Encaustic painting, also called painting with wax, involves adding resin and pigments to heated wax (usually beeswax). Special tools can be used to shape the paint before it cools. I know – this is a very simplified definition of encaustic painting. It is kind of confusing that the word encaustic is used to describe both the paint and the process used.
This technique possibly began as early as 400 B.C. when Greek shipbuilders used wax to fill holes in their ships. While wax may appear fragile, there are some encaustic paintings dating from AD 100 that have survived!
I find encaustic paintings beautiful. The wax, resin and pigments creates a layered, almost transluscent surface that beautifully reflects light. I find it very difficult to describe these works in words – how would you describe an encaustic painting?
Other than Jasper Johns, whose work is shown above, other contemporary encaustic artists are:
and Atlanta’s own – Helen DeRamus
Click on the names above and explore the world of Encaustic Painting!