"Ode to Monet" encaustic piece

Barb Toland My Stuff

Some of you are aware that in addition to this pair of water lily paintings  - I've also been diligently working on a 20" x 24" encaustic piece as an ode to Claude Monet's over 250 water lily paintings. Today's post is all about this new piece, and some of the creative steps I took along the way.

Lately I've been experimenting with mixing paper that I have painted using watercolor & oil pastels, with encaustic. This has been a lot of fun for me, because I get the chance to merge multiple mediums that I adore!

The first thing I did for this piece was draw & paint on watercolor paper to get to this first layer (background), as shown here:

I have never painted anything this size before! It's so big it wouldn't fit in my studio space. I had to move everything into the dining room temporarily to be able to work on it. Luckily we typically eat in the den while watching tv, and so the table is normally available for expanding if I need to;)

And here are some of the stages leading up to it:



Lot's of playing going on here. From the initial splatters, to building up layers & shapes, to more splatters ... this is one of my favorite stages of the process!!!

And I also got to use this secret (not) ingredient that I have really had a great time incorporating into more of my work recently...

Yep, rubbing alcohol (recommended by fellow artist, Karen Leigh). With some experimenting I found a % that works best for me. And when I apply it, these are just some of the fantastic effects I get...


Once I got the background painted, I then glued it down to my cradled wood panel, trimmed the edges, stacked a bunch of books on it, and then let the glue dry overnight.

Once it is glued to the wood panel, it looks like this:

So that's the background!

Now for applying that initial layer of encaustic wax. Another one of my favorite parts. I get to slap the hot liquid wax on there with a brush, spread it around, and then fuse it with my heat gun. I mean, you really can't get much more fun than that. Ok, so my idea of fun is a bit distorted;)

One of the places that shines in this piece is the area of wax ripples shown below - they add a great deal of movement to the piece...

Now that the water's surface is complete, I then started creating another layer, using more hand-painted & cut paper to add dimension to some of the lily pads, and incorporate several water lilies into the composition...

Applying some water lily details...

The hand cut, painted lily pads & lilies then get added into the bigger background piece with more encaustic wax, along with some delightful little details.

I'm showing you some close ups of the final piece first, so you can get a sense of the texture & detail...




& here is the finished piece:

Ode to Monet ©
20" x 24" x 1-1/2" encaustic & hand colored paper
on FSC certified cradled birch wood panel

This piece is currently available for sale here.

Can I just say this? I absolutely love this piece, and it has been such a joy to create! If I could actually hug it I would, but my soul has hugged it — and that's good enough :-)

I would love to hear your from you! You can do so by going to my contact page and sending me a message — your creative heart & voice matter to me.

With love & affection 💕

As always, I would love to know your thoughts on this or any other creative matter you want to talk about! Leave your comment below, and let's chat art & creativity...

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