© 2019  Dianna Shomaker. All Rights Reserved.

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an encaustic demonstration
encaustic painting

My goal when painting with the encaustic medium, as with any other art, is to produce works that strike the viewer’s sense of exploration within shapes and colors that have a very organic freedom, within the simplicity of the design, the luminosity of the layers, and the depths of opaque and transparent layers, but always with a veil of mystery and curiosity.

 

The encaustic medium is having quite a resurgence in art circles.  But it is not new.  In fact, it is one of the oldest painting methods recorded outside of cave paintings.  Historically, the Greeks developed it centuries ago, using it to waterproof  their fishing boats and later to paint images and portraits. Egyptians adopted it to paint portraits of the Pharaohs on their funerial sarcophagi.  You see it in tombs and catacombs throughout the middle east and in Nero’s underground palace in Rome.  

The medium is beeswax and damar crystals melted together with pigment and painted on board or paper while it is hot. The damar crystals raise the melting point of the beeswax to approximately 155 degrees to make it more stable.  However, as with all paintings, they should not be hung in direct sunlight. The work can be polished by rubbing it with a soft cotton cloth to bring out a lovely shine.