Ready to collect your own encaustic piece of art but not sure if the waxy creation will stand the test of time...or the sun. Not to worry, here's what you need to know about displaying and caring for your encaustic fine art – so you (or your art) won't have a melt down.
My encaustic paintings are made with filtered beeswax, damar resin (a tree sap that acts as a hardening agent), and pigments. Painting in layers, I fuse each layer with the a blow torch and sometimes a heat gun or iron based on my desired effect. The fusing process allows each layer of wax to bond together creating strength and durability.
Encaustic paintings have a long history, used throughout ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian cultures. Encaustic means 'to burn in', that happens when the paint is fused by a heat source. The durability of beeswax makes it resistant to moisture and will not breakdown or yellow and darken over time. Encaustic paintings are naturally archival and do not need to be varnished or protected by glass.
How to care for your encaustic artwork
Use care when hanging, transporting or storing your encaustic painting, as you would any fine art.
Hang and store at normal room temperatures. Avoid freezing and extremely hot temperatures. At 120ºF wax can get soft and shift. Melting will start at 150°F / 65°C. Extreme cold can cause a painting to shatter if dropped.
Avoid Direct Sunlight
Encaustic is archival but should be kept out of direct sun - as with any artwork. Move encaustic art if the surface becomes warm. Inside, encaustic should remain cool to the touch.
Transporting a painting
A hot car is not a friend to your encaustic artwork. When packing encaustic art for transportation, cover the face of the painting with wax paper. Do not use bubble wrap directly on the front of the painting as it may leave an imprint on the surface. For shipping, build a box the right size for the painting.
Encaustic does not need to be protected by glass. My original paintings are on cradle wood panels that are ready for hanging. A floater frame is an attractive option that also protects the edges of the painting from scratches, dents, and chips.
Wax will cure or continue to harden during the first 6-12 months. During this process, an encaustic painting may develop bloom – a natural occurring white haze. This can also happen, if a painting is exposed to cold. Bloom can easily be removed by buffing the surface of the painting. Encaustic paintings can be buffed to a high gloss using a soft, lint-free cloth. If the original sheen has become dull over time, it can be brought back by repeating the buffing process. Once an encaustic painting has fully cured and hardened, bloom will shed.
Encaustic paintings are extremely durable. The wax is a natural preservative, moisture resistant, repels mildew and insects, plus it's solvent free. So with the proper care, your encaustic work of art will remain as fresh as the day painted.