Mixed Media Paintings | The Process

I am a mixed media oil paint and encaustic wax painter. A mixed media painting is simply a painting that uses more than one medium.  For example, I use clay, oil paint, oil pastels, text and photographs on archival paper, metal (usually sulfur patinaed and fire painted copper), indian ink, hot encaustic wax (beeswax mixed with Damar resin) and amber shellac.

I gather inspiration for my work from my travels across Canada and the United States. My work begins with the photographs I take exploring the beautiful, often hidden, sometimes forgotten, homesteads and farms across both countries.

I begin by drawing quick sketches of new ideas garnered from my recent travels, working out the compositional components of the painting. I then build a wooden frame to support the painting. I begin printing out the photographs that have inspired the piece on archival paper. Once the printing is done, the oil painting begins. I paint a dark background layer for the sky, mid-ground and foreground. I paint in a dark sky and the dark colors for the mountains and the shadows. Once that is done, I add encaustic wax medium to protect the paint. I then embed the photographs into the wax. I may also embed a round piece of copper that has a lovely sulfur patina that has also been flame painted. I add more oil paint to create more depth, more color, a sense of light, and texture. More wax is then applied. I often etch into the wax and use oil pastels to fill in the spaces created. It is a process of addition and then subtraction – adding new layers of paint and wax, taking away others. Once it is finished, I coat the painting in amber shellac and set it on fire!

I have been asked if I will do commissioned work.  I love to! I am happy to either use the clients photographs (either I will scan their photos and print them on archival paper, or they can give me a digital copy to print) or I can take the photographs myself.

Encaustic wax is a mixture of beeswax and damar resin. It was first used in the Egyptian Fayum mummy portraits around 100-300 AD. Encaustic paintings may be the most durable paint medium as evidenced by the Fayum mummy portraits having survived over 2000 years without cracking, flaking or fading.

Artists, including Jasper Johns (who used encaustic wax in the creation of “Flag”), “rediscovered” encaustic painting in the 1950’s. It continues to gain popularity with many artists today. It creates translucent layers, giving artwork visual depth and a satin sheen. It protects the work underneath it, allowing the artist to create multiple layers, depth, and complexity to their work. Pigments, oil pastels and oil paint are added for color. Found objects, metal, fabric and paper, can be imbedded into the wax. The wax can be etched into, painted on, and drawn on with ink. It is a very exciting medium to use!

All of the mixed media paintings are wired and ready to hang.

Caring For Encaustic Paintings

Encaustic paintings should be kept from extreme temperatures, and away from fireplaces and harsh sunlight. Extreme cold could potentially crack a painting, and extreme heat can soften the wax. The painting must reach 142 degrees before it will begin to melt and twenty degrees to crack from cold. If they are well cared for, encaustic paintings will remain intact for centuries to come.


For questions, or for more information, I can be reached at:      sherigoldsmith@icloud.com