What is Encaustic Painting?
Encaustic painting, which is sometimes known as hot wax painting, involves a heated wax medium to which colored pigments are added. The pigment in these paintings is mixed with beeswax and Dumar resin fixed with heat after each layer of an application.
The pigments that are used in the wax of encaustic painting are the same as those used in fine art oils, paints, and inks, but the binding agent of beeswax and Duamar resin hardens the surface of the painting, making them both more durable and transparent. The surface of an encaustic painting resembles a candle — they can be scratched, but you can touch them with your fingers without damaging the painting.
South Carolina Jeweler llyn strong’s History of Encaustic Painting
Encaustic painting requires significant heat — heat lamps, torches, heat guns, and other methods of applying heat are used by encaustic artists to fuse and bind the medium. Artists of encaustic painting also require special tools and brushes to shape the medium as it cools. The encaustic medium is malleable and can be sculpted. Additionally, materials can be encased on the surface of the painting, collaged, and layered into the medium.
Encaustic painting is the perfect fit for an artist trained in jewelry design. When llyn strong was first introduced to encaustic painting by the local artist, Patricia Kilburg, she was quite taken with the medium. For many years prior to her foray into encaustic painting, llyn strong had for many years hand-carved wax models for her jewelry designs. She was quite comfortable using heat torches to solder and fuse metals together. She expressed no reservations when it came to using torches and heat to fuse her encaustic paintings.
The History of Encaustic Paintings
The historical roots of encaustic painting date back to ancient Egypt, when it was used for the creation of funeral portraits. Both the ancient Greeks and Romans expanded the technique for both practical and decorative purposes. Because encaustic paintings are durable, they were often used in the decoration of ships and buildings where other types of painting would have difficulty withstanding the elements.
Encaustic painting continued to play a large role in art throughout the Middle Ages. During the Byzantine Empire, encaustic techniques were used to create religious icons and paintings.
During the Renaissance period, encaustic techniques fell out of fashion to a large degree — mostly replaced by oil painting, which was easier to work with and offered greater flexibility in terms of color and texture.
Then, in the 20th century, encaustic painting experienced something of a revival. Artists such as Jasper Johns and other American painters began experimenting with the technique.
Encaustic art experienced an even greater resurgence in popularity in the 1990s, with artists using a variety of heated tools, including electric irons, hotplates, and heated styluses to create works of art on a variety of surfaces — card, paper, and even pottery.
Hot irons make producing a variety of artistic patterns easier. In its current context, the medium is no longer limited to simple designs but can be employed to create complex paintings, similar to other mediums such as oil and acrylic.
The Year of the Bee: llyn strong’s Modern Encaustic Masterpieces
Building on the theme of beeswax that is used in the creation of encaustic paintings, llyn strong fine art jewelry decided to make 2023 “The Year of the Bee.” llyn strong’s current encaustic paintings incorporate bee imagery both directly and indirectly.
As a consummate professional and artist with more than 50 years as one of Greenville, South Carolina’s premier artists and jewelry artisans, her “Year of the Bee” encaustic paintings are available for sale at llyn strong fine art jewelry at 1322 East Washington St in Greenville, South Carolina, online, and at the Greenville Grand Bohemian’s Kessler Gallery.