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  • Encaustic over Watercolor?ApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2018-07-20 22:22:27 ... Most recent comment 2018-07-26 21:52:17
    Acrylic Encaustic Matting, Framing, and Glazing Varnishes Watercolor

    ​Hello MITRA folks! Recently, I've come across several professional artists who are using encaustic over their watercolors on paper, sometimes layered with mixed media in the wax. I know encaustic has been around a long time, but I'm wondering if the encaustic (as an alternative to glass) a) is good UV protection b) will yellow or darken over time c) has long-term archival problems including dust, fragility, poliution, temperature sensitivity, physical damage, etc. and d) has an odor that lingers? On a related subject, I know that some artists use acrylic mediums and varnishes as an alternative to glass over watercolors, but I seem to recall that Mark Golden is somewhat cautious of this use of their products, stating that acrylic varnishes will change the appearance, texture and surface of a watercolor on paper, and that this approach is not as protective as archival framing under glass. But...varnishing a watercolor would essentially turn it into an acrylic painting, and a conventional acrylic painting which has been varnished with acrylic varnishes would also have this same vulnerability, wouldn't it? Or maybe not because the paint film would be thicker with acrylic paint? I'd really appreciate some light on all of these questions, if you are able. Oh, and it goes without saying that this would be on a rigid support. Thank you!

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​Encaustic over watercolor is an interesting mixed media combination, but wax will not offer the same protection as picture glass. It will not be reversible; wax itself is vulnerable to damage from contact, and dust can adhere to the surface.  In terms of color change/fading from UV light exposure, watercolor coated in acrylic solution varnish is not functionally the same as a varnished acrylic painting, because an acrylic paint film is thicker than a watercolor paint layer, and watercolor is subject to exposure to UV light, not only from the front, but also  from the reflective paper support.

    Matthew Kinsey, Utrecht Art Supplies
    2018-07-21 18:06:29
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​As I suspected, Matthew...thank you so much for the professional confirmation.

    2018-07-21 20:45:42
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    If you decide to try this, make sure that you do some tests before hand as the wax will definitely substantially change to value and color saturation of the watercolor. This may or may not be a pleasing effect and I would hate to have you “ruin” a work that you already spent a good deal of time working on.

    Brian Baade
    2018-07-23 18:04:00
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​Thank you, Brian. I've read that elsewhere as well. I've pretty much shelved the idea, as the long-term care seems to be much more problematic than for well-framed watercolors.

    2018-07-26 21:52:17

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