic paint (Titanium white, Raw umber and a mix of green)
  • Needle tool
  • Flat palette knife or old credit card
  • Soft rag (I use an old T-shirt)
  • Acrylic satin spray varnish

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