A new encaustic piece ... "Venus de Milo: Shattered"

Barb Toland My Stuff

Oh, I had such an amazing weekend - and a pretty great week to follow! I hope yours was just as fabulous:)

After lots of sneezing (and yes, moaning) last week, I was able to ditch the cold just in time to get to work on my new encaustic/mixed media Venus de Milo piece that I'll be sharing with you today.

(I shared the first part of my process in an earlier blog post. If you haven't seen it, you can read about it here. It's a must if you want to understand the context of what I'll be talking about today.)

This week I'm going to show you some of the steps I used to turn this Cubist Venus de Milo project into its final 20" x 24" encaustic piece.

So let's jump right in...

The first thing I did (& if you follow me on Instagram you may have seen this) was to experiment with how I thought I wanted to do the background. All were epic fails lol, but these "fails" cleared my brain so I could come up with the direction I needed to go.

Here's what I came up with:

I grabbed some brown paper shopping bags from the closet to use as the foundation. I love to look around at what I have, and figure out what can be re-purposed using a bit of imagination & creativity.

I cut the bags into separate panels, carefully removed the handles, and then proceeded to slice them up into different sized rectangular shapes. Then the hubster scrunched up all the pieces with his strong man hands:)

I flattened them all back out, randomly overlapped them, and then glued them down to the wood panel.

Once I was happy with how it looked, I stacked some heavy (ART!) books on top, leaving it to dry for the next day's adventures.

Here's some process shots...



I decided I wanted the background to be a dark chocolate/tobacco color, so I sprayed it with water, and using tons of sepia watercolor paint, randomly danced my loaded brush across the canvas, and then added lots of those magical splatters that I love so much!!!!!! #happydance

Then I applied the first exciting layer of encaustic beeswax medium, and fused it into the background using a heat gun.


When I fused the wax, I instantly fell madly in love with it! There were tons of imperfections & texture, that I almost hated to cover it up. But I did ;-)

After dipping each piece of the Venus de Milo into the hot liquid wax, they were then laid down one by one on the background.

To the left of the Mickey Mouse mug, you can barely see the bottom half of a pretty elaborately numbered layout I THOUGHT I'd be using to help me figure out in which order to place the pieces. Since there are multiple layers & much overlapping, this was pretty challenging.

But being the creative type, I didn't really use it as much as I thought I would ... I just kind of winged it lol.

The trick was to get everything spaced right, so by the time I was done with the overall image, it was centered & aligned properly from top to bottom, left to right.

I had an epiphany of sorts that the best way to do so would be to start with the 4 outer pieces first (north, south, east, west) so that THEY were positioned correctly. And then kind of work in towards the center more or less.

The process wasn't as straightforward as one would think, but overall this approach worked out with minor adjustments along the way.

Adding some more pieces...

So here are some close ups of a couple sections before I applied the final techniques which I'll share with you next. Like little abstract vignettes...


I liked what I saw, but I felt like it all needed to be unified with something in the negative space in & around the pieces. It looked a bit disjointed, if you know what I mean.

So the next thing I did (after a brilliant suggestion from the hubster) was to experiment with applying gold & iridescent embossing powder in said spaces. When warmed with my trusty heat gun amazing things happened!

The photo below shows on the left what the embossing powder looked like freshly sprinkled on the wax. And on the right is what it looked like after I applied some heat to it....

And then the last fun thing I got to do was to randomly splatter colorful encaustic paint across the surface, as you can see in these close up shots...



& here's the completed piece...

Venus de Milo: Shattered ©
20" x 24" x 1.5"
encaustic / mixed media
on cradled birch panel

I'm tickled by how this has turned out. It's one of those pieces where my heart does a little dance when I look at it!

Hope you enjoyed this one. I've definitely enjoyed sharing some of the process details with you. I always learn so much from reflecting back on the creative steps (& leaps!) I used to get there.

Have a great weekend everyone!

And as always, I would love to know your thoughts on this or any other creative matter you want to talk about.

Leave your comment(s) below, and let's chat art & creativity:)

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