What is Encaustic ?
Encaustic comes from the ancient Greek enkaustikos, “to heat” or “to burn” and dates back to the 1st century. This method of painting fuses oil paint, resin and melted beeswax.
So many things drew me to exploring this medium and after 30 years I still find encaustic exciting and challenging. I have always loved the smell of beeswax because its aroma is filled with nostalgia. Burning candles suggest a celebratory event such as meal, a birthday, a holiday or a memorial.
Wax has an adhesive quality so various collage materials can be fused into the surface. The melted beeswax and oil color is applied with a brush. Heating the wax and pigment with a torch or heat gun binds each layer to the one set down before it. I work on wood panels, slate or even metal. The wax surface can be incised, scraped and scratched revealing layers of color below. Some of my my paintings have 12 or more layers of wax and oil pigment creating a textural, luminous surface. It is a challenging medium to work with because it involves both control and an element of chance. Heating the wax too much can result in the image melting away or perhaps create a beautiful and unexpected flow of wax and color to work with.