I work in the pure encaustic tradition, using only pigmented wax and resin, in contrast to many contemporary "mixed media" encaustic painters. As a result I am able to create very distinctive abstract paintings.
I heat the medium to a molten state and apply it to a cradled wooden panel using a brush. I then work with a heating element, such as a heat gun, to bring it back and forth from a molten to hardened state in order to manipulate the wax. My challenge (and delight!) is to simultaneously direct and unleash the flow of the wax.
I use up to 20 transparent or opaque layers of colored and iridescent wax to create the effect of light emanating from within the painting. Most layers have shallow relief - no more than 1/8" - and a highly glossed finish. This achieves another effect as light plays off of the surface texture. Depending on the colors and technique, the final result may look not only like encaustic but also like metal, enamel, glass, or ceramic.
The edges of the cradled panel are either a continuation of the wax, stained, or painted for a clean contemporary look.