This is my copy of one of R’s late portrait. [Someone pointed out to me that Google Images now shows large numbers of student copies when you search for an old master’s paintings, so I am not going to identify the artist except by initial. I don’t want my copy littering up the internet.]
As always, it’s highly educational to try this. My goal was to try some impasto in the Cuni encaustics, but I really failed at that. I’m not good at surface texture and fat paint, and I didn’t succeed in anything more than very low impasto. But I learned a lot.
Cuni answered a few more questions.
1. Lightfastness and pigment compatibility: I was concerned that quinacridone magenta is showing poor lightfastness on their American website, but he said this is an error.
I am surprised to hear that our PR122 is rated poor lightfastness in the tube, maybe it was an error with the label. I have been checking our current labels and our PR122 tubes are marked with the highest lightfastness rate. In our website it also shows up with a high rate. As you say, PR122 is usually a lightfast pigment and ours has been chosen by its high quality and resistance values.
Guerra Paint carries aqua dispersions, which are pigments in liquid form, ready to be mixed with water mediums like gum arabic, casein or egg. They have a really amazing line of colors. From their current color chart, here are the paints that have the highest lightfast ratings of 8, 8, 8.
Mouth study, 8″x10″, Cuni water-soluble encaustics on Arches watercolor board.
I have been doing a series of paintings about speech; there is nothing like a mouth to test paint. This was painted pretty thinly, no impasto. Some areas are watercolor-like washes, but the mouth was mostly painted in multiple layers of somewhat thicker paint. Based on this, I have no doubt this paint can be used for realist painting comparable to the incredible Fayum portraits. I think it could be used for almost hyper-realistic work if desired.
The paint is almost instantly layerable with fairly dry paint, since it sets up very quickly. I didn’t do any curing with heat while painting. As fast as it sets, I found this unnecessary, so I was able to paint uninterrupted from start to finish. What a joy after waiting days with indirect painting in oils! The most intense color areas were done with multiple thin glazes in both wet and drybrush techniques. It is easy to correct areas; the chalky look of corrections with titanium white in the mix can be quickly adjusted with glazes.
These paints are very new on the U.S. market. They are produced by the Cuní family in Spain (now part of a bigger company, accorging to Custom Encaustics). According to Jorge Cuní on an AMIEN thread:
“…You can also paint with water-soluble encaustic of beeswax and potassium soap. Chemical studies of ancient paint samples indicate that this type of cold encaustic was used by Greek and Roman artists to execute paintings on wall, wood, canvas and ceramic. Pliny the Elder reports that the word encaustic designated both the cold wax technique used by artists and the hot wax technique used to paint ships (Pliny, Natural History 35, 41). With wax-and-soap encaustic you can mix the colors together and make layers like in acrylic or oil. Unlike wax saponified with an alkali, water-soluble encaustic film is totally stable. Fusing the paint after its application is not necessary, although a final heating below the melting point of the paint improves its water resistance.