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(in' ka stik)
From the Greek enkaustikos=to burn in

What is encaustic?

Encaustic is a painting technique which combines color pigment with hot wax and resin. This mixture of materials is applied in its semi-liquid form to the panel (or other support) as paint. Then a heating device is sometimes exposed to the surface to reheat the wax and to eliminate brushstrokes or spatula marks. This step of the procedure is called "burning in".

Who invented encaustic painting?

As the term's etymology suggests, the ever-innovative ancient Greeks invented it in their glory days around the 4th century B.C. But as art history students know, the Egyptians--strongly influenced by the taste-making Greeks--popularized the technique by using it for their extraordinarily life-like mummy portraits in the period from the 1st century B.C. through the 3rd century A.D.

Why use encaustic?

This medium is not easy to use--especially for contemporary painters who are accustomed to the ease of manipulating acrylic paints. However, encaustic's advocates tout its rich, tactile texture, light-absorbing depth and beeswax fragrance. Encaustic gives a surface that is the antithesis of "slick".

Visit the studio of contemporary New Image artist Debora Gilbert Ryan
who paints almost exclusively in encaustic.

Debora Gilbert Ryan encaustic painting

Debora Gilbert Ryan encaustic painting Brick


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