Encaustic Art

Hello friends!

Rita here.

As some of you likely know, I’m an artist by trade. I began taking an interest in art back in my college days in Brazil. After I moved to the United States, I began dabbling in various kinds of art practices. I’ve always been a bit for unusual visual arts, and I’m always looking for a challenge, so it was really no surprise that I found myself drawn to the ancient art of Encaustics.

Now, you might be wondering what exactly Encaustic art is, and if you know me and my many volunteer activities that govern the majority of my time, you might be surprised to learn that I find such peace in an art form that was originally used to decorate warships transporting Greek warriors.

But hey, art is art.

The art of Encuastic painting is a patient and detailed one that involves melting wax colors to some sort of rigid support system, then repeating this process layer over layer. The Greek word “enkaustikos” means “to heat” or “to burn,” thus describing the process of melting beeswax layer after layer to create one solid piece of wax out of many being melted together. Throw in a bit of color and some creative intent, and you’ve got one of my favorite and more laborious painting styles that I used to make some of my favorite art pieces.

In fact, just by reading this blog post you’ve already found your way to the in-crowd because Encaustics have quite a history of resurgence. Since portable electric heating and tools came about in the twentieth century, Encaustic painting has only gotten easier, and since history has a way of repeating itself I bet we will see another rise in this unique art style in the future!

Since that is quite a possibility and since there are still plenty of modern day artists (yes, it isn’t just me!) engaging in Encaustic art practices, I figured I would conclude by sharing a little knowledge for taking care of these unique beauties:

  • As always, keep these pieces out of direct sunlight or extreme temperatures.
  • These paintings can and will chip if you are too rough with them, so always handle with care and avoid touching the surface.
  • A floating frame is best for these paintings, as they will protect the edges while still allowing you to see them.
  • These paintings do not need to be covered with glass, but remember not to let anyone touch them!
  • You can make your paintings shine by buffing them with a soft, lint-free cloth. It works every time!
  • You might see a hazy residue start to appear as the wax cures. This is called bloom and can easily be fixed up by repeating the process of wiping it with a cloth.
  • Dust and buff your painting as needed.

Most importantly, enjoy that beautiful piece of unique art!

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