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What is Encaustic?

 

The earliest known encaustic paintings are dated back to the 1st and 2nd century AD. The most popular are the Fayum funeral portraits. The word encaustic comes from the Greek word enkaustikos which means “to burn in”.

Encaustic is a mix of natural beeswax and damar resin, a tree gum that hardens, clarifies, and elevates the overall melting temperature of the medium. It can be used on its own or with natural pigments. The painting process consists in melting the beeswax, applying in layers, and fusing evenly with a blowtorch on the wood panel. Encaustic is worked from hot to cold instead of the traditional wet to dry. It has a three-dimensional component and can be sculpted, scraped, incised, and carved to reveal layers beneath.

"Encaustic is as versatile as any 21st century medium. It can be polished to a high gloss, carved, scraped, layered, collaged, dipped, cast, modeled, sculpted, textured, and combined with oil. It cools immediately, so that there is no drying time, yet it can always be reworked."

R&F Paints

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