Encaustic Information

I am often asked about what is encaustic and how it's used and cared for. I created this page in hopes of helping to answer those questions.

What is encaustic?

Encaustic is a wax based paint composed of beeswax, pigment and resin having ancient Greek origins (the word encaustic comes from the Greek word “enkaustikos” meaning “to heat or burn in”, referring to the process of fusing the paint).

Al-Faiyum Portrait, Encaustic on cypress panel: portrait of a woman from Al-Faiyum, Egypt, Roman Period, circa 100-150 C.E.

What is a monotype?

A monotype is a unique, one-of-a kind image... essentially a painting done on a printing plate and transferred to paper.

Landscape with Rocks, Edgar Degas, pastel over monotype in oil colors on paper, 1892

What is encaustic monotype?

An encaustic monotype is an innovative, contemporary printmaking process involving creating images using encaustic paint on a heated palette which is then transferred to paper.

Lapakahi #3, Jennifer Keresztes, encaustic monotype on rice paper, 2014

What is encaustic painting?

Encaustic painting is done with pigmented beeswax tempered with damar resin (hardened tree sap) that is kept molten while painting. It is applied to an absorbent surface and then reheated in order to fuse the paint.

Wave, Jennifer Keresztes, encaustic paint, collage, oil pigment stick on wood, 2015

Caring for encaustic artwork

Encaustic monotype prints and paintings should be transported, shipped and stored in a temperature-controlled environment and always protected from extreme heat (above120°F) and freezing. Do not hang encaustic or any art in direct sunlight. During an encaustic painting’s curing process and over time, its surface sheen may dull and can be brought back to a high gloss by buffing (gently, firmly, though not overly vigorously) using a soft lint-free cloth. As with other prints, glass should not touch the surface of encaustic monotypes.

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