Encaustic Painting in the Nude: The Naked Truth

The first thing you need to know about Encaustic painting in the nude is…it is ill advised.

Hot wax and bare skin are not a great combination. The next thing you need to know is that this post is not about a Hot Wax Fetish.

Encaustic painting in the nude is a reference to an artist’s fear of the bare canvas.  Every artist I know is familiar with the pregnant pause of creativity. The stage you face after you have busied yourself organizing your workstation, preparing your materials and choosing your pallet. Each artist has felt that precise “now what?” moment staring into the bare space of an expectant canvas.

Vincent Van Gogh expressed this perfectly when he said:

“You don’t know how paralyzing that is, that stare of a blank canvas, which says to the painter, ‘You can’t do a thing’. The canvas has an idiotic stare and mesmerizes some painters so much that they turn into idiots themselves. Many painters are afraid in front of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the real, passionate painter who dares and who has broken the spell of `you can’t’ once and for all.”

As artists, we take many different approaches to get past this point.  There are dozens of books and web articles on the subject of creativity exercises to get you started. I have yet to find any specific to Encaustic and that is why I am writing this.

Before I get into that, there is something common to artists of all mediums. A few simple  truths that need addressing.

1. Not everything you paint is going to be a masterpiece…accept it

2. You do not have to paint a finished piece every time you work

There is a great deal of merit to playing at art, using some of your time to experiment with your medium. This can lead to some real “Ah-Ha” moments, discoveries of what your medium can do, expanded technical skills and new styles to explore. So go ahead and play.

It is my firm belief that in order to grow as an artist and nurture creativity you need to push past the self-inflicted limits of your medium. To do this, I play a little game called what would happen if?  Here are some ideas specific to Encaustic for you to try.

What would happen if?

  • I put ice (crushed, shards, cubes etc) on my surface and then applied hot wax
  • I put water on my surface and dropped hot wax into it
  • I added salt or sawdust
  • I painted on sand paper
  • I used kitchen utensils to paint with

The options are endless, try playing with these suggestions or come up with some of your own. Remove any preconceived notions of what art is.

Strip off your fears and expose yourself to new ideas.


One thought on “

  1. Pingback: Encaustic Painting in the Nude: The Naked Truth | Ramona on Art, Life & Kicking the Cat

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