What is Encaustic? Art made with beeswax!
Encaustic is a wax based medium (composed of beeswax, resin and pigment), which is kept molten on a heated palette. It is then applied in layers to a prepared surface and reheated in order to fuse the layers, creating depth and texture. The word ‘encaustic’ comes from the Greek word enkaiein, meaning to burn in, referring to the process of fusing the pigment and wax.
Encaustic paintings are quite durable, as evidenced by the Faiyûm mummy portraits in Egypt, which have survived over 2000 years without cracking, flaking, or fading. Wax has several inherent qualities that allow it to withstand the test of time: it is a natural adhesive and preservative; it is moisture resistant, mildew and fungus resistant, and unappetizing to insects.