I make my own encaustic medium out of beeswax and damar crystals. The wax medium is melted in tins on a heated pancake griddle and then pigments are added to the melted wax. Hot wax cools very quickly almost instantly. I paint swiftly, often just a few strokes at a time. A heat gun is then used to reheat the layers of wax fusing each to the one below. The wax can be scraped, carved, incised, drawn into, painted on and reworked in an amazing array of techniques. The translucent wax builds ups some truly amazing textures that can’t be matched with any other medium.
Encaustic painting was developed by the ancient Greek shipbuilders, who used hot wax to fill the cracks in their ships. Soon pigment (color) was added and this led to painting on the surface of the waxed hull: an art form was born. This technique has been dated to as early as the fourth century B.C. Although wax may appear to be a fragile material, some encaustic paintings from A.D 100-125 survive today in the form of head and shoulder wax portraits set into mummy casings in Greco-Roman Egypt.