Encaustic painting was developed by the ancient Greek shipbuilders, who used hot wax to fill the cracks in their ships. Soon pigment (color) was added and this led to painting on the surface of the waxed hull; an art form was born.
This technique has been dated to as early as the fourth centruy B.C. Although wax may appear to be a fragile material, some encaustic paintings from A.D. 100- 125 survie today in the form of head and shoulder wax portraits set into mummy casings in Greco-Roman Egypt.
The technique for painting in encaustic is laying pigmented bees wax which contains damar resin crystals and fusing each layer with heat by one of the following: hot iron hot gun or propane torch. Damar is the crystallized sap of a fir tree native to Indonesia/Malaysia. Each time a layer is fused it becomes bonded and permanent to the previous layer. Encaustic is an exciting medium and has endless possibilities for use and technique.
When a piece is finished it can be buffed with a soft cloth. After 6 months it is fully set and buffing the piece will allow the medium to show off the full potential of sheen and luminousity that it has. It can be buffed with a sooth 100% cotton cloth anytime one wishes.