Encaustic Photo Transfer

A few years ago I learned of a method of photo transferring onto a canvas board with gel medium. I was eager to try it and bought all the materials, but I quickly found the process laborious, and after my fourth image, my fingers were sore from rubbing the gel and wet paper. Needless to say, I was less than impressed with the process and outcome. However, I was intrigued with the idea.

When Encaustic artist Darla Myers invited me to one of her workshops, I was excited to research photo transfer with wax. We experimented printing images on Japanese rice papers and plain printer paper. The rice paper was the most fun as it sank into the hot wax nicely and created a nice transparent effect. The trick is not to add too many wax layers on top of your image, or you will start to lose visibility altogether. It's all too easy to start going crazy with colors and wax until you realize you should have a plan before you start a photo transfer project in encaustic. 

By the way, if you are interested in learning Encaustic I highly recommend Darla's classes. She has a beautiful studio space, and it makes for a fun, intimate setting for an event with friends.

In 2016, I attended a four-day Encaustic Workshop at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology with Clare O'Neill. We spent time learning the intricacies of the wax, colors and mixing other mediums with our images. It was a lovely four days and I highly recommend a visit to the Sitka Center on the Oregon Coast.

I think Encaustic lends itself nicely to photo experimentation and is endless with options especially if you are willing to put in the time to perfect the technique. With more practice, I envision using Encaustic and mixed media to create a body of work with a series of photographs. 


Maria Ferre