As an artist, I am always looking for new and interesting mediums to explore. When I came across a type of painting known as encaustic, I was mesmerised.
Encaustic is a wax-based paint (composed of beeswax, resin and pigment is kept molten on a heated palette. It is applied to an absorbent surface and then reheated in order to fuse the paint.
The word 'encaustic' actually comes from the Greek verb enkaiein, meaning to burn in. This refers to the process of fusing paint which many artists use. It's important not to confuse encaustic with 'caustic,' though they do share a root word. Caustic refers to a corrosive chemical reaction while there is no such hazard with encaustic art supplies and materials.
I was intrigued by this medium and decided to give it a try. I am so glad that I did! Encaustic painting has completely changed the way that I approach my art. Here are just a few of the reasons why I love encaustic painting.
1. Encaustic is Versatile
One of the things that I love about encaustic painting is that it is so versatile.
Encaustic is a paint that has withstood the test of time. It can be polished to give it a high gloss, carved, scraped, layered, collaged and many other things! The best part about it? There's no drying time so you can always rework it if need be.
2. Encaustic is its own varnish
Encaustic paintings do not require varnishing or protection by glass because beeswax naturally repels moisture. In addition, wax resists moisture much better than resin varnish or oil. By buffing encaustic, you will be able to achieve the same level of lustre and saturation in colour as you would with resin varnish.
3. Encaustic is Durable
Another great thing about encaustic paintings is that they are extremely durable. Once an encaustic painting has been properly fused, it will last for centuries without fading or deteriorating. Encaustic paintings are some of the most long-lasting, but like any other type of fine art, they require some care. Don't worry about the work melting in everyday household conditions--the wax and resin won't melt unless exposed to temperatures over 150F or 65C. However, you should avoid leaving a painting in a car on hot days or hanging one in front of a window with direct desert sun, as both extremes can damage the piece.
This makes encaustic the perfect medium for creating heirloom pieces that can be passed down from generation to generation.
4. Encaustic is Sustainable
My chosen medium is encaustic, made with natural materials like beeswax, tree resin and colour pigments; it's more sustainable.
One of the best things about encaustic is that it is a very sustainable medium. The ingredients used in the encaustic painting are all natural and non-toxic. Beeswax is a natural and renewable resource, and when you're finished with your painting, the wax can be recycled. In addition, the fumes from the melting beeswax are not harmful to the environment.
Encaustic paintings also do not require any additional varnishing or protection, as the wax will repel moisture and resist fading or deteriorating over time. This makes encaustic a very sustainable choice for fine art that will last for centuries. This makes encaustic better for the environment and safer for me as an artist.
If you are looking for a new medium to explore, I highly recommend trying encaustic painting. This medium has completely changed the way that I approach my art and I think it could do the same for you!
Related Article: The History of Encaustic
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