Encaustic painting is an ancient art form practiced by artists as far back as the 5th century B.C. The word encaustic comes from Greek and means “to burn in,” which refers to the process of fusing the paint. The technique uses heated beeswax to which coloured pigments are added. The molten wax is applied to a firm surface–usually prepared wood, paper, or canvas.
Encaustic has a long history but is as versatile as any 20th-century medium. Brushes are used to apply and shape the wax before it cools; then, it can be polished to a high gloss and modeled, sculpted, textured, and combined with collage materials. The wax cools immediately, so there is no drying time, yet it can always be reworked. Encaustic paintings do not have to be varnished or protected by glass.
“But will it melt on a hot day?” This is the question that is asked all the time. The answer is No. The working temperature for the liquid wax is 220 degrees, so unless you are living in an oven, the work will be fine hanging in your living room. But, just like any artwork, it is not a good idea to keep it in an area where it will be exposed to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures.
What are Encaustic Monotypes?
Encaustic Monotypes are one-of-a-kind non-repeatable prints. It is an agile process where pigmented wax is melted on a heated metal surface and then transferred to a sheet of paper. No printing press is required, just wax, heat, writing, and gentle hand pressure. These four variables allow endless and unpredictable results. The compositions evolve by adding and subtracting elements using customized silicone scrapers and brushes. The final results combine traditional printmaking’s directness and immediacy with the encaustic medium’s richness and luminosity.
Miura Ori is the best-known and most used origami corrugation. The folded pattern is named after Koryo Miura, who later designed a variant for folding solar panels on Japanese space probes. Simpler tessellations have been known since the 16th century.
I have been using tessellations for several years now. I animate and add dimension to the flat prints by folding my encaustic monotypes into lyrical sculptures. The undulating angles and geometric forms twist and bend the printed patterns.
My rhythmical wall sculptures use various corrugation patterns. The pieces are made from folded cardboard armatures. The energetic geometric structures are coated with a heavily textured Encaustic surface on the front and acrylic paint on the back to add an enchanted warm glow.