Process

Lisa Basil encaustic

The goal of each piece is to visually interpret a feeling or mood in a way that illustrates its vital essence. When starting a piece I consider how I want it to “feel” and what message I want it to convey as I stare at the blank panel imagining potential compositions.

Most often, the first thing I will decide is the general palette and then how the space will be divided. I rarely do any sketching. Occasionally I’ll draw a couple of thumbnails but I mostly plan everything in my head.

I have to consider many technical things when planning an encaustic in order to achieve the effect I want. There’s the transparency, the order in which I need to apply each layer, whether it will utilize sgraffito, how much each layer will need to be fused, how much each layer should be scraped down, whether there will be specific shapes, whether to draw the shapes on the panel or add them into the wax later, etc. Much of the work comes from intuition and there aren’t always words for it.

I utilize and rely on the unpredictable, spontaneous nature of the encaustic wax itself. At any point I may abandon my original intention and adopt a new direction that the painting wants to take. Whenever I remain rigidly attached to my plan and don’t allow for deviation, it usually fails.

September 2014
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