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WHAT IS ENCAUSTIC?
Encaustic painting is an ancient technique of painting with beeswax, dating back to the Greeks. Encaustic medium consists of natural beeswax and damar resin (crystallized tree sap). The medium can be used alone for its transparency or adhesive qualities or used pigmented. Pigments may be added to the medium, or purchased colored with traditional artist pigments. The medium is melted and applied with a brush and each layer is then reheated to fuse it to the previous layer. As layers are built up, textures can be created by such methods as pressing objects into the hot wax or incising the wax with a sharp tool.
CARE OF ENCAUSTIC ART
Encaustic paintings are extremely archival, but as with any fine art, care should be given to them. Works will not melt in normal household conditions. The wax and resin will not melt unless exposed to temperatures over 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Leaving a painting in a car on a hot day would not be advisable or hanging a painting in front of a window with direct hot sunlight. They are also sensitive to freezing cold temperatures.
Some encaustic colors tend to “bloom” or become cloudy over time. If your painting appears indistinct, simply rub the surface with a soft cloth or nylon stocking. Over time the surface retains its gloss as the wax medium continues to cure and harden for up to 1-3 years.