Went to the studio today with a few experiments in mind. Thought it wise to limit the image to two, so I could focus. One was glazing, which turns out to be a really great time. It simply means adding a LOT of the plain wax/resin to the colored block chunks - so the colors are used more as tints than paints. I had been frustrated that the colored encaustics were too dense and I lost the luminosity, but it's back using glazes. Glazing would not work for everything, but will be a nice tool in the box.
Having looked at a ton of Byzantine encaustic portraits this morning, I wanted to play with doing a face...large area of flesh. The glazing came into play here, as the tints were very sublte.
BUT - the big surprise today was the brush. I had bought some hake brushes from Dick Blick and have seen hake mentioned in many encaustic publications. Still I had not tried them because the bristles simply seemed too soft and I didn't think they'd let much happen. BOY - was I wrong! The first stroke of the hake brush put down a mark that was as smooth as silk...totally different from any other tool I've tried thus far. Again - not for everything, but I'm going to be ordering a bunch more of these brushes in every size they have.
Still working on finding the best melting containers. I may look for a teeny crock pot for the plain wax, so I have a constantly-available source of melted wax to add to other things. Off to Goodwill.