The word ENCAUSTIC comes from the Greek "Enkaustikos", which means "to burn in". It's an ancient technique, in which beeswax is mixed with pigment and Damar crystal to produce a luminous, intensely colored wax that is melted and used as paint. Some of the Greek encaustic portraits, affixed to mummies, have survived over 3000 years.
Care for your encaustic painting:
The melting point of encaustic wax is around 160 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, so, generally speaking, if your painting is melting, your house is probably on fire! There are, however, some considerations in owning an encaustic painting
- Don't leave your painting in an enclosed space (such as an automobile trunk or dashboard) in the sun. Temperatures can sometimes reach high enough levels to melt beeswax.
- In cold weather, encaustic can become brittle and will crack if dropped or struck, so please handle carefully.
- Eventually, a matte finish develops on the surface of the wax. If you wish to restore it to a shiny finish, simply buff lightly with a soft cotton cloth.