The word "encaustic" comes from the Greek word "enkaustikos" which means "to burn in",
referring to a process of the combining of hot natural wax with colored pigments to
simultaneously paint and sculpt a surface and then fuse the layers together. As a
technique that can be applied to just about any medium (I paint on wood for a very solid
support), it has been used to create unique multi-dimensional effects in art since the
time of the ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Romans for use in their elaborate burial tombs,
which have survived for centuries. Despite its durability, encaustic art lost favor during
the Renaissance due to what was thought to be cumbersome requirements, considering tools
they had available at that time. Encaustics has enjoyed a resurgence as a result of modern
advances in technology and safety (in heating appliances) as well as its use by more
contemporary well-known artists such as Jasper Johns and Diego Rivera. The encaustic
beeswax medium, with its organic qualities, is not only beautiful because of its inherent
and evocative luster and translucency, but it is one of the most durable of all artists'
paints, since wax is impervious to moisture.
Click here to read about the proper care of encaustic paintings.
Click on any image to read more about that piece of artwork.