Frequently Asked Questions
What is encaustic?
Encaustic: derives from the Greek word: "enkaustikos" which means "to heat" or "to burn".
What is Encaustic Painting
Encaustic painting involves applying layers of molten pigmented beeswax (mixed with molten resin to increase hardness) and fusing each new layer to the one beneath to paint or sculpt a surface.
Encaustic is the term for both the medium of pigmented wax, and the process involving heat, by which the medium is applied and secured.
Encaustic paintings exhibit a unique luminosity, as light passes through transparent or translucent layers of wax and is reflected up to the surface, illuminating the painting from within.
Encaustic painting dates back to ancient Greece. In Greco-Roman Egypt, 100 B.C. to A.D. 200, encaustic portrait paintings - the Fayum Portraits - were set into mummy casings.
What kind of wax do you use?
I prefer beeswax, although I have explored microcrystalline wax as well.
One can also extend the beeswax with the addition of some microcrystalline wax. This also raises the melting temperature which is useful when one paints on a vertical surface as the wax will melt less readily and will be easier to work with.
I find the beeswax gives a more luminescent quality and sheen than microcrystalline wax.
Are the paintings likely to melt in my house?
No, not unless your house is on fire. Then you'll have more to worry about than the painting...