Getting rich darks: a nice way to get deep rich darks in your encaustic paintings is to incorporate rust.  The WIP above, part of my Anasazi collection does just that. If you live in an area in the Eastern US where they put salt on the roads you’ve probably seen rust on a car, but of course many exposed metals are vulnerable. But what do you do if your garage doesn’t have rusty tools? I root around in someone’s old barn or garage.  My brother-in-law Cy and my daugther Cheri both stood at my elbow as I went thru their old buckets, “No! No! Not that piece…”  My daughter Dawn and her husband Mark were even more careful  “We’ll bring you some for Christmas…” Once you have rusty parts you are ready to make your own rust for painting.

Steps to making rust: to make and use rust for my encaustics I prefer to transfer it to paper or cloth.  In the first picture below you can see that I’ve gathered up some nice intersting shapes.  I lay them out in layers on various types of paper, even some fabrics work well, and spray then with a solution of, in this case, vinegar and water (see photo 2). I make several layers of rusty items and paper, spraying each layer as I go and then covering the whole stack with plastic (with is also on the bottom and I make it in a large flat plastic tray) and heavy phone books (remember those) to weigh everything down. I let everything sit overnight and the next day it’s almost like opening a present to see what you get.

References: This is only one method of making rust, there are many others; for example, you can also use tea or other solutions.  The web has lots of rust-making references; a few artists teach workshops about making rust; and of course, there are some lovely books on the subject.  I’m especially fond of Alice Fox’s book “Natural Processes in Textile Art.”