Monday 4 February 2013


The image above is a small section from a larger encaustic collage.  swirly girl and Sarah, were interested in my methods for wax painting, and particularly wax collages.  A good excuse for spending spare time on Saturday and Sunday experimenting to make a few new images.   Some were failures, and some I was more pleased with - you don't get to see the failures!.


Here's the full collage, A5 size as most of the ones on this post are.

Here's how it developed. I took a scrap off-cut piece of tissue paper that had been crumpled and painted with various colours of wax.  I wax painted a background on card, and ironed the scrap wax piece over it with the craft iron.  Then I used a block of gold wax to highlight the creased areas by scribbling over the surface, and mounted the finished result on card.


The clock face was simply placed on the card, and the wax ironed over the whole card with a swirling movement.  I cut a few words that appealed to me from a magazine, and stuck them on with PVA glue.


The idea of numbers appealed, so I cut random numbers from magazines, placed them on the card and ironed wax 'splodgily' over them.  Then I 'blobbed' wax dots all over it (note the technical language here).  The text was temporarily added on Photoshop, and I'll write the words on next time I get back to my desk.  The words just formed themselves in my mind as I looked at the numbers.


This card is almost A4 size, mounted on black card.  In my 'bits' box I found a large circle of what I thought was tissue paper, with a circle cut out of the centre.  I placed this on the background card and painted a chaotic background right over it.  Fixing the tissue circle with the wax proved difficult because it turned out to be covered in some sort of wax-resistant coating.  

I like clock and watch faces, and the idea of cutting out just the circle of hour numbers appealed because I had a clock face image just the right size.

Once again, from out of no-where, the text jumped into my mind.  I wanted to finish all the wax element to the cards and time was short, so I added the words in Photoshop.  I intend to print out the words on tracing paper to stick inside the circle of the clock numbers.  

A strange thing struck me about these three time/life related cards.  I looked at the them on the desk and realised that the seemingly random choice of words reflected the reaction I was experiencing to some bad news we had just been given.  Very psychological.


I paused in my artistic efforts, and enjoyed a reviving cup of tea.  Then it was clearly time to change direction.

This collage shows how I always prepare myself for working with a hot iron and even hotter molten wax, even if I'm painting out in the garden!  I keep my feet warm and dry by standing in a box.

The background was painted on card with blue, green and yellow wax as a landscape, and the image and text stuck on before mounting it on coloured card.  The word 'time' still wasn't quite ready to be abandoned!


One of my favourites.  I started with a card already painted with purple wax found in the 'past failures' box.  The wax painted yellow piece is a section torn from a larger sheet.  

The larger sheet was made by crumpling up photocopy paper, flattening it out, and painting several colours of wax over it fairly randomly with the craft iron.  

I liked the yellow section as a contrast to the purple background.  The result was just the right size for the glamorous young lady trying on the latest style in daring headwear.   


I found the words in the muddle on my painting desk, already cut out just asking to be used.  In the 'bits box' were two pieces of metal found in a car park, just right to form the object - the 'blade' of the sword shape that emerged is separate even though it looks attached.  I hadn't tried sticking found objects on wax before, so this was a real experiment.  

The wax painted background was another 'past failure' and looked just right.  I had originally painted the card then placed something, perhaps a paper towel, over it while it was hot to remove the wax and add texture.  Can't remember what it was.  There were 3 off-cut slivers of wax-painted card, which I stuck on, and then mounted the finished piece on card.


This is not really a collage, but an experiment in trying to draw on the wax background.  Another piece I found in the failures box and decided to experiment with.  

I used a silver pen to draw the fish on the wax, and the silver shine appears or disappears depending on how the light hits the card.  It didn't seem to need any text, and even though it's rather ordinary I was pleased with the actual experiment, which shows promise for the future.


Although it's not a collage, I added it here because it was the last piece I made in this bunch of experiments.   I noticed on my desk a scrap of cartridge paper, on which I had at some time scribbled a silhouette figure of a cloaked lady.  Cartridge paper is very absorbent, and therefore it takes a lot of wax to get any kind of 'painted' surface with the iron, so it was worth an experiment.

I painted the blue wax sky first, sliding the iron right over the ink-drawn lady, and used lots of black wax for the ground and the looming shape behind the figure.  Because of the paper's absorbency the result was a nice variation of colour and texture.  

Finally I added a small red blob of wax for a flower which turned out to be a large blob, a big white blob for the moon - which you can see slipped a bit - and a tiny one for the star.  I like the hint of menace in the piece, and I'll definitely try combining a drawing with wax on cartridge paper again.

Enjoyed these adventures in collage immensely. I hope you do too.


  1. Gosh these are amazing!...I haven't tried using wax much, but that Forest collage is just beautiful! :D XXX

  2. thanks for the explanations Jez and all the fantastic examples, I still can't work out in my head how you "paint" with wax and an iron? I think I need to go and watch a Youtube video :) But the end results are amazing. On the one with the fishes did you make the seaweed with wax too? it looks so cool, otherwordly, like a lot of other encaustic stuff I have seen.

    sorry to hear you have had some bad news by the way :(

  3. Wow Jez ! You have been having lots of fun ! I love that you keep your feet warm in a box while drinking tea, such sophistication :) The wax collages are an inspired idea, I went on an encaustic course last year and have all the equipment but have not used it much. Now I have no excuse after looking at your beautiful wax collages.

  4. I keep thinking about trying encaustic stuff - thanks for the great explanations Jez, these are gorgeous. All of them. My favourite has to be the tea one though - my motto in life (though should read There's Always Time For 20 Cups of Tea!)

    Sorry to read you had bad news but really compelling seeing these pieces and your saying they are a reaction.

  5. your encaustic is simply lovely and of course I love the time for tea collage... but all of your collages are really beautifully done and with your great eye for composition...xx

  6. Wow, thanks for this fabulous post Jez, I like them all!! Particular favourites are the mystic forest, love have you used the gold to highlight the creased areas. Morag and I went on the same encaustic art class last year and the teacher told us to save the backing paper so we could re-use it,I see that you have done the same with stunning results.
    Love the please hold time collage, that yellow is very mellow - lovely whisky tones to it - very clever idea. Love always time for tea, the colours are wonderful and this just works, it feels like the lady is sipping her tea before striding out onto that beautiful landscape you have created. Sense of Style - LOVE this, nice vintage feel about it and love the expression on that lady's face! Mystery of the red blob - fantastic! the colour palette really works here. So glad you posted this, I will be definitely be giving wax and collage a whirl x

  7. You're so productive, Jez! I love the variety in your pieces. The wax pieces and collages are so full of texture and variation. Really good work!

  8. Beautiful artwork, the words now completely understandable having read the latest post!! I love the first encaustic...beautiful texture and color. You should hang it...or have it made into cards!! So beautiful... All the clocks are full of great energy too...the yellow fabulous!!

    Hugs Giggles


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