What is Encaustic?

What is Encaustic?


I went to R&F in New York, to learn more about the encaustic medium and wax painting.   Here is some of the information I learned about the medium:

This is R&F studios, Kingston, New York


The Greeks developed Encaustic around the 5th Century BCE.  Initially a mixture of was and resin used to weather proof Greek vessels.  Later this mixture is pigmented and used to decorate Greek warships. 

Encaustic is a beeswax based painting medium.  The medium is made up of beeswax and damar resin and pigment.  

The damar resin allows the mediums to harden over time making it more durable and increases the melting temperature so the wax is less susceptible to heat damage. 

It is applied molten and each layer is reheated or fused with a heating tool.


1. Melting - Encaustic paint is melted on a heated metal palette.  


Encaustic paint and medium on a heated metal palette.

Large amount of encaustic medium with no pigment, melting in a kitchen cooker.  Ideal for dipping papers or photographs. 

2.  Applying - The melted encaustic paint is applied to a rigid, absorbent and heat resistant support. 

3.  Fusing - Once applied, the encaustic paint is then reheated or fused with a heat gun.  Fusing causes each layer of encaustic to bond together. 

Fusing tools used in encaustic painting. 

4.  Buffing - When finished painting, encaustic can be buffed to a high enamel gloss. 


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