What is encaustic painting?


Encaustic is a Greek method of painting. Examples over 3500 years old can be seen in museums throughout the world. Remarkably they look as though they were painted yesterday, without a crack or diminution of color and vibrancy. Encaustic painting, the ancient hot wax process, combines molten beeswax and dry colored pigments. The work is done on a glue prepared panel, using paints consisting of beeswax, dammar crystals, and dry pigments. Paint is applied hot, and manipulated in any variety of methods. The final image is subjected to a heat treatment of the entire surface, known as “burning-in.” Each layer should be fused to the layer previously applied for sound technique. The burning-in process makes encaustic unique from simply adding a waxy ingredient to oil paint. The paint film is a microcrystal in structure that never dries so it cannot darken, yellow, crack or fade. Finished works are among the most permanent of all ancient painting media.