The Beauty of Encaustics

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Hope you all had a relaxing new year with family and friends. Recently I painted with a medium called encaustics, which is beeswax with resin and pigment.

Encaustic is a very ancient medium and was used by the Greeks in 5 BC. It was first made available commercially in 1940s and the first encaustic instructions were published in 2001

The wax is melted and applied to a surface such as wood or canvas. It is applied in multiple layers on top of each other. For a truly beautiful encaustic painting, up to 15–20 layers of beeswax might be utilized. This can make the painting extremely heavy but it is archival with a beautiful finish and can be polished to a glossy shine with a soft cloth.

I made encaustic medium at home and it is quite an interesting process. Tree sap which is  from Indonesia, is filtered to remove impurities. It is gently melted with beeswax. Once it is uniform in consistency, pigments or oil paint can be added to make a colored encaustic. I have attached a photograph of “The lotus flower” which is mixed media with encaustics.  You can see the beautiful details and the depth of the layers. For a finishing touch, I applied shellac which is another medium, on top to make a beautiful lace like pattern.

Encaustics can be extremely toxic and release fumes, so the work area should always be well ventilated .

You can see my other encaustic paintings on my Instagram account @umbreenhasanfineart.

Until next time....

Umbreen Hasan

Hester Aba