It’s Beautiful, I Love it, but is it Real? Part 2

Candle-Maker’s Diary Week 10

Greetings from the blogosphere, a space where quarantine doesn’t exist and the doors are always open to you—the world.  I am proud to have a blogspot here at, a website as unique as the mad scientist who built it from scratch—my husband and soulmate, Shaun Johnston. Like the website, he doesn’t come with a template, but I have several to spare. So I say hurray for our partnership. 

Last week I wrote a short riff on the word “natural” as it applies to hand-made candles—a subject I wanted to dispose of before it developed into a rant. That done, I continue to explore the simple, nature-based pattern of the Mandala as an image that induces a state of calm contemplation, no matter how short. They can be made using plain lines and fill, or with freehand drawn objects coaxed into the basic Mandala pattern. As an artist with half a roomful of paintings in storage, it didn’t take long for me to realize that the time had come to work on something smaller than 36”x48” canvas. Candles, for instance.

Great idea, problem is the execution. Firstly, whatever substance you use to paint on a wax candle must be: able to: stick to wax without peeling, sliding off or igniting; combine with the candle material without producing fumes or residue; useable by the artist without requiring personal protective equipment (glass paint and alcohol ink, step aside). 

Things I have tried to use as paint: stencils with acrylic paint: oozed under the stencil, flaked off when dry; melted crayons: solidified on the brush and rolled off the candle; alcohol inks: OK for unexpected results, best used with exhaust fan. 

As no type of “paint” worked satisfactorily, I tried modifying the surface of the candle with: acrylic pastel ground/pumic gel: peeled off like sunburn; tissue paper decoupage: ignited. End of story.

So-called “flameless candles” have done an end-run around all the above-mentioned issues as well as provide an alternative for those who love the beauty and ambience of flame candles, but can’t use them. So my new “canvases” arrived today, just waiting to be decorated, see pic. More to come–I’ll be here when you get back. 

Wishing you love and light, Wilda

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