Week 14

Today was our last class. I wanted to use the last demo as an opportunity to introduce you to encaustic. Our class size and room aren't well suited for working with encaustic for a full project so I don't often bring them in. It is a wonderful medium and I know many of you would be interested in them so I do like to show them off every once in a while. 

Encaustic is wax. There are several different kinds of wax but the most common used for encaustic painting is bees wax. Encaustic paints are made with bees wax, powdered pigments and damar resin. The resin reduces "bloom" which is a cloudiness that can form on the surface of the wax as it cools. Resin also increases the melting temperature of the wax. 

The basic idea is simple: melt wax and brush it on to a rigid support like wood. I use a cradle and egg poaching cups to keep all my colors separated and melted. I use a separate small hotplate as a palette where I mix colors before I apply them to the board with hogs hair brushes.

I use a heat gun (fancy hair dryer) to melt and move the wax on the board. I also use a modified soldering iron with changeable tips and a mini travel cloths-iron to carve and melt the wax.  

There is a lot to learn about painting with encaustic so if this interests you at all you will want to do more research online. There are many youtube videos, website and books that will show you how to use encaustic. My intention was only to make you a little more aware of how fun and versatile it is as a painting medium.