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Creating Movement and Depth with Mixed Media

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Creating Movement and Depth with Mixed Media

A Mixed Media Tutorial by Cynthia Mosser

My use of mixed media emphasizes color and movement through the building of many overlapping organic shapes. I am able to create visual interest through the use of a whole host of art supplies, all of which I can use on Ampersand Encausticbord™. The working process I incorporate involves drawing, painting and a final application of encaustic medium. This topcoat of wax creates a clear veil through which the painting can be viewed and provides the illusion of depth.

The ability to layer different media is my key to a successful painting. I almost always start with Encausticbord™, a wood panel with an absorbent ground developed by Ampersand and R&F Handmade Paints. Because of its special surface, not only can Encausticbord™ handle all my favorite materials, but it also readily accepts encaustic paint.

The cradled versions of Encausticbord™ are the best option for my work. I use two depths: 7/8" if I know I need to frame the artwork or the 1-1/2" cradle for a presentable, ready-to-hang work. For this piece, I used an 18" x 18" deep cradle.

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1 I begin by drawing directly onto the surface. My favorite pen for drawing fine lines on the smooth Encausticbord™ surface is a black, waterproof, lightfast, super fine Pitt artist pen from Faber-Castell.

2 (not shown) After finishing the decorative line work, I paint over it with a light wash of Golden® titanium white fluid acrylic paint using a 3" gesso brush. This white wash diffuses the stark contrast of the black lines and allows the patterns to show through. Sometimes, I add a hint of color to the wash to warm up the cool white background.

3 Next, I start painting on the board using a variety of Golden® acrylic fluid paint colors. I like their immediate flowing viscosity, so color mixing and application is a snap. Small paintbrushes are my absolute favorite for control and precision. The 20/0 script liner, along with many of the other Ultra Mini brushes suit my needs perfectly. I intentionally leave a multitude of unpainted spaces for the next final step.

4 After I am finished painting, I add a layer of transparent encaustic medium to create that extra bit of depth and interest. Generally, it’s not a standard practice to use acrylics under encaustic, but I use extremely thin layers and leave so much of the white absorbent surface of Encausticbord™ open, I don’t encounter any problems. I use a recipe of 1 tbsp crushed DANIEL SMITH Gum Damar resin to 8 tbsp DANIEL SMITH Beeswax Pastilles to seal the work. I heat the Damar and pastilles together in a metal pot on a heated palette until the two have melted, then stir well until they create a uniform consistency.

Once the mixture is ready, I strain it through a cheesecloth to remove any impurities. 5 Then, I apply it to the board with a 2 1/2" natural bristle brush. I fuse the wax with a heat gun until I have a glossy, evenly melted surface.

6 Finally, I incise designs into the warm wax with a sharp tool. 7 Once the wax is cool, I add either white or burnt umber oil paint thinned down to a glaze with linseed oil and mineral spirits, allowing it to sink into the incised lines for contrast. Using a soft cloth dipped in mineral spirits, I wipe away the oil paint leaving behind the color in the incised lines. On the paintings to which I add the oil paint glaze, I apply a somewhat heavier sealing layer of wax to prevent the wiping and rubbing from removing too much of the surface.

8 Once the oil paint has dried, I gently polish the finished painting with a chamois cloth.

Featured Materials
AMPERSAND Encausticbord™ , Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens, Princeton 3" gesso brush, GOLDEN® fluid acrylics, DANIEL SMITH Brand Products: Original™ Oil colors, Mineral spirits, 2-1/2" flat Bristle brush, Cold-pressed linseed oil, Universal liner size 12, Gum Damar resin crystals, Beeswax pastilles.

OTHER: Ultra-mini brushes, heat gun, hot palette, metal pot, sharp tool, soft white lint-free cloth for wiping and a chamois cloth for polishing.

GridItemIDItem InformationItem NoAvailabilityPriceOrder Qty
19031284 450 009 ImageDANIEL SMITH Odorless Mineral Spirits, Quart
Hazardous Material
284 450 009In Stock
773284 470 009 ImageDANIEL SMITH Cold Pressed Linseed Oil, 4oz284 470 009In Stock
5160284 470 015 ImageDANIEL SMITH Gum Damar Crystals, 1lb284 470 015In Stock
115284 020 006 ImageDANIEL SMITH Beeswax Pastilles, 1lb Package284 020 006In Stock