Getting Into the World of Encaustic Art

Have you ever seen encaustic painting and wondered what it is? If so, then you have come to the right place!

Encaustic painting is a type of mixed media art that combines encaustic wax with other materials such as oil paint, pigments, or collage. It's an incredibly versatile medium that offers a variety of creative possibilities. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at encaustic art and its history, as well as how to create encaustic works of art.

History of Encaustic Painting

Encaustic painting dates back thousands of years, but it was first used in Ancient Greece during the 5th century BCE. Encaustic was used primarily for painting portraits, as the wax created layers and allowed for a longer preservation of artworks. The technique became popular in Europe during the Renaissance period where encaustic wax was blended with pigment to create colorful works of art.

What's new with encaustic painting?

Today, encaustic painting is a popular way to create mixed media art. The encaustic wax can be used on its own or with other materials such as oil paint, pigments, resin, and even paper. When encaustic wax is applied to a surface, it creates a layer of wax that allows the artist to manipulate the medium in various ways. This wax layer also helps to preserve the artwork, meaning that encaustic art can last for centuries.

Understanding the Materials for Encaustic Art

Creating encaustic art requires an understanding of wax and heat, as well as practice in working with a variety of mixed media materials. You'll need to purchase encaustic wax, tools such as encaustic heat guns and encaustic brushes, and any other materials you want to use. You'll also need a working surface such as a board. Let's look into these materials one by one.

Encaustic Wax: Encaustic wax is a type of beeswax mixed with damar resin, and typically comes in blocks or sticks.

Tools: You can never have enough tools when it comes to encaustics. To use encaustic wax, you'll need natural bristle brushes, encaustic heat guns, or blow torch. You can also use carving tools like pottery loop tools and other tools that will carve into the wax.

Mixed Media: You can experiment with a variety of mixed media materials such as oil paints, pigments, resin, paper collage, and more. The only medium that is not encaustic friendly is Acrylics, they aren’t porous enough and will cause problems with the painting.

Practice and Technique: As with any art form, encaustic art requires practice and technique. Working with encaustic wax takes patience and experimentation to gain a better understanding of the medium.

Once you have your supplies ready, the creative possibilities are endless!

Encaustic painting offers artists an exciting alternative to other painting methods. With encaustic, the artist can create unique textures and layering effects that cannot be achieved with other painting techniques. It's a great way to add depth and interest to your artwork while exploring new creative possibilities.


Tips for beginning an encaustic painting:


  • Work on the right substrate/surface. It is very important to use the correct substrate when making encaustic art. You need a surface that is both rigid and porous when working with encaustic. The molten wax needs to absorb into the substrate to create a good bond. This will allow you to add different layers of wax onto of the foundational layers without concern of the wax falling off the substrate.


  • Brushes. One of the most important things to remember is that you must use natural bristle brushes; synthetic brushes will melt. Natural bristle brushes can rest on the heated surface while you work, keeping the bristles warm and pliable and ready to go. Outside of brushes I would say the other required tool would be a source of heat. When you apply wax in layers onto the surface you must fuse the layers together. Having a heat gun or blow torch will help with this job.
  • Want to know more about fusing? When working with encaustic medium, it is essential to fuse each additional layer of medium with a heat tool. This prevents the layers from separating. Just a light fuse is needed to accomplish this. You don’t need to over fuse and remelt all the layers you created.
  • Remember to have fun: Don't be afraid to make mistakes or go outside the box with encaustic art! Encaustic painting is a medium that can open up a whole new world of creative possibilities. With practice and experimentation, encaustic art can become an exciting part of your art practice. Encaustic art is a great way to explore and push your creative boundaries. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced artist, encaustic painting can open up new possibilities for creating art that is both beautiful and unique. So don't be afraid to get started! Grab some encaustic wax, tools, and mixed media materials and have fun creating encaustic works of art!
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