About Encaustic & Caring for your Encaustic Artwork
Lara Williams Painter & Printmaker Encaustic Mixed Media Paintings, and Encaustic Monotypes
About Encaustic Encaustic painting has a long history, dating back to the 5th Century B.C. The word encaustic means to burn in, which refers to the process of fusing the paint. Encaustic medium is made with Beeswax mixed with Damar resin, a tree resin that acts a hardening agent. The medium is melted between 150F and 170F and can be pigmented with color from oil paint or dry pigments. Encaustic can only be applied while in its molten form. When it is hard, it is not workable. Beeswax is impervious to moisture, it will not deteriorate, it will not yellow or darken. Encaustic paintings do not have to be varnished or protected by glass. Beeswax Encaustic is extremely archival. Some Encaustic paintings are thousands of years old.
Encaustic Mixed Media Paintings My encaustic-mixed media paintings are made using a hot palette of melted purified beeswax, and Damar resin (a natural tree sap that acts as a hardening agent), to which I choose to add one or more other art mediums such as oil paint, dry pigments, oil pastels, pigment sticks, ink, photos, and paper. I typically paint on a hard, non-porous surface such as wood, Masonite, or Birch panels. I paint in layers, fusing each layer with heat.
Monotypes (Monotype= a single one-of-a-kind print) I create mono-types by painting pigmented/colored encaustic medium onto a heated aluminum plate. I lay down a piece of Japanese Rice paper onto the painted surface, hand press, and lift to reveal the image. I continue to add more layers of Encaustic paint onto the plate, and onto the paper until I have a finished image.
How to care for your encaustic artwork: Treat an encaustic painting as you would any fine art. Use care hanging, transporting, or storing a painting.
1.Consistent Temperature - Hang and store at normal room temperatures. Avoid freezing and extremely hot temperatures; wax will melt at 150°F / 65°C.
2. Avoid Direct Sunlight - Keep all artwork out of direct sunlight.
Transporting Works on paper behind glass: For shipping, build a box or purchase a box that is the right size for the painting. Make sure to protect the glass with additional padding and bubble wrap. When shipping during hot months, I recommend using an insulated shipping container, and shipping 1-2 day through an overnight or priority mail carrier, such as UPS or USPS. I recommend shipping Monday through Wed so that the artwork will arrive quickly to the recipient, and there is less risk of it sitting on a hot truck or in a facility for an extended period, over a weekend.
4.Framing – Encaustic paintings do not need to be protected by glass. This only applies to Encaustic works on paper. For paintings A floater frame is an attractive option that also protects the edges of the painting from scratches, dents, and chips.
5. Curing- During the first 6-12 months, as the wax cures, an encaustic painting may develop bloom. Damar resin, which I use in my encaustic medium helps to prevent Bloom. You may ask, what is Bloom? Bloom is a natural occurrence with some painting materials like beeswax, and it is perfectly harmless. It is part of the curing process. Bloom is a light haze that may appear on the surface of the painting in the first year the wax is curing. It may also occur if a painting is exposed to cold. Bloom can easily be removed by wiping it off gently by using a soft, lint-free 100% cotton cloth. A clean 100% cotton rag or t-shirt will do the job well.
Encaustic monotypes do not develop bloom, due to the thinner nature of medium/wax applied to the surface of the paper.
Buffing-Depending on the painting surface, some soft buffing can also be done. After buffing it a few times the painting will develop a beautiful high gloss finish that will last. Buffing also helps to bring out the radiant shine and vibrancy of the colors that encaustic surfaces are known for. If the original sheen has become dull over time, it can be brought back by repeating the buffing process. This is also important for all exposed paintings to keep dust off the surface.
As my encaustic piece of artwork cures over a period of about 1 year (from the last time it was heated) the surface will become clearer. It will also hold a higher sheen when buffed.
Cleaning-Encaustic artworks can be dusted with a damp or dry cotton cloth.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org should you ever have any questions about the artwork you have purchased from me.
I really appreciate your business, and I hope you enjoy your piece/s made by me for years to come.
Sincerely, Lara Williams Painter, Printmaker Encaustic Artworks larawilliamsfineart.com email@example.com 18 P St., Hull, MA Studio visits by appointment and during Open Studio events in July & September