Encaustic – What a confusing word!

 In Encaustic Wax
There is a lot of confusion around the word ‘Encaustic’ especially in Europe it seems, with different language interpretations of an already confusing medium.
There are also different ways of painting with wax which adds to the muddle.
Painting simply with wax for beginners, through to complex methods for fine artists.
Wax itself is not Encaustic, the process of heating wax (and ceramics) and ‘burning in’ colour is where the term encaustic comes from.
Pick up a crayola wax crayon, melt it, and you are encaustic painting!
Of all the mediums to fall in love with, I picked one of the most confusing to communicate….
Don’t be put off by the word; painting with hot molten beeswax (in whichever form) is one of the most therapeutic, beautiful, tactile mediums to work with and to look at….
It’s archival qualities are fully testified with the 2,000-year-old mummy portraits, still as stunning in colour and vibrancy in museums around the world to this day.
During my workshops, I point people to the picture below, which shows the origins of the word encaustic, and we discuss how it is the process of heating wax and pigments, that enable the term encaustic, and not the method, or the temperature, or mix of wax which makes it so.
Apologies for the formatting of the text in this article, which makes it tricky to read.   I don’t know why, but I can’t make the paragraphs sit as they normally do… one for my web lady to look at!
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