Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Discovering encaustic art

If you're artistically talented and looking for a new challenge, encaustic art might be right up your street. Known as hot wax painting, this ancient technique dates back many years and is a great way to produce innovative, creative and standout pieces. What's more, with encaustic supplies readily available from sites like Homecrafts you'll have everything you need to get started, so why not give it a go?

Unlike common art forms like drawing and painting, encaustic art offers something a little different. Basically, it involves heating beeswax into a liquid stage and then mixing in coloured pigments. The liquid (or paste) is then applied to a surface, be it wood, canvas, card, paper or pottery, and turned into something quite magical. That's right, before the paint cools, artists use a wide variety of tools including brushes, styluses, drawing tips and other items to produce the image or pattern they require.

It takes time and patience to get the image just so, but with skill and persistence the results can be wonderful. In the past, artists had to work quickly to achieve what they wanted before the wax dried, however, with heat lamps and hot irons available these days it's much easier to keep the wax soft for longer periods of time. Heated metal tools can also be used to rework the paintwork once the wax has cooled, meaning errors can easily be fixed – good news for beginners or anyone looking to perfect an image.

The great thing about encaustic art is that no two pictures are exactly the same and that's what makes them so special. The pigmented wax can be worked in many different ways resulting in an extensive collection of pictures that are a joy to look at. The key is to be confident with what you're doing and manipulate your materials to get the results you want. Don't be scared to make mistakes and embrace any unexpected colour merges or patterns that might occur unexpectedly as this is what makes this art so fun.

Encaustic art dates back many years with the Fayum mummy portraits being perhaps the most well-known examples of such a technique. These fascinating, lifelike paintings were done on wooden boards and would be used to cover the faces of mummies from the Coptic period. They were not only extremely realistic but incredibly detailed and show exactly what can be achieved from encaustic techniques.

Encaustic art supplies can be bought online at a great price, so it's worth giving this pastime a go and experimenting with lots of different colours and patterns. Wax assortments come in numerous different colours, and with complete kits on offer that include everything from wax block to card and styling tools you'll have everything you need to get started. It's fun, it's creative and it's something a bit different to painting, colouring or drawing - which could explain why encaustic art is making a welcome comeback.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Britains Got Talent, my best bits...

With a new series of Britain's Got Talent about to start, I've been challenged by Mecca Bingo to come up with my 5 favourite acts who I think should have won BGT! It's a tricky one, I can barely watch it without breaking down in tears and PLEADING with the judges to reconsider, it's an emotional time! But I've managed to fight through the tears and control myself and here is my top five...

 1) My most FAVOURITE act of all time has to be Attraction from last year. Despite the controversy about them not being "British", I really don't care, I just thought they were really good. There was something truly beautiful and artistic about their performance, and they had more "class" in their little fingers than the majority of the other acts put together. I would love to see them live as I think they truly have talent.

 2) Opera duo Charlotte and Jonathan really stuck in my mind from 2012. I think we all love an underdog and they certainly were that! They came on and like everyone else I was thinking, "here we go again" and how wrong was I! They were wonderful! Simon Cowell asked Jonathan to sing without Charlotte but being a gent, he said no. However I did see online that they have now gone separate ways and signed with Sony.... that's showbiz!

3) Gabz - ok she may have looked like a moody teenager pretending to be nice, but you've got to admire her songwriting skills. There were also some amusing comments at the time on twitter about her being a potential nightmare to work with, but who cares! It was a nice song and my boys enjoy singing along with her, with their pretend lighters.... is that wrong?!

4) Everyone loves a bit of Welsh singing, even me. So I was pretty taken with "Only Boys Aloud" who auditioned back in 2012. What's not to like? Deep voices, tuneful and melancholy, total crowd pleaser. I'm only gutted they didn't win!

5) I've left my "guilty pleasure" one for last...Stavros Flatley from 2009. Awesome. This has everything. Comedy outfits, silly hair, father and son messing about on stage, dancing, irish music, weird sort of Greek dancing moves, I like!

Which are your favourite acts from BGT? Are you watching it again this year? I am!! Auditions for the new series start on the 12th April.


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