encaustic

Q. What is Encaustic painting?

A. Encaustic is a wax based paint that often consists of beeswax, resin, and pigment. The wax is kept molten, and applied to a surface. The surface is then reheated by a heat-gun or blow torch to fuse the paint together.

Q. Will My encaustic Painting melt on a hot summer day?

A. The melting point for the waxes I work with is a 150F-175F. Place the painting in an area where the temperature does not go below 35F or above 120F. I advise keeping works out of direct sun which is always hotter than the general temperature (direct sunlight is inadvisable for any type of painting). Temperature usually poses no problems, except in some transport conditions where pieces may be exposed to extreme highs and lows (extreme temperatures are bad for any fine art, not just encaustics). However many of the conservation problems inherent in oil and tempera paintings do not exist in encaustic paintings. Encaustic paintings are extremely durable due to wax being impervious to moisture, thus it will not deteriorate, yellow, or darken. Paintings that have been protected against careless treatment, have survived for centuries as evidenced by Fayum mummy portraits.

Q. How do I protect my encaustic painting when moving?

A. Always protect the surface and edges of the encaustic painting when moving it. I suggest wrapping it in several layers of bubble wrap and then place the painting into a larger box that is stuffed with peanut packing material.

Q. How do I clean my encaustic painting?

A. You may wash the surface with a slightly damp rag if needed. If you see a film of whitish dust that appears gently wipe it off with a soft cloth. This film is called bloom, and is caused by a chemical reaction. Wiping the surface removes the bloom. You may also buff the surface (gently rub with a soft cloth) to bring out the shine in the wax.