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Featured Artist: Cynthia Mosser

Creating Movement and Depth with Mixed Media

Fraternal Foliage by Cynthia Mosser on encausticbord

C. Mosser, “Fraternal Foliage”, mixed media on Encausticbord, 18"x18"x2"

My use of mixed media emphasizes color and movement through the building of many overlapping organic shapes. I am able to create visual interest through the use of a whole host of art supplies, all of which I can use on Ampersand Encausticbord. The working process I incorporate involves drawing, painting and a final application of encaustic medium. This topcoat of wax creates a clear veil through which the painting can be viewed and provides the illusion of depth.

The ability to layer different media is my key to a successful painting. I almost always start with Encausticbord, a wood panel with an absorbent ground developed by Ampersand and R&F Handmade Paints. Because of its special surface, not only can Encausticbord handle all my favorite materials, but it also readily accepts encaustic paint.

The cradled versions of Encausticbord are the best option for my work. I use two depths: ¾" if I know I need to frame the artwork or the 2" deep cradle for a presentable, ready-to-hang work. For this piece, I used an 18"x18"x2" deep cradle.

Cynthia Mosser drawing

1. I begin by drawing directly onto the surface. My favorite pen for drawing fine lines on the smooth Encausticbord surface is a black, waterproof, lightfast, super fine Pitt artist pen from Faber-Castell.

2. (not shown) After finishing the decorative line work, I paint over it with a light wash of Golden® titanium white fluid acrylic paint using a 3" gesso brush. This white wash diffuses the stark contrast of the black lines and allows the patterns to show through. Sometimes, I add a hint of color to the wash to warm up the cool white background.

3. Next, I start painting on the board using a variety of Golden® acrylic fluid paint colors. I like their immediate flowing viscosity, so color mixing and application is a snap. Small paintbrushes are my absolute favorite for control and precision. The 20/0 script liner, along with many of the other Ultra Mini brushes suit my needs perfectly. I intentionally leave a multitude of unpainted spaces for the next final step.

4. After I am finished painting, I add a layer of transparent encaustic medium to create that extra bit of depth and interest. Generally, it’s not a standard practice to use acrylics under encaustic, but since I use extremely thin layers and leave so much of the white absorbent surface of Encausticbord open, I don’t encounter any problems. I use a recipe of 1 tbsp crushed gum Damar resin to 8 tbsp beeswax pastilles to seal the work. I heat the Damar and pastilles together in a metal pot on a heated palette until the two have melted, then stir well until they create a uniform consistency. Once the mixture is ready, I strain it through a cheesecloth to remove any impurities.

5. Then, I apply it to the board with a 2.5" natural bristle brush. I fuse the wax with a heat gun until I have a glossy, evenly melted surface.

Cynthia Mosser working on her encaustic painting

6. Finally, I incise designs into the warm wax with a sharp tool.

7. Once the wax is cool, I add either white or burnt umber oil paint thinned down to a glaze with linseed oil and mineral spirits, allowing it to sink into the incised lines for contrast. Using a soft cloth dipped in mineral spirits, I wipe away the oil paint leaving behind the color in the incised lines. On the paintings to which I add the oil paint glaze, I apply a somewhat heavier sealing layer of wax to prevent the wiping and rubbing from removing too much of the surface.

8. Once the oil paint has dried, I gently polish the finished painting with a chamois cloth.

Cynthia Mosser

More information about Cynthia Mosser:www.cynthiamosser.com

Photo credit: © 2011 Maria Tizon.

Materials List:

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