Encaustic Map Cube

I’ve been so obsessed with maps lately that I can’t stop painting them.  I think it’s mainly because they have so much meaning.  A map is essentially just a picture of straight and curved lines.  But if you recognize the place it represents, you can find your home, your old school, your best friends house, and so many other meaningful pin pricks on this otherwise innocuous picture.

I’ve lived in a lot of places throughout my life, and when I stumbled upon the idea of doing an encaustic map cube, I knew right away I had to put a different city on each side.  Though, I do think it would be pretty cool to try and do one city and have all the sides blend into the other.  Not sure how that would work, but it would be fun to try.

Would you like to commission a cube for you and your family?  Contact me at and we will discuss cities, colors, and timeline for delivery.  This painting would be a fabulous Christmas present for anyone on your list!

Encaustic Map Cube

I know it looks a little messy.  What doesn’t show in the video is that I actually messed up a bit on this project.  Usually when I fill in my lines with oil paint, I wipe the excess paint away immediately with a paper towel and some linseed oil.  This time, I was working on a few projects at a time, and once I added oil paint to 3 sides, I laid the cube down and didn’t come back to it for a couple days.  By that time, the thin layer of oil paint on those 3 sides had dried to the point where the linseed oil wouldn’t take it off.  I had to scrape it away with a clay tool, and that’s why some of the sides look a bit messier than they should.

So, important tip- don’t let your oil paint sit on the surface of your encaustic painting for more than a day if you want to be able to wipe it off.

Despite my mistakes, though, I love the way this map cube turned out.  What a fun way to commemorate the special places and memories in your life!

Raleigh Past and Present- Encaustic Map

In this Encaustic map painting I’ve combined two maps of Raleigh.  The first is a map from July 1797- “Plan of the City of Raleigh with all the improvements & all the Numbers july 1th, 1797”.  This is a plan for Raleigh’s downtown.  I printed it and used gel medium to adhere it to the wood board.  Once I added a few layers of wax, I used a clay tool to make lines in the wax over the block squares, then filled them with burnt sienna oil paint.  This step can take a little while, since getting the paint all they way into the crevices over the entire piece take quite a bit of elbow grease.  It is super fun, however, to see the sharpness of the lines you’ve created as you wipe away the excess paint with paper towels and linseed oil.

I will usually let the paint dry a little, typically overnight, before adding more layers of encaustic medium.  Several more layers, and it was time to freehand Raleigh into the top layer using google maps.  Once again, I filled the lines with oil paint (Raw Umber), then wiped away the excess.  The lines still needed a bit of cleaning up, so I used the other end of my clay tool to scrape a little bit of the wax build up from the lines, leaving a sharper image.

The last step was to use one of my favorite script stamps with some india ink to stamp text over the surface.  Since the surface of the wax is rather wavy, the stamp is really dark in some areas, lighter in others, and totally misses everywhere else for a spontaneous look.


  Paintings are currently only available for purchase in the United States.

I love the symbolism of historic Raleigh buried beneath multiple layers of opaque encaustic medium, while present day Raleigh is embedded in the top layer, clearly visible.

Don’t forget to check out my video of the process.  I did make a mistake with the lighting in this video- there are shadows all over the place as I’m working, and I apologize for my mistake.  However, I thought I’d post it anyway in case it interests any of you.



Thank you for reading and watching!  I’d love your feedback, as always!

Nautical Encaustic Painting- Adding Paper and Other Elements

nautical encaustic collage art

I’ve been focused on a lot of things lately- looking for houses, visits with family and trips out of town, etc. There’s a lot going on, and it’s funny how those things can inspire in random and unexpected ways.  For example, I’ve been scouring pinterest, looking for nautical color schemes and decor I can use when we finally make a decision and move in to a new home.  It’s been really fun to find things I like and could use in our new home to make it beautiful and unique.  Those ideas have spilled over into this new nautical encaustic piece.

nautical encaustic collage

I’m not sure what it is about compasses and maps that is so fascinating to me, but making an abstract compass with wax, some tissue paper and of course, my signature quilled paper pieces was a pretty easy jump after seeing all the amazing nautical themed art and decor.

I used thin layers of oil paint to add the blue color, and fused it with the wax.  I love the swirls of blue and white.  On the right side, I heated it enough to spread the paint and wax, showing a bit of the wood underneath.  Encaustic really is a medium unlike any other.

nautical encaustic decornautical encaustic art

“Spring”- Encaustic Collage with Quilling and Rice Paper

quilling pieces in encaustic colllage art

I’ll be working on a very large triptych piece for the next few months. I have the basic ideas in mind, and one of the main concepts it will involve is layers- large amounts of my paper pieces beneath and surrounded by other elements, like fabric or paper.  As I’m working on rolling all my paper pieces for this massive project, I’m also working on layering techniques… what elements I want to be involved, what will look best, and what could potentially work best in a large format.  I experimented with wax-dipped fabric a couple months ago- this time I wanted to use rice paper in an encaustic collage.

  • I began with a 6*12 inch piece of wood and painted it white.
  • Encaustic medium came next.  I added layers of wax in clear and white, and then used brown wax to paint some curved sections.
  • Some of my green rolled paper pieces were what I needed to create a 3D effect by embedding them in the brown sections of the wax, like portions of dirt and grass visible from under melting snow.
  • The tricky part was adding the layers of rice paper to enhance the idea of new life growing beneath the surface of a retreating winter.
  • I tore and burned the edges of the paper to create the right size and shape for certain areas of the painting, and then I adhered them under layers of clear wax.  The transparency of the paper allows the color of the paper elements and the wax to come through from underneath, making this piece fascinating to see from any angle.

    I wish I had better photos to show you guys… this is definitely a piece that looks better in person.encaustic collage with quilling paper piecesencaustic collage with quilling

I love this technique, though I will need some more practice before I really get the hang of adding rice paper above quilling pieces.  It can be hard to create the right shape, and I’ll think next time I’ll try to cut everything out of a single piece and use that instead of strips.

Thanks for reading!  I’d love to hear your comments and don’t forget to subscribe.  I’m always sharing new projects and tutorials, and I’d love to have you join me!

Adding rust to your Encaustic Paintings

I am so glad to finally be finished with this piece.  🙂  It really seemed to take forever because I kept trying to use shortcuts with the supplies I had, and nothing was working. Lesson learned- when trying a new encaustic technique, follow the recipe!

Encaustic Tutorial

I painted this on a cradled wood panel, 6*6.  I painted the wood white to begin with, then started working with the wax.  I added my quilled pieces first- some leftover brown pieces I had in my caddies.  Adding the rust was the tricky part.  No, tricky is the wrong word- it’s an easy enough process, once you have all the tools, which include: white vinegar, water, and some steel wool (real steel wool, not the curly stainless steel scrubbers they sell in grocery stores, which is what I tried to use first.)    Mix one part water with one part vinegar.  I laid my steel wool right onto the wax and sprayed it with my vinegar mixture.  Once everything dries, you have an awesome rust layer on the wax. And that’s it!  You can paint over it with wax if you want.  For this piece I left the rust as the top layer.

Adding rust to your encaustic paintings is  a lot of fun, once I got everything to work. I’ve created a free printable for all new subscribers that outlines all the details- you can download it by clicking below.

Encaustic Tutorial

I hope you have a lot of fun with this technique!  Go wild, and feel free to share your new pieces in the comments- I’d love to see what you create!