I've been playing around a new medium - encaustic paints. Encaustic paints are a combination of beeswax and damar resin. Since sometime last year I have been slowing reading up on them and ordering or finding supplies to make my own paint. I love all things bees (minus the stings) so this art form really interested me. You can buy the pre-made and tinted paints from a company or on Etsy but I seem to always take the messy route and wanted to make my own. Plus, it's cheaper.The thing about encaustics is that there is a little bit of danger involved because the fumes can be harmful, and making the paints and using them involves applying the right amount of heat as you lay on and fuse layers of the paints. People use an iron, a heat gun or even a small blow torch. In order to make the paint, I scourged thrift stores for a mini crockpot (which ended up not providing enough heat) and an antique iron without holes on the heat plate to use for fusing layers of the paint (which turned out to be too hot - you can see how the iron melted parts of the photo I mounted in my first piece above). Proper ventilation is really important and kind of a problem for me because we don't have normal windows that would allow me to put in a ventilation fan. After the crockpot failed me, I used the stovetop to melt the wax and even though I used the overhead fan, I think the fumes did bother my lungs a bit for the next week.I also ordered Claudine Hellmuth's DVD on beeswax collage on ebay. She doesn't use the damar resin, just the beeswax, so it technically isn't encaustic but her DVD has some really interesting techniques for layering the wax with photos, craft papers, tissue paper, pen and ink, and oil paint sticks. The bottom piece is a collage I made for Matt. One of his favorite movies is Life Aquatic. Captain Zazzou was pursing a shark but the sentiment is the same. Plus, octopi are beloved by Detroit Red Wings fans. He took the photo at the Detroit Institute of Arts which we both moved. The sea diver and octopus are actually these amazing theatrical puppets made in 1903 by Walter E. Deaves.I really loved the process of making these blocks, so I searched out an art class in encaustics and was really lucky and surprised to find a weekend workshop in the Chicago area with an encaustic artist Sarah Rehmer that was specifically about working with photographs and encaustics. I'm hoping to a learn a bit more about process and how to pursue this art safely. We're making a few pieces over the weekend so I'll share the results when I return.