A few years ago I saw some encaustic work at a local gallery. Encaustics are created using a beeswax and resin combination over artworks. So, I took my first encaustics class. To say it didn't work out as I expected was an understatement. Cloudy, overworked, I decided it was not for me. I started seeing more works using encaustics. I took another class. I came away that class with a little more understanding but again thinking maybe this wasn't for me.
But I got home determined to figure this out. I bought the minimum of stuff I needed to start (electric griddle, encaustic medium, some clean cat food cans, mounting boards) and I started my journey. I tried different techniques for applying the wax. I tried different papers. Spray mount or wax mount? Thin layers, heavy layers. Watched YouTube videos. Heat gun in a separate room so the breakers didn't trip, my washing machine soon became coated with wax. I cleaned out my garage and eventually moved down there.
Along the way a happy accident. I had previously tried printing on various rice-type papers and liked the texture and obvious strands of material that gave the work interest. So I tried it out adhering it to a board and to my surprise the white areas of the paper became transparent when soaked with wax. The woodgrain of the panel showed through. For me it was an aha moment.
I tried many different handmade papers. Staining the panel or not. Various density of waxes. Some types of photos worked well and others didn't.
Ultimately, I'm glad I persevered. You can't learn about art without doing it. You can't hone your technique without doing it. The journey of learning is really the fun part.