Here we are again, and this time around I wanted to respond to a question someone asked about making a particular wax colour. I use palette cards and they are so useful if you are working with a set of colours that you want many variations of; lighter and darker tones, pastel shades and so on.

This little video will show you a colour card palette being created. These can be kept for years and a collection of favourite subtle colours can be very useful!

Colour Card Palettes are quick and easy to make. I use a normal A6 Encaustic Art Painting Card. This will last for decades and still be a usable source of wax colour.

Choose the main colours you are going to be mixing in order to get the desired array of colour. I’m working with purple as the main colour, so have also gone to red and blue as well as clear wax medium and white as the main mixers. Pink and Pastel Blue are opaque too, because they contain white. But other colours with greater transparency cold have been used too – examples could for instance be neon pink or cyan blue.

The Stylus is an ideal tool both for melting and mixing the colours. Also for their final application of course – using the drawing tip.

A small initial amount of the main colour – purple #48 – is melted onto the card. Then, to create a weaker but still transparent shade some clear wax medium (#27) is melted and mixed in.

You can see the transparency remains and yet the colour is softer, weaker, less intense.

The idea is to create small pools of these subtly different shades and mixes. Yet there needs to be enough wax involved so that later, at time of use, it is relatively easy to remelt and draw up into the Stylus tip some of that desired colour.

However, when white is used it will weaken the colour and make it softer too. The big difference is that it will turn any other colour into a pastel form and this will be opaque.

White is not the only option though. Pink is already a weakened reddish hue which is now opaque.

A quick way to make these pools of mixable wax colour is to hold the block a little higher up the stylus tip. The wax then melts and flows off into a flood of molten colour, ready for intermixing with the existing purple.

Adding this pink will change the purple colour and also create an opaque result.

Similar is true for Pastel Blue #31

And a red colour could be used. Each choice will create a different mixture and a variation of colour for your growing palette card.

Now place the Stylus tip – the split drawing tip in this case – into that wax which you want to use, and gently allow the colour to melt and gravitate upwards into the split. This fuels the tip, ready for use.

Then, use the wax colour just as you normally would. This is great for subtle colour differences. In flower heads for instance.

Try the same thing with another of the created card palette colours. In my case it is a pinkish hue. It’s so nice to have this type of variety easily available.

A complete tonal palette of one colour or several colours can be created. It ca save you time and frustration to have one of these, especially if you are working very carefully.

I encourage you to try this. Even just once, then you will realise the value in spending a couple of minutes making yourself one. The work will benefit, particularly, as said already, if you are working to refined standards and want to get consistent subtle colour qualities into your work. These are obviously ideal for small areas and quantities. For bigger volumes then you can mix up greater quantities, either in the Stylus Crucible head, or in small cases or tins over the iron or hotplate.

Colour Card Palettes for Encaustic Art Wax Block colour mixing and intermixing!