Encaustic Painting with Fire and Wax

Encaustic paint is made from beeswax, damar resin and pigment (color). It is an old medium and was used thousands of years ago to waterproof ships, decorate statures and to depict the faces of the deceased on mummy cases. 

The paint looks like bars of soap in all the colors of a rainbow. To paint with it, I melt the encaustic on a metal sheet which is heated to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. I rest my brushes on this heated surface and use them to pick up the paint. I paint on  birchwood panels because they are fine grained and hot encaustic tends to not bubble when heated on this surface. Each layer of paint must be  heated or “burned in” by the flame of a torch or the  breeze of a heat gun.

Sometimes I apply a flat heated metal tool to the surface of the paint. This removes any brush strokes, and achieves a glass like surface. Other metal tools can be used to incise lines into the paint or to create marks and hollows.

With encaustic paint, I can also create wax sculptures. Mixed media is a breeze as  paper dipped in wax and be heated and placed right to the surface. The paint can also create luminous transparencies or can be used to fill spaces between glass mosaics.

If you look at my work closely, you will see all the ways I have experimented with this amazing substance!

"Encaustic: It's All the Buzz"

Learn the history of encaustic and how I paint

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