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Encaustic Art

Encaustic Painting

The word encaustic originates from the Greek encaustikos meaning, to heat or burn in. The history of encaustic painting dates back to the Ancient Greeks and Egyptians who first mastered the encaustic process as far back as the 5th century BC. The oldest encaustic paintings were found in the tombs of Fayoum Oasis in Egypt. Encaustic is an ancient painting medium that mixes molten beeswax with resin and dry pigments. Used in its molten form during the painting process, the paint is applied using brushes and is kept on a heated palette at 200 degrees. Each layer of the wax medium is allowed to cool and then fused using a heat gun or torch to create a lustrous enamel effect. Fusing serves to ensure that the different layers of wax are bonded together and will not flake apart later as well as creating a durable moisture resistant surface.

Its exquisite visual properties make it perhaps the most opulent paint ever known; It is also the most durable of all artists' paints, since wax is impervious to moisture and over time will retain all the freshness of a newly finished work. The wax surface of an encaustic painting is a protective finish, nothing needs to be added to preserve the paintings; they will not deteriorate, or discolor.

The encaustic medium remains one of the most difficult mediums to work with. It takes a great deal of patience and skill since the medium is unpredictable and hardens immediately upon contact. This is also the undeniable beauty of the encaustic process. Its spontaneity and versatile sculptural quality adds intrigue and dimension that can not be achieved with conventional artists mediums.