BEESWAX & LAMPBLACK

 

Charles Bremer
Otego, New York

 

 

Materials of the artist are of the body.

Pigment... tactile, sensuous, ecstatic as skin permeates with light and spirit; transcendent age. Wildcat crayons, childish and enthusiastic, resist our formalities. Paint tubes with still bright earth in aged vessels, graceful and bent are fluid with creative imagine. While my work foregrounds the body as its subject, my appreciation of life resides in the creative potential and small imaginative wonders of everyday things and people. Encaustic wax in my creative technique is a remarkable pleasure, not only does its beautiful aroma fill the air of the studio but the sensitivity of its touch penetrates my work with stability and optical clarity surpassing anything I have experienced before. While the wax requires extra care and respect as a sensitive medium, these values are ones I embrace and welcome to my field of art. This inert material from the architecture of honey bees has much to teach us about living connections, strength and impermanence.

 

 

 

About Encaustic Wax Art Work

Encaustic wax technique is believed to date to the 4th or 5th centuries BC and is a highly permanent medium. Early wax portraits from the first century Egypt found in the Fayoum district are in excellent condition today and require little conservation work. The term “encaustic” comes from greek en kaiein meaning to “burn in”. The process involves applying a combination of hot beeswax, carnuba wax and pigments onto a surface and “fixing” with heat. Beeswax is an inert substance that resists atmospheric impurities and is remarkably stable. This technique, though challenging and difficult to work with produces results that have a unique beauty, lasting quality and a sweet aroma.

Care

These images have encaustic wax glazing and are a mixed media work of art combining photography, ink, paint, dye, and fine pigment mixed with wax. They should be kept out of direct sunlight but they do enjoy warmth and heat. Severe cold can damage the wax surface by making it brittle or causing it to fracture thus they should be kept in a heated space during winter months. Encuastic wax on new work takes about a year to be fully cured and during this time should be regularly buffed to remove any of the slight fogging that occurs during this stage. The surface of the work will polish very easily with a clean cotton cloth such as an old t-shirt and benefit from a strong rub down every so often which keeps the wax clean and polished. Encaustic wax is a combination of beeswax and carnuba wax and is one of the most archival stable mediums for pigment ever used by artists. The surface of the glaze shows the texture and markings of the palette knife with which the hot wax is applied as well as the diverse natural incongruities of the material.