Encaustic Paintings

In this day and age, it can feel like paintings are either acrylic, oil, or watercolour. But throughout the thousands of years that humans have been painting artists have used thousands of different ingredients to make the mediums behind the paintings. One important but overlooked medium is hot wax, which is used to create encaustic paintings.

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Encaustic Paintings

In this day and age, it can feel like paintings are either acrylic, oil, or watercolour. But throughout the thousands of years that humans have been painting artists have used thousands of different ingredients to make the mediums behind the paintings. One important but overlooked medium is hot wax, which is used to create encaustic paintings.

 

Creating Encaustic Paintings

Pigments are the ingredients in paint that give it its colour. Think about finding a colourful type of clay or flower and grinding it up into dust. At first, painters applied pigment directly onto surfaces. Imagine cave painters dipping their fingers into a pile of colourful dust and pressing their fingers against the cave wall. But the problem is that pigments have trouble bonding with surfaces, you don’t want a painting that can be ruined by a breeze. This is why binders have to be used to hold the paint together before and after application. With encaustic art that medium is beeswax. Paintmakers would heat up beeswax and then mix in pigment. Once the colour and wax were mixed, it could then be applied to a surface like other types of paint, as long as the wax is at a temperature where it is still possible to manipulate it. Encaustic painters often work with a hot medium and today artists who use encaustic often use tools to heat the areas they want to paint continually.


Artists Who Created Encaustic Paintings

The encaustic medium has fallen out of popularity in recent years, and we’re using “recent” in artistic terms, describing the last few hundred years. An encaustic painting might have been supplanted by oil painting, but there have still been modern artists who have used the medium to great effect. The most famous is probably Jasper Johns. His work depicting the American flag, 1955’s “Flag,” might be the most famous artistic depiction of this American symbol. He worked in many other mediums, which is one of the reasons he used encaustic when others weren’t.


Some Famous Encaustic Paintings

To appreciate the potential of Encaustic Painting, it helps to look at some of the greatest pieces that have been crafted using it. If you want to see how the encaustic medium was used in the past, you should start by looking at the historical paintings done for Egyptian mummies done during the Coptic era. This encaustic on wood paintings allows us to get a look at what powerful Egyptians looked like before the fourth century. The amazing thing about these paintings is how modern and realistic they look. Too many people see the highly stylized and symbolic paintings done before the Renaissance and assume that the ancients weren’t capable of realistic portraiture. These encaustic paintings prove that this is a misunderstanding, the ancients possed incredible artistic capabilities.


Browse and collect original Encaustic Paintings artworks directly from independent artists from around the world on Artailer.ca. Artailer features 1000s of original graphite drawings, pen and ink drawings, and charcoal drawings. Filter and select the art drawing you love by category, style, subject, colour, mood, decor styles and gift ideas.