Posted on Leave a comment

Just a quick update about RUST . . .

I’ve been working for quite some time now trying to improve my recipe for rust! That’s right plain old rust! Forever I’ve been wanting to incorporate rust effects in my encaustic painting and I have FINALLY achieved a mixture I’m happy with. Oddly enough I had an ancestor that was an alchemist and was imprisoned for many years while he tried to please the king with his achievements. I felt a kinship with him during this whole process. Eventually the ancestor (Fredrick Wilhielm Bottiger) made a discovery that greatly pleased the king and he was released from prison, given a title and land, he married and had a child . . . One child, from which I descend so that I could lock myself away for months (not years, thank goodness) and try to conjure up a solution for rust!

So, now I have the recipe and it works exactly as planned and very soon I will have a blog entry where we will create a rusted encaustic piece of art! I’ll even give you my hard earned rust recipe!

But first I think we may do some encaustic pendants. I’ll get back soon and we’ll do that. If you’d like to see the rust encaustics I’ve just finished I just now put them in my Etsy shop. You can click on the Etsy Shop link on the home page here or go to Etsy and search for LaNelleGambrellArt . . . The click is quicker. I just L-O-V-E RUST! Let me know what you think about mixing encaustic with rust. Want to give it a try?

Be back soon!

Posted on Leave a comment

Irreverent Encaustics #6

January 30, 2021 #6

A little more snow today but still not quiet enough! Coming from South Texas and having lived in Palm Springs/Palm Desert California for much of my life, I love to watch the snow fall! See Baby Girl and friends over to the right? They were leaving as I walked out onto the porch but stopped and looked back to see if I had a bread bag with me! Haha! Well, there’s still another month left of cold weather so maybe there ‘ll be more snow to come.

I have a few more encaustic tips I want to pass on today. If you have any questions please ask or if you’re struggling with a problem, just click on the CONTACT link and I’ll help if I can. I don’t collect email addresses, you’ll never receive any offers, special discounts or promotions of any kind. All the tutorials in this blog are free, no fees, no subscriptions. The only remuneration I will receive is a very minuscule one from Amazon for listing their products, which are the very same products I use almost daily. If you click on a product photo I have listed at the end of the post, you will go directly to Amazon and even if you don’t purchase the product, I will get credit for ‘sending’ you to Amazon. It will cost you absolutely nothing and it may add a few pennies to my coffer. In fact you may even find an item has been marked down and receive a discount. Every little bit adds up and I promise it will either go to more deer corn for Baby Girl and her friends or wax for the pot!

Now, back to where we left off yesterday . . .

Painting with a thick layer of brushed on wax . . . Picking off a dog hair as I go. Don’t be concerned that you’re covering up your paint, we’re going to blow most of it off with the torch. Gosh, I wish you could have seen how smooth and bubble free that wax was!

This is my favorite desk top wax pot. I practically use it every day if I’m working on small pieces. It’s no longer being marketed so I find one now and then on eBay. I used to buy them for twenty something dollars and have paid as much as Forty dollars lately. I use them in classes so I have several. Get one if you can! Maybe two. Look for Ranger Melting Pot. They were also first on the market as SUZE something or other, same product. It was used for another purpose but is perfect for my use and I don’t have to fire up a big griddle, etc.

If you work with encaustics and sometimes notice tiny/tiny little specks of hard resin on the surface of your work, that is caused by heating and reheating your wax over and over. The demar resin begins to revert to it’s original crystallized state. By using this smaller pot you will use up the wax and replenish the pot and never have that problem. Never ‘add’ to the melted wax, use it up, clean out the pot and start a new batch.

Ok, I discovered the lack of detail and repositioned the camera!  hopefully I’ll get better at this as I go along.

Brushing on what I call ‘humpy’ wax layers that I will ‘skim’ pigment onto later . . . Now, another little trick. Which reminds me of Peggy Taylor, my favorite watercolor teacher of all time . . . When I would say ‘trick’ she would say, “no, no, no, La’Nelle- never say ‘trick’, say ‘technique’!” So, in Peggy’s honor . . . Here is another of my favorite encaustic ‘techniques’! We’re building up humpy-like areas, shaped like clouds or waves. Wax drizzled and dabbed along from side to side. As much or as little as you’d like. You can always add more later or carve more out, so no worries, just drizzle away.

This is another little heated tool I use almost daily. It comes with several different tips and there are others I buy separately and even one I can no longer find and have to have made by a local metalsmith. I’ll put a link at the bottom. It’s actually a wood burning tool but back in the day, when I couldn’t find a small encaustic tool, this is what I finally settled on and have been using them ever since. It comes with it’s own regulator dial which is very accurate as well as handy. I have such a beautiful, smooth surface here (brag/brag) that I need to ‘rough’ it up a bit for what is planned next. I’m very lightly passing the ironing tip back and forth over the wax and as I do I create minuscule little streaks and valleys.  Oh, there’s my favorite coffee mug in the picture! Made by local potters David and Becki Dahlstedt of Mt View, Arkansas. I love their work!

Until I learn a bit more about uploading photos and videos you may have to click on the words ‘FullSizeRender’ or on the ‘img’ followed by a number to see the videos.  I’m working on it!


Here’s the piece up a little closer. Hmmm . . . Looking like clouds and rough waves!


I just realized . . . Those hands in the video are my grandmother’s hands!!! How did that happen??? But, back to the hot tool and wax. I’m using R & F encaustic wax with damar resin added and R & F encaustic pigments . . . a titanium white hot stick- I like the way it breaks up and moves with the torch flame quicker than the blocks, also using grays, sky blue and a wee little lilac. First the white then a touch of the other colors in no particular order. I’m adding a tiny amount of pigment to the ironing tip and just barely hitting the tops of my ‘humpy’ areas and trying not to allow any pigment to melt down into the crevices.

Now to the sculpting . . . Almost my favorite part! I’m even using one of my old sculpting tools. Now I want to carve out anything that would look unnatural in clouds or splashing waves. Any vertical lines or color-heavy areas that just don’t look as if they should be there. I’m also going to smooth out any bubbles or sharp color edges. I have tools for that but if it’s a tiny little spot I’ll just use my thumb-nail, my secret tool! OH- and another encaustic trick (technique) . . . How to patch a bad spot! Don’t know if you can see but there were a couple of little holes that I ‘plugged’ with a bit of the colored wax I’d just scraped off another area. I put the tiny little ball of wax in the spot and smear it over with my thumbnail. It’s possible to do this since I’m working on a warm piece. As long as I heat seal it later the ‘patch’ will be secure! After carving a bit I want to torch some areas enough that the pigment spreads . . . You’ll see it happen.




Those sides are a mess. A quick way to clean them up is with the hot tool and the ironing head. There are lots of other attachment heads but this is the one we’ve used today. Just iron the wax and wipe off.


After lightly torching it needs a little more ‘sculpting’ and patching. I see now I’m going to have to come up with a way to get the camera in closer. I’m not sure you can see the detail involved here. I’ll take some really close-up stills of the finished piece.

Oppps . . . My piece is cooling, harder to carve without gouging! I forgot to mention, the carving goes a little easier and with less mistakes as long as the piece is warm. I use a wax mixture a little on the heavy side with damar resin so my wax dries pretty hard. Yet another encaustic trick here . . . I use, what I call, my lizard warmer! It’s actually a sort of heating pad that you can put underneath an aquarium to keep pet lizards, snakes, etc warm. It’s a constant level heat, never too hot to rest my hands/arms on and keeps my boards warm enough to work with easily. Many times I will have pieces in various stages of completion and any cooled down work should be warmed before you begin to work on them again. I have the lizard warmer on a board on top of my trash bin, always on, and can plop an encaustic piece on it anytime. It never gets too hot. I’ll put a link below for the IPOWER reptile heating pad. Now, back to the carving/sculpting and hole filling.

The end result . . .

Turned into a pretty little piece, I think. It will display nicely on an easel or framed. I love doing these little watercolor based encaustics!

Let me know what you’re working on. Any suggestions for a how-to post? If you have any encaustic questions or if you’re having a problem with a piece, I’ve probably had the same problem somewhere along the way, let me know. I’ll be glad to help if I can, just click on the contact link at the top of the page and send me an email.

See you soon with more encaustic tips and tricks! Stay safe and stay healthy!


This is the hot tool I use. The particular tip I use in the tutorial is no longer available but I have them made locally. I prefer this tool because it has the variable temp dial.

I buy only R & F pure encaustic wax with damar resin. I’ve tried many different kinds, I’ve even made my own mixture and grind my own damar resin but for ease of use this is what I use most often. I do add a little extra finely ground damar because I like the very hard and glossy finish. It is a little harder to work with and harder to clean up. This is a great product, it’s very light in color, filtered, pure 100% bees wax. I buy in much larger quantities but here’s a link for 1 lb. Just be sure you get the filtered bees wax and not soy or another type of wax.

If you’re a beginner I suggest you begin your encaustic pigment collection with a set of just a few basic colors and go from there. This is a good starter kit plus you get a nice encaustic cradle! You can mix a good variety of colors with just these few basic colors included in this kit.

You may not start off using slotted encaustic brushes but if you stick with encaustics you will want them. They hold more wax without releasing too much of it at a time when touching the board and it seems to stay liquid longer. I love them and use them exclusively.

My lizard warmer . . . Again it’s not something I started off with but once I found out that these things existed I had to try it. You do have to keep your work warm while carving and scraping and the only way to do that is to constantly be heating the back side with a torch or laying the work on a griddle, etc. A back and forth process. Once I realized I could adapt this product to my purposes I never looked back. This thing is perfect for keeping the work warm. A constant heat it’s never too hot, I can rest my hands, arms etc right directly on the pad and never worry about melting my work. Also, if it’s sturdy enough to have a heavy aquarium sit in top of it that means it’s certainly strong enough for my use.

This set of inexpensive sculpting tools are all I ever use for scraping and carving encaustics. You will need something like this because there’s waaaaay more carving that goes on in encaustics than you may realize. These are the very same sculpting tools I use every day, on large or small work. My only other favorite tools I use are some professional tools my dentist gave me. He saves his broken (OUCH) dental tools for me! One end is always good! haha! DO- ask your dentist to do the same for you! Tell them about encaustic art and I’m sure s/he will be happy to oblige!

I have several torches and have always liked Tivoli creme brûlée torches the best but I have not been able to find them lately. This Sondiko torch seems to be exactly the same torch, just with a different name. I prefer these small torches for small pieces because my arm doesn’t tire as it does holding the big cumbersome canister torch aloft. The reason I like this torch in particular is because I can dial down the temp and get a very soft flame and don’t take a chance of ‘blowing a hole’ in my work! Beware of the torches with the sharp, pin-prick flame!

I always make sure I have a supply of butane on hand. It took me just one time to run out in the midst of a project and have to go to town (28 mile round trip) for a new supply! A tip for filling your torch . . . Hold the torch upside down and seat the butane can tip into the filling hole and press the can down. Have a good grip around the handle of the torch, as you feel the ‘cold’ under your grip move up towards the can that means the reservoir in the torch handle is filling with the very cold butane. As the cold feeling reaches the ‘top’ where the can is inserted into the torch handle you can be assured that the reservoir is full and remove the can.

Posted on Leave a comment

Irreverent Encaustics #5

January 17, 2021 . . .

Today is the first of my Irreverent Encaustics ‘how to’ blog entries! We’re going to be doing things with encaustic painting we’re not supposed to be doing so stay with me for lots of Encaustic Tips and Tricks! Hey- if it works, why not? I have no idea what I’m doing as far as getting photos/videos up on this website but I do know a trick or two about encaustic painting! So, stay with me and don’t be too critical, I’ll learn as we go. In the meantime, maybe you’ll learn something new as well.

All the materials we’ll be using today I have listed in the previous blog entry, #4 and have a link to if you’re new to encaustics. There are a couple I didn’t think to mention such as my lizard warmer, that I’ll tell you about when we use it later, haha!

This is a quick and easy little 5”x 5” self hanging piece but I have a couple of tips that you can use no matter the size you choose to work on.

First we have to be sure our surface is dust free.

We’re going to prepare our board.  I usually use a heavy, inexpensive black acrylic paint for the edges of the board.

I hate gloves so I just cut off a finger tip and use that . . . Then dab and spread the paint all along the sides of the board.

Now for the surface . . . I’m using 140# Cason watercolor paper cut from an 11”x 15” sheet. There are 30 sheets in a pad and I can get six 5”x 5” pieces from one sheet with a very little waste which I save and keep handy for test strips.

Apply a coat of BEST-TEST rubber cement to the wood surface as well as a coat to the back side of the WC paper. I buy the 32oz can and transfer to a smaller bottle that has a brush. The back side of the watercolor paper being the smoother side. You want the bumpier side up. Do not put paper to block until both have thoroughly dried. If you’re in a hurry, dry with the heat gun. I usually spend a day prepping boards and just let them all dry naturally.

After both sides have dried, choose a corner . . . You only have ONE chance with this step . . . and press the paper to the block. Use a brayer if you like. There may be a little overhang, try to get all your overhang off two sides rather than centering the paper and having to trim four sides rather than two. Trim the edge with an x-acto then sand the edges all around using a downward motion. This assures that the raw paper edge will soak in a little more wax and seal securely to the wood base.

Some prefer taping off the block and painting the edges later or even leaving them plain. Some collectors like to see the wax drips on the sides of the panels so I sometimes leave a little of that. If you use tape always try to fold back a wee little bit of tape onto itself when you finish taping. This is a habit, once established, will save you SO much frustration in the future.

If you prefer to gesso your block be sure to use encaustic gesso made especially for encaustic painting and you apply at least two coats. One brushed in in one direction and the second coat brushed on across that. I rarely sand the gesso, it depends upon how smooth I need the texture. I believe the dry, unsanded gesso gives a better ‘tooth’ for the wax.

OK . . . Now, here comes the irreverent part! Encaustic tip, trick technique coming up . . . You’ll need the least expensive (think Dollar Store) watercolor set that you can find. A big bottle of hand sanitizer, a small lid or something to hold a few squirts of sanitizer, an old brush- or I suppose you could use the one in your set- and a small spray bottle with water. Spritz your watercolor pans with water, dip your brush in a glob or hand cleaner and transfer it to a pan color, you want a soft color, not dark . . . That’s why these cheap watercolors work so well, they don’t have a lot of pigment . . . spread some color around. Think beach sand, water, sky colors or mountains, trees, etc and just get a little color on the paper. Don’t worry about what it looks like at this point because it will look totally different later. Just try not to get too much color on and certainly don’t work it so long that the paper becomes saturated. This should be a quick process. I apologize for the glare, I realize now you can’t see my painted surface too well. I changed camera angles when I noticed this so you’ll see it a little later.


I’m going to stop here, before we get to the wax and will start off with that the first thing tomorrow! Until then, if you have the time, go ahead and prepare several boards so you’ll always have one ready to go. I usually take a day just for board prep, just to get the drudgery part out of the way!

Below is a list of tools and materials I used today. I have the blocks on my site under browse work and then supplies and the watercolor set is a Dollar Store item. Everything else comes from Amazon. Since I am an Amazon affiliate I may (or may not) make a few cents from a sale from my website but it will not affect your price in any way. In fact you may even find items that are discounted so be sure to look at other items and compare prices. I only suggest and list tools and materials that I use personally and I only buy items that have 4-1/2 to 5 stars!

Tomorrow we’ll burn some wax and I’ll show you a little trick that I use all the time. In the meantime if you have any encaustic questions or if you’re having a problem with a piece, I’ve probably had the same problem somewhere along the way, let me know. I’ll be glad to help if I can, just click on the contact link at the top of the page and send me an email.

See ya tomorrow! Stay safe and stay healthy!


This is a good, heavy watercolor paper. As long as you don’t overwork and ‘scrub’ into the paper and cause it to separate or ball up this is fine for encaustic. I like that Canson seems to be a little more porous than some which is good for our purpose.

You’ll save in the long run by buying just one small bottle of rubber cement with the brush and then buying the 32 oz can to refill. Finding the right glue for this purpose was one of toughest tasks. I have tried so many, from Elmers to expensive PVA glues and this is what works best for me, as long as you coat both sides of your project and only stick the two sides together after they are dry. It will not hold up if you put the sides together while wet. The downside to using rubber cement in this manner is that it is not positionable.

Practically any paper type tape will work for our purpose, this is just the one I use. I buy it in several different widths.

If you use gesso, and you will want to on some projects, this is the best, if not the only brand to use. Please don’t use regular gesso, it must be encaustic gesso. Again, I buy in larger quantities and refill into this smaller container which is easier to have at hand while working.


You may not use a heat gun to dry the glue but you will need one. I like this one because it has a dual speed which I can easily switch back and forth. The price is great and they really last. No need to buy a larger or more expensive heat gun, this one works great.



Posted on Leave a comment

Irreverent Encaustics #4 . . .

Today is the day! I plan to start each blog entry with a photo of the view from my studio.

Here’s the view from yesterday. This is Baby girl and her friends.  Her mother China was raised here and Baby Girl was born here. She’s four years old and loves white bread. I give her a couple of slices every morning.

Here’s  the view from the studio today, 30 degrees outside and we have a wee little snow! The Barnie rooster just brought his two favorite ladies around to the front for a photo op.

We’re almost ready to burn some wax! But first let’s discuss encaustic tools and materials and what you’ll need to get started.

Unfortunately encaustic art requires a whole different set of tools. I’ve put together a list of what I use most often in my studio and I didn’t run out and buy it all at once. If fact most of the tools I use are not necessarily made for encaustic art at all but they’re tools that I find work best for me.

I’ve put together a list along with photos of my suggestions (why I like it/why I don’t) and links to the items that can be found on If you purchase anything from an Amazon affiliate link I have provided here I will make a few pennies (and I do mean a few) maybe even enough to buy more wax and a little corn for the deer! I love encaustic art, I’m in my studio almost every day and because I sometimes take a little different approach to encaustics, I’ve long thought about an encaustic blog. I hope, as you get to know me, you’ll realize my only objective is to pass some of that encaustic love on to you!

That said, please do use the links I’ve provided not just as a purchasing point but as an exploratory tool. Let’s say you click on the link I have listed for a heat gun . . . I’ve listed that particular heat gun because it’s the one I use and it’s one I’ve had good luck with. I teach encaustic classes here in my studio and if I’m using one tool I have several others just like it. So, let us say you have clicked on the link I’ve provided for the heat gun, you’ll go directly to that heat gun on Amazon. BUT, if you scroll down a bit you will see many other heat guns that are available. Some will be more expensive, some less. Some will have more reviews others less. You WILL need a heat gun but you don’t have to buy the one I have suggested.

Fire extinguisher . . . Smoke Alarm . . . Enough said!

I will never suggest tools or supplies that I haven’t personally used myself, many of them I use daily and you’ll see them in my photos and videos . . . And I will only suggest an item that has a 4-1/2 to 5 star rating. When I buy online, I’ve learned from experience, to pay attention to the reviews.  I almost always buy from Amazon because of their great return policy, which I have used many times.

Whenever I can I’ll tell you about a less expensive alternative if that is what I use. I may have a photo up of a particular item but will tell you to search from that link. Encaustic tools and materials are expensive. Enough so that many artists that would love to try encaustics simply don’t because of the cost involved. I started out with a very few tools and materials and so can you.

I still use cat food cans and sardine tins for pigment pans. Although, I have, long ago, thrown out the clothes pins and paper clamps I once used for handles. After dropping a few pans of hot wax I confiscated a batch of spring clamps from my husband’s work shop and never worry now about pre-releasing a pan of hot wax!

Right now, before we go any farther . . . Make a note to yourself, to remind (often) your spouse or partner of the health benefits of eating sardines on a regular basis! You will need the cans! OR, get a cat.

Here are a few unorthodox tools I use in my encaustic art. When I first began working in encaustics there were no encaustic tools, not that I ever knew about. After a few years along came an encaustic griddle that I absolutely had to have. If I remember correctly it was an R&F product which consisted of a one burner hot plate screwed (with four bolts and wing nuts) between a piece of wood and an aluminum plate. And it cost almost $200.00. I had to have it. I still have it, I’ve never used it. I did turn it on once to make sure it worked but I prefer my $50.00 counter top pancake griddle. JoAnn’s has a beautiful encaustic hot palette/griddle for $600.00, looks pretty much like the one burner R&F hot palette, a hot plate under a piece of aluminum. I may be mistaken, it could be way more hi-tech, I’m just going by the online photo, haven’t bought that one, not gonna.

There is a downside to the counter top grills (as well as many of the other hot tools I use) their thermostats are unreliable, they cycle up and down. It gets too hot and turns itself off, it cools down a bit and turns itself back on, etc. I’ve had different ones over the years and it seems to be that way with every one I’ve had BUT there is a fix for that. A power regulator. In fact all the tools and griddles I use I run through one power strip plugged into the heat regulator. I first set the regulator at 200 degrees, plug the power strip into the regulator then plug my grill and tools into the power strip. There we go, a solid pulse of power, no powering up and down, and all the tools are the same temp.  Another beautiful aspect of this arrangement is . . . If you get a power strip with an on/off switch, with one click you can turn off ALL you hot tools at once. After setting paper towels on fire (twice) I will never leave my work area for any reason without first flipping that off switch.

The first countertop griddle I used I bought on eBay. The first handheld hot tool I used was a cheap wood burning tool. Although I’ve bought many different tools, irons, griddles, etc over the years, I still prefer my countertop cooking griddle, my travel iron and a wood burning stylus to most of the expensive ‘encaustic’ tools. Encaustic medium and pigments, the one place where we can’t cut corners, are costly enough.

My number one piece of equipment is no longer being made. I use it daily. It’s some sort of electric wax melting pan and just the perfect size to keep right next to my work area for melting clear wax which I use almost constantly. I have several of them and can only find them on eBay, as far as I know. They have been marketed under several incarnations and names, always the same exact design, most recently they were sold under the Ranger name. When they first came on the market they were $20.00 or so. I have paid up to $40.00 + tax for one on eBay when I was desperate. I use them for classes. Today I checked eBay and there were four available. A couple at around $30.00 and a couple more up for bid. If you want to start out doing small encaustics this is a must have. Do what you have to do to get one, even two if you can. It’s called a Melting Pot by Suze Wienberg, was sold by Ranger.

Today I’ll list what is needed to prepare a palette for an encaustic piece as I do, using materials that I use. All the pre-cut wood palettes and slabs you can order here on this site, just go to ‘Browse Work’ and click on supplies. The wood cradles I buy on Amazon.

First we’ll prepare the board. You can use either Encaustic Gesso or . . . Why not try my preferred method for small works. Canson 140# watercolor paper on a cradle or wood panel. I buy over sized pads so I have less waste. First measure your board then measure the size of watercolor paper to fit the board and cut the paper.  Next apply the Best Test Rubber Cement to the board and then apply a coat of the same to the back side of the watercolor paper. The back side being the side down as you tear it from the pad, the bumpiest surface goes up, the shinier side goes down . . . Apply the rubber cement to the shiny side and let both sides dry completely.  Be very careful with the next step . . . There’s no second chance with this step . . . Without touching paper to wood, visually align the two and slowly press the glued sides together.  Place a piece of copy paper over the top and burnish or otherwise press the paper to the board to assure a good adhesion. It’s best in the beginning to cut your paper a little on the large side and trim after this last step because using rubber cement in this manner does not allow for repositioning and all the repositioning type glues I have tried do not stand up as well for encaustics.

First you’ll need the board backing or panel. I have the 5”x 7” panels and 4”x 4” and 5”x 5” blocks for sale here under ‘Browse Art & Supplies’ and the cradles you can find on Amazon. If you’re just beginning I would suggest you start small. Just remember to buy the best size watercolor paper to fit the pieces you will be doing so as to not have waste. Here are the cradles I prefer and they come in various sizes . . .

Although I buy the rubber cement in 32 oz cans I keep a small glue pot handy and refill as needed from the larger can. These small bottles also have an applicator brush . . .

Here’s the larger 32 oz can. I never buy anything larger. This size will last a couple of months . . .

Do check around on this watercolor paper because some of the best bargains are the 3 packs. it depends upon the size wood panels you want to use. For instance if you want to use 5”x 7” wood panels buy a pad such as a 10”x 14” that will give you four pieces of paper per sheet without any waste. If you planned to work on 5”x 7” panels and purchased an 8”x 10” watercolor pad you’d only get one piece of paper per sheet and have lots of waste. Canson is not as expensive as some other watercolor papers but is perfectly fine for encaustics.

If you’d want to give encaustic gesso a try, and I suggest you try both, the gesso and the watercolor paper. Just to see which you have a personal preference for. I really don’t think one is any better than the other for any reason, it’s just that I prefer the paper and maybe that’s because I also love watercolor and still do a little watercolor now and then. When using the gesso I always apply three coats and dry between each coat so it seems to me that the gesso takes a little more time.  Here’s the encaustic gesso I use . . .

A quick and easy method to finish off the edges of your panel or board if you use watercolor paper is to trim the paper closely then sand down the edges. Holding the board in your hands, using minimal pressure, sand in a downward motion against the paper edge to soften the sharp edge.

The last step to the board preparation is to finish the raw sides. I most often use a black acrylic paint all around the side edges. Rarely I’ll use a white or gold but most often black. Apply with any old brush, I usually use my finger.

That’s everything you need to prepare your ground for encaustic painting. Next entry we’ll get to the wax!  Stay happy and healthy and create some art!


Posted on Leave a comment

Irreverent Encaustics #3 . . .

January 2, 2021

Both creeks on our place are running today. We even have a waterfall! Ok . . . It’s only a 1” waterfall but still . . . Here’s a couple of photos taken from the daily dog run. They  run, I ride in the cart! Ebony the black Lab tries to drink her way across and Contessa, the Papillon waits for the cart. Contessa thinks she’s a farm dog.

I’ll get to the art in a few days, I promise. I’m waiting for the camera tripod I ordered a few weeks ago. Surely it will be here soon.

Stay healthy and happy and create some art! Stay safe!

Posted on Leave a comment

Irreverent Encaustics #2 . . .

January 1, 2021 . . .

The view from my front porch this morning on top of Fox Mountain in the middle of the Ozarks . . . Brrrrr . . . That’s ice, not snow. 
I’m staying toasty in the studio straightening things up a bit, getting ready to start a new encaustic project to blog about.  I plan to take photos to show the progress as I go along. Still haven’t quiet decided how to proceed. Perhaps I’ll start with something small and simple . . . Not too complicated in the beginning.

Mail delivery here has been a little off lately, UPS, FedEx as well as the USPS have had some problems. I’m still waiting on two orders that should have come two days ago. One is for a tripod for the camera I hope to use for photographing the encaustic pieces I’ll be working on. Can’t have a art blog without photos!

Happy 2021 everyone! Stay safe, stay healthy and create some art! See you again real soon.


Posted on Leave a comment

Irreverent Encaustics #1 . . .

December 31, 2020 . . . #1

Today, the 31st of December, 2020 is the date of my first blog entry. Ever. I’ve been thinking about doing this for years and now, suffering withdrawal from family and friends because of the Covid Virus, I find I have the time as well as the inclination.

I’m an encaustic artist living in the beautiful Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. Moving here from South Texas (Hurricane Katrina did it for me) I’m so in awe of all the changes that occur as one season ever so subtlety morphs into the next.  Any time of the year, there’s a painting everywhere I look!

As I write the posts for this blog, I realize I’m not only writing about art or painting, little snippets of life experiences and opinions have a way of rising up within whatever subject I’m writing about. So- if you continue reading you’ll probably learn more about me than you ever wanted to know.  Mainly, I’m old and I have an opinion about everything and don’t mind sharing my opinions.  I still use terms such as . . . Eeeeeeek and Haha when composing emails and I’m about as computer literate as a screwdriver but I’m learning. I hate bigots, racists and homophobes and I love animals, nature and this world we live in which you will probably find reflected in my art as well as my blog.  This blog comes to you via 77 years of experiences and what I’ve learned from those experiences, good or bad, right or wrong.  I do hope you will respond, I’d love to hear about your experiences and your opinions!

An artist all my life, I was a graphic designer and began my career back in the 70’s, before computers . . . Back when I had to call a type setting order in to a business in another city to have type set for a particular project then go to the bus station in the middle of the night to pick it up in order to finish a magazine ad by deadline the next day. I often think— if I had just had a color copier back in those days I could have ruled the world!

I did have the opportunity to meet some very interesting people during those midnight visits to the bus station.

I also worked in television, designed the sets for all our little local programs . . . Dialing for Dollars, Morning Magazine, etc as well as redesigning our news and weather sets every year or so. I was responsible for all the art used for our PSA’s (Public Service Announcements) and anything art-wise used in a commercial. Later I opened my own advertising/marketing business- La’Nelle Gambrell Advertising Art.

Art shows and competitions were important back then and I participated as often as I could. As the only woman in town in the ‘Ad business’ . . . Think Mad Men . . .  It was always a thrill to win an award. OK— I’ll say it . . . It was always THE best feeling in the world to beat out one of the guys that had the luxury of entertaining male clients where I, as a ‘respectable’ woman in those days, er . . . uh . . . could not go.

Those days seem like another lifetime. Now retired, I live on this beautiful Ozark mountaintop where I’m lucky enough to have my wonderful art studio (thanks to my husband Joe) and I’m able to watch the leaves turn and the deer race around the pond while I melt wax and burn shellac!

I’m in my encaustic studio almost every day working on something. I‘m always experimenting with different tools and mediums and techniques. Sometimes I have eureka moments and other times dismal failures but always I have fun plus I learn something in the process. I’ve learned a lot through the years by trial and error and via this blog I hope to impart some of those successes and maybe even save you from some of the failures!

Back when I started in encaustics, there was very little information out there. No YouTube videos, no How-To books. The only modern day encaustic artist I’d even heard of was an artist living in Mexico, Eshwan Winding, who is a very fine artist and does beautiful encaustic work. I found her before I found encaustics. I was looking online for some rather obscure recordings by a famous big band era trombonist named Kai Winding . . . I found the recordings and also discovered his widow, Eshwan, the encaustic artist, living and teaching in Mexico. She had some of her work online as well as a blog at the time and even though I never traveled to Mexico to take her classes I learned the basis of what I needed to know to get me started with encaustics. She was my inspiration. Who knows, perhaps this blog may inspire someone to give encaustics a try!

This is it, my first installment. Within the next few days I’ll add more content. I’m thinking I’ll start with a description of whatever I happen to be working on and I’ll list the tools and supplies I use. I’ll also tell you why I have chosen the particular tool or material I use, what I used when I first began my encaustic journey and how/why I evolved into using what I use now. Most often the tools I use these days are much less expensive than what I thought I had to have in the beginning. I could have saved quite a lot if I had known then what I know now. I’ll try to pass on some of those tips, tricks and techniques, even, dare I say . . . Secrets? I mean, why, at my age am I holding on to them? Haha!

I’m hoping you won’t be too critical of my writing style or the content . . . I’m sure to veer off the topic of encaustic art and tell you about my 20 year old cat Abigale who is nearing the end of his life. He is pretty much on my mind during these, his last days. I probably won’t be able to resist posting videos (probably bad video) of the two big rack, buck deer that come late at night to eat the corn we leave . . . or post photos of the moss and bracken that grow on the rocks here that look like alien, microscopic forests.

If you’re struggling with a particular encaustic dilemma  or have a question go ahead and ask, I’ll be glad to give you my opinion. If you have suggestions for future encaustic topics, please let me know. I sometimes think I’ve seen it all so to speak but probably not, still I’ll tell you what has worked or hasn’t worked for me. See ya next year! Hope 2021 will bring us all health, healing and happiness. Create more art and stay safe!