Although enjoying a current revival, encaustic is actually one of the world's most ancient and archival painting mediums. Painting with wax pre-dates that of oil painting and was employed by Egyptians to decorate sarcophagi and ship hulls.
Encaustic works such as the Fayum portraits from over 2000 years ago still exist today, well-preserved without cracking, flaking or losing brilliance.
Beeswax is combined with dammar or other tree resins which provide the strength and hardness in the work while the wax creates transparency and luminosity.
Encaustic has endless versatility. Multiple layers of paint and clear wax create overlapping colour and translucent depth. The medium can be textured, scraped, incised, etched, combed, embossed, sculpted into three dimensions or smoothed to a glassy finish. The molten nature of the medium lends itself to be used for collaging or embedding mixed media.
Perfection and control in photo encaustics is impossible. The process is most satisfying if one allows for the unexpected. The imperfection of the work is its own uniqueness.
It is an unpredictable and unforgiving medium fraught with both frustration and unexpected delight !
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