What is Encaustic?

June 1, 2018

First, I would like to start this blog off by saying a big thanks to everyone who came to visit me last weekend at the art fair! It was so wonderful being able to chat with everyone and to show my work. One of the biggest things I noticed is that not many people know about encaustics. I told people interested in the images that my paintings are actually wax. Most were amazed and had never heard of encaustic before! This is not uncommon- many artists aren't even quite versed on encaustic. I thought sharing the process and what it is would make a great blog post!

 

....So, what is encaustic? 

 

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as: 

A paint made from pigment mixed with melted beeswax and resin and after application fixed by heat; also : the method involving the use of encaustic or a work produced by this method. 

 

The word, "encaustic," comes from the Greek word, 'enkaustikos," which means to burn in. The Greeks used to paint their ships with encaustic pigments. Around 100AD in Egypt, the Fayum mummy portraits were created with encaustic.

However, although encaustic has been around for quite some time, it still remains somewhat of a mystery to many, overshadowed by the more illustrious mediums; oils, watercolor, ink, pencil, etc... (Click here for more information on the History of Encaustic).

 

For my part, I was introduced to encaustics while at my university. A painting professor of mine taught a brief lesson and I instantly fell in love with the textures, the vivid colors, and the numerous ways you could use this wonderful medium. Years later, while developing a style, I yearned for the encaustics. Eventually, I ordered my supplies and got to work teaching myself the various encaustic techniques. 

 

Although many artists make their own encaustic material, I obtain my paints created of beeswax and damar resin from Enkaustikos or R&F Handmade Paints. All my paintings are created on birch board and I use a variety of heating agents to manipulate the encaustic (ie: griddle to heat up the wax, blow torch and heat gun to fuse the layers together). I utilize the encaustic's conducive nature for layering to put down origami paper, old ink prints, or just multiple layers of color. Within the encaustic material, I also use oil stick, oil pastel, and ink. Then, I revisit the surface to incise (or dig into) the wax to show the multiple layers. After that, it really is just a process of building up and scraping off to create the image I am looking for.  

 

If you are interested in learning more about my processes or about encaustic in general, do not hesitate to ask me! I will also be teaching an introductory encaustic workshop pretty soon at Redux Contemporary Art Studios! 

 

Here is the information:

Where?

Redux Contemporary Art Studios

 

When? 

Saturday, June 9th

10am-4pm (with a break for lunch)

 

How Much?

$200 for members/$250 for non-members

(materials included)

 

Link to Sign-up:

https://reduxstudios.org/learn/adult-classes-studios/

 

If you are interested at all in learning about encaustics, I hope you will sign up!

 

Have a great day and message me if you have any questions about encaustic, my work, or the upcoming workshop!

 

 

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