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Paint/Pigment Sticks

Paint or pigment sticks come in various brands, sizes, and formulations. Pastels and other drawing materials may also be mentioned. Differences can affect the outcome drastically.

Ratio of encaustic to pigment stick is very important. The rule of thumb when adding anything to encaustic is to keep the ratios consistent (see How to Make Encaustic Medium and Paint), if incorrect, all the binding properties fail, resulting in a painting that will crack, chip, slag and more. Paint Sticks consist of, amongst other things, linseed oil. Using a small percentage of oil in encaustic has been a long tradition; therefore, adding a oil based product such as pigment sticks should not be a problem. It can help with the toxicity level to eliminate linseed oil from your encaustic paint or medium (obviously this requires making your own paint), but it is not necessary.

Problems occur when to much paint stick is used: when using a paint stick traditionally, as a drawing medium, remember that the ratio of paint stick to encaustic is, to the amount which is on the surface of your support, not how much is on your palette, or in the block of encaustic, or in your palette cup. You are typically adding the paint stick to the surface, not in the encaustic mix itself; the surface is only a fraction of an inch thick, so it is easy to over-do.

How much is the correct amount? Paint sticks should only be used in minute/thin amounts. The easiest way to learn is to make some samples and test different thicknesses of paint stick on the encaustic and fuse as you regularly would. If you are applying at the end of a finished encaustic piece, and do not plan to paint more wax on, you can be less critical about your ratio of wax to paint stick.

Also read, Oil Paint as Pigment

and more on Oil Pastels- coming soon.

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---------------------------------------{ A Note to Readers }---------------------------------------

Revisiting old topics and filling in holes is quite a chore, yet a necessary one, one that will offer more quality information. For example: recent activity and questions surrounding hardboard and/or masonite, has directed our attention to fill in the blanks on that topic (currently under revision/addition), as well as, more about gesso (specifically encaustic gesso) and other topics (search the tabs), all are in the works. 

Prior years were to get as much general information as possible up and available- a starting point. More and more however, new topics are focused and detailed, and old ones will be getting revisiting; removing any possibility of confusion. 

I should point out that this is a one person operation (takes me awhile to get around to everything, ohh yeah, I should make some art), Anyway, where was I?, oh! one person operation..., even though I tend to refer in posts and topics as we, it is to remove the need to revisit things later when it really is we. All of this whilst working, making art, and whatever may be the case.

As always, I welcome any opinions, comments, and questions- simply contact me.

Thank you
Jonathan Parks