Encaustic is a wax based paint (composed of beeswax, resin and pigment), that is kept molten on a heated palette. It is applied to a porous surface and then reheated in order to fuse the paint. The word ‘encaustic’ has no connection to the word caustic; it comes from the Greek word enkaiein, meaning to burn in, referring to the process of fusing the paint.
Encaustic is perhaps the most beautiful of all artists' paints, and it is as versatile as any 21st century medium. It can be polished to a high gloss, carved, scraped, layered, collaged, dipped, cast, modeled, sculpted, textured, and combined with oil. It cools immediately, so that there is no drying time, yet it can always be reworked.
Encaustic is also the most durable artists' paint. This is due to the fact that beeswax is impervious to moisture. Because of this, it will not deteriorate, it will not yellow, and it will not darken. Encaustic paintings do not have to be varnished or protected by glass.
Encaustic paint does not require the use of solvents. As a result, a number of health hazards are reduced or eliminated.