Encaustic Monotypes

what is it–

Encaustic painting definition: A nice, straightforward definition is: “Encaustic painting is a mixed media technique that involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments have been added. The liquid/paste is then applied to a surface — usually prepared wood, although canvas and other materials are often used. The term is derived from Greek, meaning a burning in.” It can be used as paint, adhesive, or both, and it seems to mix well with oil-based media. (

Monotype definition: Monotypes are made by some form of hand drawing on a *blank* substrate on which another substrate is pressed or transferred to. I often think of gelli plate printing as the model for this print type. They differ from monoprints in that the initial plate is generally void of physical partitions or other marks to create any sense of exact repetition. For example: I can print a linoleum block cut with any number of combinations of paint, ink, patterning, etc; but the underlying design doesn’t change. (

how it’s done: Encaustic monotypes, which are unique prints made without the need for a press, are made with the same encaustic paint as you would work with when painting directly on a panel suitable for accepting encaustic media. Simple explanation, not simple execution!

As I’m intrigued by all things printmaking, I had to try to combine these 2 concepts. So, off I go and what I’ve done,

after a bunch of trial and error (a good learning technique, if you’re persistent) I was able to get some “clean” ish prints.

TGR/TGW [Things gone right, things gone wrong]

Clockwise from upper left: A nice textural outcome from overlaying a print with another layer of encaustic. Some areas are thicker, and you can see where some of the under layer was pulled up in the second layer; unpredictable. Upper right: An owl face which was kind of blobby, and yet what I created on the hot plate was pulled as expected onto the paper. Hmmm, maybe on to something? Lower-row: on the left is the plate with a simplified blue jay in flight. But when pulled onto the paper: all blobby and colors blurred together. So, not quite what I was thinking would happen.

Seems some volume control is in order. Too much medium will not be absorbed as expected into the paper. This might be tricky, as the medium will stand-up on the plate and be difficult to gage at this early stage in my learning. All of that medium has to go somewhere.

Learn more

There is a surprising amount of content on encaustic monotypes on the interweb. But the proof is in the pulling. (LOL!) It’s definitely a mix of science and art. Getting a feel for the interaction is an understatement at this point in time. I’m certain that practice and willingness to be aware will result in some beautiful results, with the occasional magical happening. Stay tuned.

List of resources

(Links below may connect to Amazon or other online shops using affiliate links. By using these, I get a small commission at no added cost to you.
Thanks in advance.)

Books and Stuff


Shop Talk: How Encaustic Heat & Wax Transformed My Creative Process – Surface Design Association Surface Design Association

Thanks for reading. In gratitude –

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