Jessica is fascinated by the desert landscape and irrigation systems that allow things to grow. In her new series of encaustic etchings, she takes advantage of the unobstructed view of the landscape and explores organic and linear pattern elements within that framework. She is trying something new with her encaustic etching technique during her residency at 970West. She will be illustrating a story about a baby yak that is adopted by a new family and remembers her mother in the cycle of fiber production. Read more about Jessica.
What is Encaustic Etching?
I was eager to get to work my first week in the AIR Studio. The “Suzie the Baby Yak” story is still being fleshed out, but I decided to jump right into experimenting with the materials to make some yak images from the photo references Seth and Morgan shared with me.
Here’s a picture of some of the work I did last week:
All of this work was done using a technique I call encaustic etching.
Encaustic is a painting medium that is made from beeswax and damar resin.
You can mix pigment into the encaustic medium to make colored encaustic paint, or you can buy pre-made encaustic paints. I like R&F brand.
It is solid at room temperature, so a heated pallette is used to melt the paint.
Once it is melted, I use a brush to paint it onto the support. Because the wax cools between the time that you dip the brush in the paint, the surface is not smooth. This is a great way to build up a surface if you are looking for a built up surface. For etching, I want a smooth, lustrous surface, so I use a heat gun not only to fuse the wax to the surface, but also to melt it smooth. Here’s what the prepared surface looks like:
This surface is ready for etching. Here is a 29second video of the etching process:
This video shows the essential steps in the encaustic etching process:
- using the etching needle to etch the surface
- scraping the burs away
Here’s one of me inking Malla: