Inspired by a few images of wild birds I saw in a U.K. newspaper, I felt compelled to paint them. As I worked, what crept in were dark suggestions of disappearing wildlife habitats: ghostly tree branches, empty nests, holes in trees, eldritch bracken, abandoned bird houses.. The bits of decorative "wall" paper appear through the wax, hinting at human domesticity; our relentless, invading progression into vanishing wild domains.
When I soon realized my equipment and I were not up to the task, I went online to seek permission from photographers to use their images. I continued work only after I was permitted.
I don't paint over photographic images (although I have done, with some of my earlier Cupid works--mostly over my own photos). Rather, I render the figures in oil paints, then pastels, inks, and/or colored pencils, all over many layers of wax encaustic on small wood panels, and incorporating gold leaf, bones, feathers, leaves, flowers, fabric, glitter, old wallpaper, and origami or decorative papers in the encaustic wax.
A luscious ground for oil paint, melting beeswax smells SO lovely (reminiscent of my Waldorf school days!), plus it lends an element of mystery to the finished work, both of which I find appealing.