I have to admit I’m enjoying the faux Richter process, and the results aren’t bad. I may soon be able to call this work “Richter-inspired” rather than faux. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read my earlier post here and be sure to click through to the The New York Magazine article that inspired me.
Before even starting the new pieces, I used cold wax paste to make up vats of pretty colors—blue, mint green, ochre, and a kind of soft red. I decided to use unfiltered yellow beeswax for the hot wax encaustic layers.
Step one: I added base layers of hot wax to four prepared 11” x 16” cradled panels. I fused and scraped until these layers were smooth.
First layer: I added blue cold wax paint to each panel, laying a thick stripe of paint to the upper edge of the panel. Then I smoothed the paint down the panel with my large metal scraper, then went back in with a putty knife and scraped back to the wax, leaving a lacy texture of blue over the base layer. I removed a lot of paint and very little could be used again. Sometimes it bugs me how wasteful art can be.
Turn panel 90 degrees to the right (or left if you swing that way). This is how you develop tool marks going in different directions, and it allows you to use a pulling motion as you scrape wax or paint down the surface of the panel. The Theory created a working surface with a 1/2″ lip at the bottom which can be screwed onto my table. It stabilizes the whole thing so that I can use both hands for pulling the metal “squeegee” bar.
Second layer: In the spirit of encaustic, I added unfiltered yellow wax medium to each panel, sometimes dribbling hot medium and scraping it into the paint, other times laying down brush strokes of wax over the wet paint and scraping it down the length of the panel. I did this because otherwise it would just be a regular faux Richter, not an encaustic faux Richter.
I let them sit for a couple of hours. The wax paste got a little drier, but it was still smooshy.
Third layer: Turn panel 90 degrees again. I repeated steps two and three, this time using the minty green cold wax.
Fourth and fifth layers: The next day I added two more layers, red and ochre. The panels with the black base layers are not working quite yet because the blue disappeared into the black. But the other two are kind of interesting. Here are my humble efforts: