What is Encaustic Art?


Painting shown: Contiguity II Encaustic on Board with custom frame

Up until several years ago, my choice of medium was oil, water color, acrylic and rozome. I was not really clear on what encaustic art was or how it was achieved. I am always looking for ways to expand my artistic horizons and so I decided to thoroughly explore this art form. I attended my first encaustic workshop about 4 years ago and have been "hooked" ever since. Working with hot wax, and as I later discovered cold wax as well, has been a eye opening experience. I have taken many workshops with different encaustic artists over the years and have learned the various tools and varied techniques used in creating encaustic paintings. Although I still love to paint with oil, water color and other mediums I have found that the results of working with encaustic materials has allowed me to achieve A new approach to my art.

Encaustic is a Greek word meaning “to heat or burn in” (enkaustikos). Heat is used throughout the process, from melting the beeswax and varnish to fusing the layers of wax. Encaustic consists of natural bees wax and dammar resin (crystallized tree sap). The medium can be used alone for its transparency or adhesive qualities or used pigmented. Pigments may be added to the medium, or purchased colored with traditional artist pigments. The medium is melted and applied with a brush or any tool the artist wishes to create from. Each layer is then reheated to fuse it to the previous layer. It is then reheated to fuse. Cold wax is a mixture of oil pigments mixed with cold wax and does not require fusing.

Important... Do not hang encaustic art in direct sunlight.

Madeline Sugerman