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Information on Encaustics or hot bees wax

June 24th, 2014

Information on Encaustics  or  hot bees wax

Al Hunter has been painting with Beeswax medium for several years , also known as Encaustic. This is a challenging medium to use ,but also very rewarding due to the luminosity effects of a completed painting.

Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using colored beeswax, heated up to 180-200 degrees . The liquid is then applied to a surface— prepared wood, or other materials are often used.

What makes encaustic uniquely different from all other mediums is its use of heat. The paint, comprised of beeswax, damar resin and powdered pigment, is applied molten and then re-heated. Encaustic reaches its permanent state upon cooling. This process allows for an amazing display of effects and textures not possible with any other medium. The Medium can be reworked again at anytime .

Metal tools and special brushes can be used to shape the paint before it cools, or heated metal tools can be used to manipulate the wax once it has cooled onto the surface. Today, tools such as heat lamps, heat guns, and other methods of applying heat allow artists to extend the amount of time they have to work with the material. Because wax is used as the pigment binder, encaustics can be sculpted as well as painted. Other materials can be encased or collaged into the surface, or layered, using the encaustic medium to adhere it to the surface.

Encaustic painting was used in the Fayum mummy portraits from Egypt around 100-300 AD. However, Encaustic art has seen a resurgence in popularity since the 1990s with people using electric irons, hotplates and heated stylus on a variety of different surfaces including card, paper and even pottery. The iron makes producing a variety of artistic patterns elementary. However, the medium is not limited to just abstract designs, it can be used to create complex paintings, just as in other media such as oil and acrylic.

More information on Encaustic painting

October 2nd, 2013

More information on Encaustic painting

Al Hunter has been a member of Encaustic International on Facebook that functions much like a Forum , sharing photos of their art and passion. This forum is particularly helpful as it is very international.
I have overpainted two of my acrylic paintings with bees wax paint and I am very pleased with the results. It has given much more life to them and I have received many good comments by Facebook members

When you see an Encaustic painting, the first thing that will strike you, is how the light from within seems to stimulate the colors . The light appears to penetrate the different wax layers to be reflected back to the viewer.
The surface can be smooth or heavily textured, but that radiation will be strong and alluring . Its easy to be fascinated with encaustic art works.

The term Encaustic is derived from the Greek word enkaien and means to burn into.

This procedure of applying molten,tinted bees wax to almost any surface was already used by the Egyptians more than 3000 years ago – they painted many mummy portraits. Some are still admired in the British Museum in London or in the National
Art Prints
in Cairo and possibly other venues.

The technique was unused for many years, but was activated again sometime in the 18th century. The Egyptians did not have the advantages of todays electric tools like the stylus or travel iron to paint with, today we are only limited to our imagination.
Working with hot bees wax is fascinating but one needs to consider that there is some fumes and light smoke produced. Ventilation may be advisable especially if using higher than necessary temperatures in melting and applying the wax.
Approximately 160 degrees F works well with me.
Most of the paintings I sold last year were Encaustics and is stimulating my passion to keep it up.