What is Encaustic?
Encaustic is a wax-based painting medium that originated with the ancient Greeks over 3000 years ago. They originally used this medium to repair their ships.
Encaustic paint is a combination of beeswax and a tree gum called, damar resin. Damar resin crystals adds clarity and hardness to beeswax and significantly elevates the overall melting temperature making the encaustic paint medium much more resilient than beeswax alone.
To use this medium it must be liquefied with heat and kept molten at 200°F / 93°C in order to manipulate it like a paint. Pigments can be added to the encaustic medium to create colored wax-based paints. Hot plates, electric cooking appliances, and heating tools such as blowtorches, heat-guns, and irons are used to fuse and manipulate the wax-based paint. Once the encaustic paint has cooled to room temperature, it returns to a solid state and the surface can then be carved into and reworked.
Caring for your encaustic piece is like any piece of fine art! It should be kept out of direct sunlight and away from any heat source or extreme temperatures (both hot and cold). Encaustic medium however, is impervious to moisture, mold, mildew and insects!
During the first year especially, a cloud effect (bloom) can be formed: it is the carbohydrates contained in the wax that rise to the surface, and it is quite normal. If the paint becomes dull, and you prefer a shiny surface, simply polish the surface with a very soft microfiber cloth. Gradually, the paint will keep its luster, because the process of aging and hardening of encaustic continues over a period of one to three years.