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632 Agua Fria Street
Santa Fe, NM, 87501

505 989 3283

Museum of Encaustic Art

Encaustic Paper & Photography


In most cases, artists who either worked with paper in diverse ways or were primarily photographers created the artworks presented on this page. Artists who incorporate the use of encaustic/wax and paper into their paintings are working in a style referred to as encaustic/wax collage or photo collage.

The artists in this section used a wide variety of papers, such as lightweight tissue, Japanese silk paper, rice paper, and hand-made paper. Some used simple paper cut-outs, stickers, newsprint, and ink jet prints in their work. The encaustic/wax photo collage is more straightforward. The collaged image is a photograph, such as a black and white print, color photocopy, digital photocopy, or ink jet copy.

Many encaustic artists using photography employ a transfer process as a way to seamlessly incorporate photography into their work. In this technique, a photo is transferred onto wax that has recently been fused and is warm to the touch. The methods for transferring vary, the most common being what is called a “paper transfer.” In this technique a photo is printed on copy paper using a laser or Xerox printer, and through a process of wetting the back of the paper, and carefully removing it, the toner from the print is transferred to the wax surface and then fused. Another method is printing a photograph, again using a laser or Xerox printer, onto a piece of ordinary kitchen parchment. The image is then burnished directly onto the warm layer of wax and the toner is transferred and fused.

Additional techniques illustrated by the artworks in this section are specific methods for securing both paper and a photograph onto, or into the art piece. The approach the artist chooses depends on the paper used in the collage or the type of paper on which the photograph is printed. Some basic methods for embedding paper into an encaustic piece include using clear encaustic medium, gel medium, and adhesives, such as contact cement or archival glues. With all these methods, once the adhesive has dried a layer of encaustic must then be applied over the paper and fused.

Regardless of which methods the artist chooses, in the creation of all encaustic/wax collage and photo collage artworks, the paper or the photograph is fused with wax on the painting surface.