Well I did it. After a lot of reading and imagining, I went out and purchased the following:
$30 electric griddle from Black n Decker
$130 worth of medium, encaustic paints, a brush and a couple of Ampersand boards. And a surface thermometer. When I got home, I pilfered the muffin tins from the cupboard in lieu of special aluminum pots from the Blick store (way cheaper, and I never make muffins or cupcakes anyway.) I rounded up two more natural-bristle brushes from the studio, and ...
Here's what I know after Day 1:
1. Buy the encaustic medium in beads rather than the bar. They have to be easier to deal with. With the bar, you have to cut hunks off with a hot knife if you're trying to control quantity or mix glazes. It's tricky, and sticky.
2. I will run out of medium WAY before I run out of pigments! A little encaustic pigment goes a LONG way.
3. I need more brushes. Big ones. Little ones mean more brush strokes, and more application with the heat gun to smooth them out.
4. The heat gun is a blunt instrument. It will take time before I figure out how to avoid pushing puddles of pigment around while I try to smooth out brushstrokes and bubbles.
5. Keep the cat out of the room.
6. ANYTHING will stick to the board, including buttons, leaves, a funny bracelet, a bobby pin, and cat hair. Especially cat hair.
7. If you don't like it, scrape it off! Hardly anything is irreversible. I'm especially pleased by this because that's one of the things I like best about sewing.
8. I have LOTS of mark-making tools! In fact I'm reminded of one of the qualities that made oil pastels so appealing for so long, namely, that you can make marks in it and push it around. Very plastic.
9. When you start carving into the stuff, beware -- the crumbs stick to everything.
10. And finally ... MAN THIS IS FUN!
My first experiment with encaustic. Size 8x8 inches.