Behind-the-scenes in the Studio: Wonder Girl

"Wonder Girl" Original 8x8 inch encaustic painting on cradled wood. Available here.

"Wonder Girl" Original 8x8 inch encaustic painting on cradled wood. Available here.

Today I braved the bitter cold of my outdoor studio because I woke up with an idea for a painting. I had been thinking of developing a character for a few months and had drawn some sketches of her. This morning, I decided it was time for her debut. So, 5 layers (including my boyfriend's large blue long underwear) later I went outside to paint her into being. I am really happy with the final piece, but there were moments in the process that were a little dicey. Like when I melted Wonder Girl's whole face off then could not re-etch it into new raw wax. Finally, I decided to use one hair of my paintbrush to drip her face into being. I cannot believe it worked. Maybe she was in there all along.

Below you can follow my progress from sketch to completion.

"Wonder Girl" initial sketch

First I layered my wood panel with pure beeswax and transferred the sketch by drawing the same picture on the back, turning it over and rubbing it with a bone folder. Then I began applying colored encaustic paint. I wanted there to be a feeling of color like her imagination flowing out of her.

Then I carved in the ghostlike traces of Wonder Girl's imaginary world using a metal stylus. I didn't want to fill these in too much with color because the imaginary world feels more sketchlike than real to me.

I covered the piece with blue/black oil paint -- always a scary hold-your-breath moment.

And covered it some more.

Then more color and details. Including a blue peacock feather in her headdress (she is the queen of her imagination of course) and a bright sun to complement the moon. It is neither day nor night in the imagination but somewhere in twilight.

In the end, I simplified some of the background color into a gray-pink and gray-yellow. It felt more magical. And of course, there are rhinestones.