Encaustic Painting

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Handcrafted encaustic painting.

6 inches x 6 inches x 1.5 inches.

Artist's description:
One-of-a-kind painting made using the encaustic technique, a very ancient method that dates back 4,000 years. The Ancient Greeks used it to caulk and decorate their boats.

A thousand years later the Romans employed the medium to paint on mummies. The Fayoum portraits, in perfect shape even now, remain a testament to the technique’s long-lasting durability.

What is encaustic? It’s simply a painting with melted and pigmented beeswax. I use a hot griddle, lined with cat food tins in which I melt my colours. Commercial products are available but I prefer to create my own.

Once I have all the colours made, I dip a bristle brush into the melted wax and drag it across the top of the painting, adding and subtracting colours until I’m pleased with the result. The wax hardens as soon as it is in contact with the cold surface of the wood that I use. I scratch, emboss, incise, drip and do whatever is necessary to reach the favoured result.

The key is to use heat in between the layers to meld them together. The name encaustic comes from the Greek “enkaustikos” which means to burn-in.

After the painting has cured for a few days it can be polished to a bright shine with a soft cloth. Periodic polishing is recommended until the painting keeps its shine. No need to be gentle as the medium is durable and the surface is hard.

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