Palindrome

Palindrome_kwaterlooThis weekend I stumbled upon art by Kathleen Waterloo.  This piece  is called Palindrome.  Its medium is encaustic, one I was not familiar with.  Here’s an excerpt of her excellent description of encaustic from her website:

Encaustic is from the Greek word enkaustikos meaning ‘to fuse’ or ‘to burn in’.

It
is the oldest painting technique from the 4th c. B. C. Greek
shipbuilders who used this process to waterproof the undersides of
their boats.  Pigment was later added to decorate the brightly painted
war ships.

Animal
or vegetable wax (I use beeswax) is melted with the resin of the Asian
fir tree.  Oil paint is then added to the hot liquid and applied with
brush to a wooden panel. The wax immediately hardens and must be fused
with fire, or heat, for its permanency.  Its nature is to preserve and
color.

This
technique has gained a resurgence in the 20th c. with the invention of
electricity which provides heat control. Jasper Johns, in the
1950’s-1970’s made this a mainstream medium in the contemporary art
world with his many ‘flag’ paintings.

Various
heating devices are used today to fuse the paint such as the iron, blow
torch (my device), heat gun, heat pen, griddle, and hair dryer.
Different techniques used by encaustic artists are painting, monoprint,
sgraffito, collage, and direct application to sculpture.

If
fused properly, encaustic is an archival medium.  It is more water
impermeable than oil paint and is as tough. It has layering
capabilities and light-absorbing depth. Unlike other media, it is a
forgiving medium that can be reworked often and at anytime with the
addition of heat.

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