What is Encaustic?

 

Encaustic is a Greek word meaning “to heat or burn in” (enkaustikos).

Encaustic medium consists of natural bees wax and damar resin (crystallized tree sap). Heat in the form of various tools is applied throughout the process, initially to melt the Beeswax and varnish then to fuse the layers.  I currently purchase my encaustic medium from Waxworks Encaustics.

My artwork involves an original drawing that I then print onto archival tissue using pigment inks.  The tissue is then applied to a wooden panel, encased in layers of wax that make the illustration appear to float in the medium.  Buffing the final piece gives a luminescent quality to the wax. I find this tactile process to be extremely relaxing and meditative;)

Encaustic artwork is extremely archival, with examples found intact dating back to the 1st century AD, but as with any fine art care should be given to it. There should be no fear of the work melting in normal household conditions. The wax and resin will not melt unless exposed to temperatures over 150 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Some encaustic surfaces may 'bloom' or become cloudy over time. If your artwork appears hazy, simply rub the surface with a soft microfibre cloth or nylon stocking. Over time the surface retains its gloss as the wax medium continues to cure and harden for up to 1-3 years.