The Encaustic Process
Erica Konrad uses encaustic medium which consists of molten beeswax, damar resin, and pigments that are fused after application into a continuous layer and fixed to a support (primarily wood) with heat. This achieves a lustrous enamel appearance.
I use encaustic as a medium, with oil stick and oil paint. Layers are built up, fused with heat, exposed and then covered again. I employ mark-making, adding, subtracting, and incising to get to the desired image – the one that is complete, bringing closure to the process. Working quickly with the hot wax requires Zen like concentration and releases the thinking mind. The intuitive mind is awakened as the hot melted wax oozes, drips, hardens, revealing meanings in many layers as I paint in a studio filled with the sweet scent of beeswax.
The word ‘encaustic’ comes from the Greek “enkausticos” and means to burn in, which refers to the process of fusing the paint. Encaustic is a very durable medium and an excellent investment. This is due to the fact that beeswax is impervious to moisture. Because of this it will not deteriorate, it will not yellow, and it will not darken. Encaustic paintings do not have to be varnished or protected by glass.
While encaustic is the most archival of all media, special care is required for the painting surface. Exposure to extreme cold can result in cracking, while exposure to extreme heat can cause the surface to melt. Like any other fine art, paintings should not be hung on an exterior (outside) wall, over a fireplace, or in direct sunlight. Do not leave it in a hot car for an extended period of time! The wax will soften at 150 degrees F. If your painting becomes dull or dirty, it can be wiped clean with a lint free cloth and buffed to a high shine. Once buffed, the painting’s luster and brilliance in colour will re-emerge.