What is Encaustic Painting?
Encaustic is a waxed-based medium, that consists of beeswax and damar resin, a natural tree sap. The encaustic painting process involves heat at every stage of the process to apply and fuse the medium. The name Encaustic comes from the greek enkaustikos which means to burn-in.
Here you’ll learn about encaustic painting techniques & tools. Whether you’re a beginner learning to paint with encaustic or an experienced artist, I invite you to add your comments to share your knowledge and inspiration about art and All Things Encaustic.
Encaustic Wax Painting Tips, Product Reviews, & Tutorials for Beginners and experienced artists alike
After attending an excellent presentation by Danielle Correia at last year's Encaustic Conference on working with encaustic on photographs, I have done some experimenting of my own. Here are the results of five different experiments with photographs in encaustic wax ...Read More
A fairly new product to the commercial art world is Encaustic gesso. A very good one, made by R & F Paints, allows us to: omit the initial beeswax 'primer' layer create a white (or coloured), toothy, gessoed surface ideal for Encaustics start with an excellent surface for adding a huge variety of media to our Encaustic works of art before laying on the wax, such as soft pastel, charcoal, watercolours, gouache, marker, graphite, etc. save money by enabling us to prime our own substrates, rather than buy pricey pre-gessoed encaustic boards Why can't I use acrylic ...Read More
For years, before encaustic, I painted in a grid, and my pieces often reminded people of quilts. Then along came the wax and my grid was gone! The wax didn't want to flow into squares and rectangles, and so I let go... and went with the flow of the wax. This was a huge learning for me. I really had to give in to the wax, and learn from it. I learned many things about letting go of attachment, about layering, and seeing what the wax wanted to do. It was only after nine years of 'no ...Read More
In the last part of 2009, my friend and fellow artist, Anne Smidt sent me an enthusiastic email asking if I wanted to be a part of a new project, a collaborative work. Anne had just finished working with me on the 4th annual International Encaustic Artists (IEA) Retreat & Conference in Carmel Valley, CA where I had spent the past 3 years as the director for the annual gathering of artists working with encaustic. Anne had created a database and reporting system for all of the registrations - so I knew that she would bring an ...Read More
When I saw microcrystalline encaustic wax art displayed at The Artist Project in Toronto, I was very interested to see how it compares with beeswax encaustic medium. Of the ten artists showing encaustic artwork, two of them used encaustic medium made with microcrystalline, not with beeswax/damar. The effect was a quite different from what I know of encaustic. Microcrystalline compared to beeswax/damar encaustic medium The first thing I noticed was that the paintings had a different textural quality - it was almost like plastic. I also noted that it didn't have the lovely beeswax smell. Microcrystalline is ...Read More
Fusing is important when working with Encaustic When painting with encaustic, one needs to fuse the first layer of wax to the substrate and then each subsequent layer needs to be fused to the layer below. The artist will fuse the layers of wax with either a heat gun, an encaustic iron and/or a blow torch. Sometimes I use all three on the same layer, depending on the texture and surface I'm going for. Choosing the right encaustic fusing tools: Fusing Encaustic with a Blowtorch The Blowtorch is such a great fusing tool for encaustic because it ...Read More
It's funny how, once we have seemingly mastered the basics about working in Encaustic, we forget how challenging they were to learn. I'm speaking specifically of using heat guns with encaustic. You experts out there may be smirking to yourselves, knowing, as I do, that 'mastering' a tool/device is an occasionally ephemeral glory, sometimes dematerializing before our very eyes, putting into question our own supposed abilities as artists!! The use of the heat gun can be a fickle, sometimes frustrating, sometimes fantastic thing to grow accustomed to. At my Encaustic workshops, I always introduce its use by ...Read More