Ann Breinig - WHAT IS ENCAUSTIC?


My Encaustic paintings are made with beeswax, damar resin (a natural tree sap that acts as a hardening agent), and other mixed media. I paint in layers, fusing each layer with heat. Encaustic has a long history, dating back to the 5th Century B.C. The word encaustic means to burn in, which refers to the encaustic painting process of fusing the paint with heat or fire. I combine my original photography with the interesting textures and the natural luminosity of wax.

Beeswax is impervious to moisture, it will not deteriorate nor yellow or darken. Encaustic paintings do not have to be varnished or protected by glass.

How to care for your encaustic artwork:
Treat an encaustic painting as you would any fine art. Use care hanging, transporting or storing a painting.

  • Hang and store at normal room temperatures. Avoid freezing and extremely hot temperatures wax will melt at 150°F / 65°C.

  • Keep all artwork out of direct sunlight.

  • When packing encaustic art for transportation, cover the face of the painting with parchment paper. Do not use bubble wrap directly on the front of the painting, as it may leave an imprint on the surface. For shipping, build a box the right size for the painting.

  • Encaustic does not need to be protected by glass. A floater frame is an attractive option that also protects the edges of the painting from scratches, dents and chips.

  • During the first 6-12 months, as the wax cures, an encaustic painting may develop “bloom”. Bloom is a naturally occurring hazy white residue. It may also occur if a painting is exposed to cold. Bloom can easily be removed by buffing the surface of the painting.

  • Encaustic paintings can be buffed to a high gloss using a soft, lint-free cloth or pantyhose. If the original sheen has become dull over time. It can be brought back by repeating the buffing process.

  • Once an encaustic painting has fully cured and hardened, it will shed dust and dirt more readily.