Studio Time: Multi-tasking

Today I need to make encaustic medium, clean up the encuastic painting area, and frame some finished work. And, because I hate cleaning, blog about it.

Task #1:
So far I’ve stacked the brushes, scraped the glass covered table, and cleaned the hotplate I use for keeping pans of encaustic paint hot and fluid. Pigmented blocks of encaustic paint are put away, a stack of paper towels are folded and ready, and the floor is swept.

hotplate_messy hotplate_clean

Task #2:
Next, I cleaned the crockpot used to make medium, measured out the beeswax, weighed the  damar crystals  and pounded the crystals into small bits. Sometimes I heat 1/2 the beeswax prior to adding the damar, but today it all goes in together at once. On goes the lid, and while everything melts together on the medium setting I start task #3.

beeswax_measuringcup damarcrystals_scales1

damarcrystals_hammer crockpot23

Task #3:
After printing out my email receipt for the frames I ordered, I take out all the frame parts from the UPS box and compare the order sent with the order paid for. Everything checks out. I put a clean towel down on my work surface to protect the frames while they are being assembled.

framing1 framing2

Checking on task #2:
I can smell the beeswax melting -Mmmmm! I love that smell.


Back to task #3:
Set out the parts for the first frame with the tools required and the instructions from the company. I like the metal float frames to show off the edges of the paintings. They are easy to assemble and can be moved to another painting quickly in a pinch.


After assembling the metal frame I position the painting in the frame. I use soft, pliable earplugs for smaller frames, wedged in the sides between the painting and the metal frame to insure even spacing. Next, carefully turn the frame/painting over and  screw them into place. Turn it back over and remove the soft spacers. (I have tried cardboard, folded paper and numerous other materials for spacers, but the pink earplugs work the best for me. And, I never miss removing them due to their bright color.) I use 1/4″ strips of dry sponge for larger frames and paintings.

earplug1 framing3

Checking on task #2:
Nicely melting, nothing to do but wait.


Back to task #3:
I frame up half of the paintings and find wall space for each one.

Back to task #1:
Taking a break from framing and pot watching, I blog. Cleaning the encaustic work area is next. Extra beeswax and damar crystals are put away along with the measuring tools. The glass is re-scraped clean as well as little bits of wax from the floor where it has dripped over the last week. Take the trash and recycling out.

Back to task #3:
I finish framing 8 pieces today and hang them all  safely to complete drying/curing. I still have to print out documentation tags for the back of each, but that can wait. Done with task #3.


Back to task #2:
The wax and demar are completely melted.  I strain the medium through several layers of cheesecloth and ladle portions into waiting muffin tins and a  medium bread loaf pan that I keep on the hot plate. Later, when the tins have cooled I’ll remove the handy sized medium shapes and store them in a bin next to the work area. Done with task #2.

encausticmedium_tin encausticmedium_untin

Back to task #1:
I finish cleaning from the medium making and am done with task #1.

All in all, a good days work. I have a clean encaustic work area, a fresh batch of medium is made, and several pieces are framed.

[Studio music: Shannon Hurley, Josh Woodward on indie site thesixtyone.]

3 thoughts on “Studio Time: Multi-tasking

  1. Wow – thank you for sharing your insight. Would you be willing to share where you got the float frames from? I have been looking to find some frames such as this that will be compatible with my encaustic work. This is exactly what I need.

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