• A Love of Encaustic

    I think I have finally found my favorite medium - encaustic. I know, I am as surprised as you. It is unweildy and unpredictable, two things to which I am not normally drawn.

    What is encaustic? It is wax-based paint that is made up of beeswax, tree resin and pigment, and has been around since about the 5th century B.C. The wax must be kept in a molten state and is applied in layers. Layers are then fused with heat.

    This heating of wax layers produces some very interesting results. Colors swirl and hidden layers peek through as the wax is moved around. Motion and emotion can be suggested and are the results are often completely unpredictable. The wax has a mind of its own.

    As with many other artistic pursuits, one can spend a lot of money on fancy tools and equipment. But, one can also create a very scrappy workspace, using a garage-sale electric griddle and dollar store muffin tins.

    This is what my current set-up looks like:

    The griddle becomes the palette and is where I mix colors. Part of the allure is the ethereal translucent quality of the wax. Interesting textures can also be achieved.

    Always work in a well-ventilated space and keep your wax between 180-200°F.

    Want to learn more about encaustic painting? RF Paints has an excellent guide available online: