My encaustic paintings are made with beeswax, damar resin (a natural tree sap that acts as a hardening agent), oil paint, and a bit of microcrystalline wax used to extend working time. I paint in layers, fusing each layer with the fire of a blow torch and sometimes a heat gun or iron based on my desired effect.
Encaustic painting has a long history, used throughout ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian cultures. The word encaustic means to burn in, which refers to the process of fusing the paint. 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.
- Consistent Temperature - Hang and store at normal room temperatures. Avoid freezing and extremely hot temperatures; wax will melt at 150°F / 65°C.
- Avoid Direct Sunlight - Keep all artwork out of direct sunlight.
- Transporting a painting - 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.
- Framing - 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.
- Curing - During the first 6-12 months, as the wax cures, an encaustic painting may develop bloom. Bloom is a naturally occurring hazy white residue. It may also occur 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 or pantyhose. 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.