Blue Stream, 11″x14″ encaustic on aluminum panel


I’m the type of mixed media painter who enjoys experimenting with different types of medium to see what it can do. Recently, aluminum panel caught my eye as I was scrolling through Instagram and saw an example of an oil painting using it as a base. The artist posted a quick video showing how light reflected off the metal background through the oils. The way the panel caught the light as the painting moved triggered all sorts of ideas in my head how I could use this kind of background in my contemporary landscape paintings.

I couldn’t wait to see what happened when I applied encaustic paint (a combination of beeswax, pigment and damar resin) to metal and quickly ordered panels online. I decided on a winter theme of a chilly rushing stream hoping that the reflective aluminum that peeked through the encaustic would emulate icy water. The panels arrived quickly (love Amazon Prime) nicely wrapped with protective film.

As I started setting up my materials, I thought for sure that the aluminum would hold heat causing the encaustic to stay molten longer.  I found out immediately that the opposite was true. When the panel was heated using a blowtorch or hotgun it held the heat for a shorter period of time making it difficult to manipulate the wax.  This required a lot of scraping as the wax wanted to cling to the panel as it cooled quickly. It was a dance of heating, scraping, and heating again to get a clean design.

Bonus tip for artists: You can elevate the panel using tuna fish cans on a hot plate to keep the panel warm. Placing the panel directly on the hot plate will make the paint very molten and difficult to manipulate.

The process was more tedious than I’m used to when using wood as my substrate, but I really liked the effect the aluminum created in the end.

encaustic landscape

Rushing Stream, 11″x14″ encaustic on aluminum panel


Here is my short YouTube video showing the reflective effect of using aluminum panel as a substrate with encaustic.

These paintings are on their way to the frame shop and will be posted in my online shop in the next couple of weeks. You can access the shop HERE.

Interested in giving aluminum panel a try for your next project? I found Amazon had the best price of $12.96 for a 11″x14″ panel. You can click the image for more information.

(I am a member of the affiliate program. I will receive a small commission if you choose to purchase through the link with no additional cost to you.)

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