2 Oct 2011

Watercolor covered with encaustic – alternative to traditional framing

Posted by Moshe Mikanovsky

Last year I wrote a popular post about covering your watercolor paintings with resin as an alternative to traditional framing. As you might read last week, I didn’t always have much success with this method, or, should I say – not enough experience to perfect it just yet.

So last week, in preparation for another call for artists, I visited my friend, mixed media artist Nava Waxman, whose main media is encaustic (wax), to try something new – covering 3 small watercolor paintings I just finished with encaustic.

I have seen other media, such as photographs and acrylic paintings, covered with a thin transparent layer of wax which give it a dream-like atmosphere, as if the image is behind a bride’s veil, but I have not seen it on watercolors, and decided to try it myself. Once cold, the wax hardens and is used as a protection to anything underneath. It also create a contemporary look to the work, which is appealing to many and does not require addition framing (unless one does not like that look, of course).

Anemone, watercolors covered with encaustic with oil patina

Anemone, watercolors covered with encaustic with oil patina

With Nava’s guidance, I also added some delicate scratches on the surface of the encaustic and burnish it with burnt umber oil paint. The paint got into the grooves in the wax, and wiping it off, I left some on the surface to create a thin patina of color.

Anemone, watercolors covered with encaustic with oil patina, closer look

Anemone, watercolors covered with encaustic with oil patina, closer look

So, here are the results for you to see and judge. Do you like?


Related posts:

Did you find this post useful or inspiring? Why not tell your friends about it or subscribe to receive new posts via email? Subscribe to Moshe Mikanovsky Art Blog here and Tell your friends about it.

Subscribe to Comments

8 Responses to “Watercolor covered with encaustic – alternative to traditional framing”

  1. Like the anemones? Nooooo LOVE them.

    What a success in mixed media!!!!!!



    Rikki Blitt

  2. Thank you so much Rikki :-)


    Moshe Mikanovsky

  3. Watercolour is a delicate medium, and needs to be protected under glass, varnish and why not wax ?
    Serious watercolour societies like CSPWC, AWS …will not accept these into their juried shows ( not acid free protection for the paper) , but they work wonders as they are :mixed-media pieces , easier to be hung without heavy framing .
    Encaustics are “fashionable” again,I saw a generation of young very successful artists getting off in the past decade, but the same effect can be achieved with acrylic mediums, minus the fumes, and most importantly , without the fraility of it: don’t forget that you pass from the fraility of watercolour to the brittless of wax !! Also encaustic has to be kept on a certain law temperature, otherwise melts during hot summers !! you trade the problem of framing to other major problems: a big studio with good ventilation for wax fumes, the britlle surface of your already “sensitive” watercolour , the work of mounting the paper on panels…It’s good to experiment, but think about the pros and cons !!! Good Luck!!!


    Bianka Guna

  4. Thank you Bianka for the great points
    Of course there are pros and cons for each way. Going with the theme of being successful, to me, at the moment, trying to “prove” that I can make it as an artist, and live from my art, I have to try many different things and see what works. So far, as much as I would love to say to the contrary, the traditional watercolors just didn’t make it for me. Maybe I am impatient. Maybe I am looking for shortcuts. Maybe I have to take my time (longer than I would like to). But maybe its also the style, the medium, to themes…
    Whatever it is, I am trying :-)
    And, of course, it is just an alternative.



    Moshe Mikanovsky

  5. Moshe, if you wouldn’t try different original ways, your “own” ways, you will not be a true artist:)
    You know I love working on paper, (watercolor , acrylic, mixed media.. , )and I know a bit about struggling , he-he, you are on a good track, there are no short cuts, work and paint will do the trick!!! Many watercolorists are varnishing and framing without glass or treat canvases with mediums that make them act like w/c paper … just to retain that ineffable watercolour
    feel .Keep doing what you love, “success”( whatever you think it is) will come !


    Bianka Guna

  6. I know it will come! But can it come sooner than later? :-)

    Thank you Bianka for the encouragements. I will definitely try and try and try!


    PS the 3 little anemones flowers will be shown in a show at the 337 Sketch Gallery. That is a success already!


    Moshe Mikanovsky

  7. There you go, that’s a big success already !!
    Keep it up !


    Bianka Guna

  8. Hi!! I’m relatively new to this watercolor business, as well. I wanted to tell you I love your idea of the ‘squared’ surface and studio name, as well. Good idea!

    I stretched watercolor paper over cheap canvas frames which gives a nice firm surface with no glue required as I staple to the back. Once the paper is dry, it smooths beautifully. Lately I’ve heard that the UV spray should be the first coat after painting and then the customary vinyl spray works well in either gloss or matt. No bubbles, and one coat seems ok.



Leave a Reply


AWSOM Powered