Materials Master List - L@5 7/27/18

Hey! Thanks for joining me over on Instagram for Live @ Five. Here is the materials list that I recommend for you, you don't need everything at once but do refer to this as a master list of all the materials you could need. You can also visit the resources page on my website or my Amazon page to see images and prices for these materials.

Equipment and Materials Checklist

  1. 1 standard fire extinguisher/1 or 2 Tundra aerosol fire extinguisher
  2. Strong electric fan
  3. 1 box disposable Nitrile gloves
  4. Metal fire-safe wastebasket with lid
  5. Sheetrock - 2 or 3 pieces of 2’ x 2’ sheetrock to cover work surface and create burn zone.
  6. Griddle, skillet, or hot plate - should have a 200 degree F temperature setting visible.
  7. Griddle Surface thermometer
  8. Bernzomatic TS3000 or TS3500 torch and one standard propane fuel cylinder.
  9. Flat-bottomed tins/foil pans to hold melting wax - minimum of 4 foil ‘mini-loaf pans’ for clear and white medium and 6-12 4 to 8 oz tins for colored encaustic paint.
  10. Spring clamps: 2 x 2” and 1 x 4” spring clamps.
  11. Natural bristle brushes - approximately 6 x 2” and 12 x 1” inexpensive chip brushes are a good start.
  12. Encaustic Medium - 2 x 1 lb (recommended: R & F encaustic medium)*
  13. Readymade Encaustic paints - R&F/Encaustikos in white, yellow, blue, red, and green. A good start would be R&F’s Encaustic Starter set, supplemented with a stick of ultramarine blue, or Encaustikos Academy Set. These should both be supplemented with an additional stick (R&F) or 1.5 oz tin (Encaustikos) of titanium white. No need to buy translucent colors at this time--you can make any color translucent by adding Clear encaustic medium to it, and you can vary the translucency by adding more medium to make it more translucent (sheer), or less medium to make it less translucent/more opaque.
  14. Silicone molds in various sizes
  15. Blue painter’s tape - 1½” wide
  16. 2 unprimed/raw braced birch painting panels - 10” x 10” or smaller. 8” x 8” size is great for experimenting.
  17. Shop towels or rags for cleanup
  18. Exacto knife - #1, #11 blade 
  19. Variety of metal scraping tools: potter’s loop recommended, can use etching, embossing, woodworking or dental tools, for example.
  20. 2” putty knife for clearing wax drips from work space.
  21. 12” length of ball chain
  22. Transfer paper - comes in graphite as well as a variety of colors.
  23. Oil paint - small amount for creating colored lines.
  24. Toner photocopy
  25. Shellac - 1 can Amber
*If making your own medium, require ½ lb bag of damar crystals, and 3 lb white refined beeswax.

Nice to have:
Embossing foil  
Pan pastels
Encaustic oil stick (R&F)
Parchment paper
Plastic spoon for burnishing photocopy transfer

Dry pigments (see Safe Studio Practices) in one or more colors, disposable cups and stirring sticks for making colored shellac
Clear Shellac For making white shellac


Troubleshooting and Materials - L@F 6/22/18

Here are the show notes for the latest... 
Instagram Live @ Five
Original Broadcast: June 22, 2018

Thank you for taking time out of your busy, creative life to join me on Instagram each Friday for Live @ Five!

This week's episode was driven by your amazing questions so please keep them coming. DM me your questions and discussion topics to @AliciaTormey over on Instagram.

First, some general housekeeping and announcements...

Time Zone Chart
  • I get a lot of questions each week about when Live @ Five goes live in various countries around the world so my team created a handy chart to help you figure out when to tune in based on your time zone:

Sharing Live @ Five on other platforms
  • Instagram has just released a new featured called IGTV
    • On this platform Instagram users can create their own channel and share video content longer than is allowed on regular Instagram.
    • I will be sharing some Live @ Five highlights on my IGTV channel @AliciaTormey, so be sure to check it out.
  • Last week's Live @ Five "Road Map to Finding Your Own Voice" will be posted on the Learn to Burn Facebook page shortly!

Response to previous Live @ Five episodes
  • I received such an amazing response from last week's episode "Road Map to Finding Your Own Voice."
    • Many wonderful messages and emails sharing stories and personal experiences.
    • Thank you so much for these, they encourage me and let me know that I am adding value to your artistic lives with these live shows.
  • The episode from the week before was about "Taking your Passion to a Profession."
    • I wanted to remind you that this is not the only path as an artist.
    • If you want to just make art for yourself and not make a business of it that is OK.
    • This does not make you any less legitimate as an artist.

This week's topics...

Revitalizing Old Primed Panels
  • Encaustic cures over about an 18 month window.
  • To work on semi-cured panel you need to reheat and re-liquefy the old wax before introducing fresh wax.
    • If you do not reheat the wax you run the risk of the old and fresh layers not adhering to one another.
    • Use a nice hot torch at a "Fuse to Abuse" intensity, and walk that flame across the entire surface.
    • See the torch chapter of the Learn to Burn online course for more information on torch intensity.

Propane and Propane Accessories
  • I use a propane blowtorch almost exclusively.
    • Burning temperature of propane VS other gasses
      • Butane burns at 3,580° F
      • MAPP burns at 3,670° F
      • Propane burns at 3,600° F
      • Seems like small differences, but I can feel the difference when I'm torching and I prefer the propane temperature. 
    • A single propane tank lasts me around 3 months of extensive use, so depending on your habits it could last you much longer. 
    • Pro-tip: always have a backup tank and torch handy!
  • The torch heads I use.
    • I use a Bernzomatic propane tank with either their TS-3000 or TS-3500 torch heads. 
      • The TS-3500 replaced the TS-3000 and it is just as good.
      • You can still find the TS-3000 at some retailers or online.
      • They often come in kits with a tank and a head sold together. 
      • I prefer these heads because they have a smaller nozzle and are incredibly versatile with a lot of range for your flame intensity from a kiss of heat to a full on "Fuse to Abuse" heat.
    • I very rarely use a larger torch, but when I need more burning power for larger panels I use an Iwatani torch or a Bernzomatic TS-8000.
    • Whatever torch you decide to use, make sure it is a trigger start model (that's what the TS stands for.)
    • Don't ever force ignite your torch, if it will not start that means something is wrong.
  • How to dispose of empty canisters.
    • Most cities has a place for proper, safe disposal of hazardous materials so check with your municipal website.
    • You can also inquire about proper disposal of empty tanks at your place of purchase.

  • In the Learn to Burn e-course I use Daniel Smith brand titanium white dry pigment.
    • This may no longer be available, but you do not need to get this exact brand of pigment to get good results. 
      • I currently use Gamblin brand dry pigments to make my colored wax and shellac.
      • For any Canadian readers, check out Kama Pigments in Montreal.
    • You do not even need to get pigment at all, you can buy ready-made encaustic color and use shellac in its natural amber.
      • I recommend Enkaustikos or R&F for their ready-made encaustic paints. 
      • I use so much white wax that I make my own using pigments. 
    • To make colored wax using pigment.
      • I use a ratio of about one heaping tablespoon of pigment to each pound of medium.
      • According to Cook's Illustrated, to make a proper martini, you need to stir for two minutes, so think of this when mixing in your pigment!
    • Use titanium white and NOT zinc white.
      • Zinc white is inherently translucent and you will never be able to achieve a perfectly opaque white with it. 
  • Proper handling and disposal 
    • Any time you handle dry pigment wear gloves and dispose of them before touching something else.
    • Always wear a mask, a regular painters mask will do, to avoid inhaling any of the airborne pigment.
    • Any excess pigment can be disposed off as long as it is contained in something.
      • Wet a paper towel with rubbing alcohol to wipe up/soak up any stray pigment so it is safely embedded.

  • I get my beeswax from Dadant Beekeeping Supplies
    • They have both white and yellow beeswax available in one pound or one ounce blocks. 
      • Note that yellow wax will give a warm tint to everything you do. 

To catch the next Live @ Five tune in to my Instagram @AliciaTormey every Friday at 5pm PST. 
As always, thanks for watching, thanks for listening, and thanks for reading!


Passion to Profession: L@5 6/8/18

Here are the show notes for the latest 
Instagram Live @ Five
Original Broadcast: June 8, 2018

"I want to paint full-time, how do I go about turning my art into a profession?" 

This great question, submitted by one of our viewers, formed the basis for the June 8th broadcast of 
Live @ Five.

Here is the show recap!

From Passion to Profession... 

The most important thing to do in order to turn your Passion into a Profession is to start thinking of your studio/creative endeavors as a business!
  • Develop a long-term plan for where you want your creative efforts to take you.
  • Continue generating your art/offering and commit yourself to creating a meaningful body of work.
  • As you're building up your portfolio you also need to set aside half of your time to growing and marketing your business (yes, I said 50% of your time).
  • Really take it seriously and think of your work as much as a business as it is a creative, artistic practice!

These are the 4 key elements I recommend you have in place if you wish to transform your creative endeavors from a pastime profession to a full-time profession:

1. Business License
  • Make sure your operation is up to any local or national legal standards.
  • I recommend using your proper name as your business name, for example "Jane Smith Art", "Jane Smith Studio", etc.
    • People need to be able to identify you as the business owner so that they can further connect with you.
    • Oftentimes creative and whimsical business names, while fun to create, obscure the person behind the business. 
    • By using your proper name in your business licensing your name can stay the same even if your business transforms.

2. Social Media
  • You should have one or more social media accounts
    • Set-up accounts on as many platforms as you like: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc. 
      • Don't overextend yourself.
      • In the beginning, narrow down to one or two platforms that you enjoy as a user and nurture those daily to build an engaged audience. 
      • (Oh, by the way... I'm in the process right now of creating an online course that will help you through this very process. In the course I'm sharing the methods I currently use to grow my own creative enterprise using social media.)
  • Remain professional and on brand when posting to your social media accounts.
    • Save the rants, vacation photos, and cat videos for private accounts only.
  • Be consistent across all your profiles so people know who you are no matter what platform they find you on.
    • Use your business name, based on your personal name, for all your accounts.
    • Use the same photo of you (recommend) or of your logo for all your accounts .
  • Post regularly to your profiles.
    • I recommend once daily for Instagram and 2-3 times a week for Facebook.

3. Website

  • It's a must that you have a website, it's your home base on the internet and should include, at minimum:
    • Portfolio 
      • People will contact you through your creative work so let that be the focal element.
      • If you have an extensive portfolio (more than 25 or so images) pare it down or organize into groups.
    • Contact information 
      • Make sure visitors to your website have a way to reach you. 
    • About page
      • Tell visitors about your creative enterprise; who you are, what you create, and why you do it.
      • Share what makes you unique and what makes your art special. 
  • When you first create your website here are some things to consider:
    • It does not have to be perfect, just get it up and live so people have a place to go to see your work and get to know you better.
    • Even just a contact page as a placeholder for a full website is enough until you get things going.
    • You can build out as you go and add more elements.
    • Don't get stuck in perpetual "Coming Soon"; remember your goal should be published not perfect, get something up and you can tweak it later.

4. Business Card
  • This may seem old school in today's digital world, but a business card will be one of the hardest working assets in your marketing toolkit.
  • What to include:
    • An image of your art, offering, or a design which conveys your unique style.
    • Your name.
    • Your discipline/offering.
    • Your preferred method of contact (if you only want to be contacted via email then just include your email address).
    • Your social media handles.

To catch the next Live @ Five tune in to my Instagram @AliciaTormey every Friday at 5pm PST. Thanks for watching, thanks for listening, and thanks for reading!

To learn more about Alicia's original art, hands-on workshops, and online courses, check out her website aliciatormey.com.


Live @ Five Show Notes 6/1/18

Here are the show notes for the latest 
Instagram Live @ Five
Original Broadcast date: June 1, 2018

Thank you so much for watching Live @ Five! If you missed the show, here are some of the topics and questions I went over during the broadcast along with some links and images to go along with the information.

  • Where do I sign my artwork, how do I sign, and what is the best way to sign an encaustic painting?
    • Multiple options; on the back, on the side, or on the front by scarring and filling with oil or with carbon transfer paper or with some type of stamp.
    • Signature doesn’t have to be visible.
    • When you find a way that works best for you then stick with it and be consistent; sign all your work the same way (with a few exceptions).
    • I don’t like to sign the front because my signature is big, loopy, and graphic, so I usually sign it on the back with a sharpie, but not until I feel like the piece is ready to go out of the studio.
    • I add the year it was made and occasionally also the title of the piece.
    • Sometimes I will sign the side if the piece if it is going to be on display in a public space like a hotel lobby.

  • Do I use a stylus to create my controlled drips (aka “pearl drops”)?
    • Check out my Instagram highlights for a speed tutorial on this and for a full tutorial check out the Learn to Burn e-course.

  • Why do I use a torch and not a heat gun?
    • I get more versatility out of a torch because you can control the intensity of the flame.
  • Where do you get your color inspiration?
    • Nobody does color or color combinations better than Mother Nature. (flowers and fruit are great color sources)
  • Suggestions for attracting the right audience
    • Know who your audience is before worrying about how or where to reach them.
    • Homework: sit down and imagine in a very clear way who is going to be drawn to your artwork; what do they do, where do they live, etc.
    • Once you know who your audience is it is much easier to find them!
  • When is the podcast going to be released?

    • Creative Crush is in the works and will be released soon! (Early Summer 2018)
    • You can get a sneak peek over at CreativeCrushPodcast.com 
    • I created a hotline just for you! Now you can call me directly with your burning questions, comments, or requests. 
    • Creative Crush Hotline is open: 206-880-0533
  • Many artists see my work and mistake it for an acrylic pour. Each week I field questions related to the acrylic pour process because it so closely resembles some of my techniques. I only work with encaustic so I am no authority when it comes to acrylic pours... but here are links to a few folks and their websites, Youtube channels, and Facebook groups (kindly provided by Live @ Five viewers) who can help you out.
  • Is there a specific type of clay you recommend that will work as a sculpture substrate?

    • Most of my sculptures are just wax without any substrate and this is what makes them super delicate.
    • If you are going to use clay, then make sure not to glaze it, glazed ceramic is sealed and your wax will just sit on top and not adhere to the substrate.
    • Whatever substrate you use, make sure it is rigid and absorbent.
  • Are collectors ever reticent about buying encaustic art
    • Yes, they are!
    • People hear the word “wax” when it comes to encaustic, and despite loving the painting, they are worried about it melting or being too fragile.
    • Your job as an encaustic artist is to educate collectors about the durability of your art.
    • Encaustic is really no more fragile or susceptible to damage than any other type of fine art.
    • Remember, encaustic is not just beeswax, it also has damar resinwhich elevates the overall melting temperature and makes the wax much more durable.

    • A good rule of thumb: Don’t leave an encaustic piece anywhere you wouldn’t leave a small child.
  • I want to spend a lot of time painting like you, what is the secret to making a living from art?
    • Tune in to the next Live @ Five as we dive into this topic!

Have more burning questions? Leave them in the comments below or send me an email. Thanks for reaching out, it’s always nice to hear from you!


Live @ Five Show Notes 5/25/18

Here are the show notes for the latest 
Instagram Live @ Five
Original Broadcast date: May 25, 2018

Thank you so much for watching Live @ Five! If you missed the show, here are some of the topics covered along with some links and images.

For more extensive info on shellac and the shellac burn technique, check out the Learn to Burn e-course!
  • Outside of the U.S.
    • Can be found in pharmacies in Mexico and called goma laca
    • Exactly the same in Canada, with the addition of French on the label
  • Amber VS clear
    • Clear shellac is just filtered amber
    • Sometimes referred to as 'orange' or 'brown' instead of amber or 'blonde' instead of clear
    • The clear starts milky but dries clear
    • Can make white shellac mixing titanium white and clear shellac
    • 90% of the time I use amber shellac either mixed with colored pigment or just on its own
  • Spray shellac
    • I never use spray shellac
      • Only comes in clear
      • Contains a chemical propellant that I don't want to mix into my paints
      • Comes out in a thin spray which will not give a good burn

Preparing and Finishing 
  • Painting the edges
    • The brand of paint does not matter
    • Any interior satin enamel paint will work 
    • I use the same dark espresso brown on all my pieces for consistency
  • Storage and display
    • Be mindful of extremes in temperature and extreme changes in temperature
    • Due to the addition of the damar resin, encaustic has a much higher melting point than plain beeswax
    • Direct exposure to strong sunlight can soften or cloud encaustic
    • Cold can cause the painting to crack
    • Don't store or display encaustic artwork where you wouldn't leave a small child
  • The shelf life of a piece
    • Encaustic as a medium does not deteriorate after repeated heating and cooling
    • Can return to and reactive a painting at any time, even years down the line
    • Encaustic hardens and cures after about 18 months and it is fine to go out into the world during this time
    • If you want to go in and add new paint over old, cured paint you might detect a difference in malleability so make sure to reactivate the wax with an even exposure to heat

Keeping Focus and Self-assurance 
  • Hone It & Own It!
    • Focus on the long haul; how do you imagine yourself and your art in 1, 5, 10 years from now
    • Know your 'why?' Why are you doing what you do?
    • Stop comparing yourself to others in a defeatist manner, don't think of how much better others are but think about how you can better yourself 
    • Practice, educate yourself, and invest your time
    • The artist's journey never ends

Just to let you know, this is an Amazon influencers page from which the studio will sometimes receive a small commission. That being said, these are all items I personally use in my studio and highly recommend to other encaustic artists like yourself!