Encaustic is a beeswax-based painting medium that is worked with heat. It can be used as a luminous traditional painting medium, but it also has the potential to obscure the boundaries between mediums like no other art material, resulting in works that are just as much about painting or sculpture as they are about photography, drawing, printmaking, installation or a variety of craft techniques. Artists of all kinds are discovering its unifying potential, unique properties and versatility.
Painting with encaustic is a multi-step process. First, the paint must be melted, or liquefied. Next, the molten paint is applied to a porous surface. Then the applied wax is reheated, or fused into, the working surface, allowing it to form a good bond. As a final option, the cooled paint can be buffed to bring up the luster of the wax and resin.
Basic Set-up Requirements Work SurfacE
A counter or table to hold an electric palette, heat gun, tools and your work-in-progress.
Though not unpleasant to smell, wax fumes should be treated like solvent fumes. A well-placed window fan should be adequate for a small set-up. Click here to read our Ventilating Your Studio for Encaustic Paints Technical Sheet.
Your workspace should be free of any solvents and flammable materials. A burn kit and fire extinguisher are also recommended.
Equipment and Tools / Heated Palette
R&F offers a custom-made anodized aluminum palette.
Palette Surface Thermometer
It is crucial to be able to monitor the surface temperature of your palette. For this reason, R&F offers a heavy duty Thermometer that sits on top of your palette surface.
Use natural bristle brushes only; synthetic brushes can burn and melt on the palette.
Any type of mark-making tool will work with Encaustic paint. We recommend etching, wood carving dental, sculpture, and clay working tools.
Porous, rigid surface materials work best, such as wood, paper, clay, stone.
Soy or Paraffin Wax
This is use for cleaning brushes and tools.
There really is no general recommendation for a starter palette of colors, since different artists have individual preferences, but we recommend that you choose a good balance of opaque and transparent colors. Try starting with a red, yellow and blue, and build from there.
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