Reach for the Sun is an abstract, heavily textured Encaustic painting on cradled board, framed with a black float timber frame, portrait orientation.
Encaustic is a Greek word meaning “to heat or burn in” (enkaustikos). Heat is used throughout the process, from melting the beeswax medium to fusing the layers of wax. Encaustic consists of natural bees wax and dammar resin (crystallized tree sap). The medium can be used alone for its transparency or adhesive qualities or used pigmented. Pigments may be added to the medium. The medium is melted and applied with a brush or any tool the artist wishes to create from. Each layer is then reheated to fuse it to the previous layer. It is also known as hot wax painting.
Encaustic painting is an ancient technique, dating back 2000+ years to the Greeks, who used wax to caulk ship hulls. Pigmenting the wax gave rise to the decorating of warships. Perhaps the best known of all encaustic work are the Fayum funeral portraits painted in the 1st through 3rd centuries A.D. by Greek painters in Egypt. A portrait of the deceased painted either in the prime of life or after death, was placed over the person’s mummy as a memorial. These are the only surviving encaustic works from ancient times. It is notable how fresh the color has remained due to the protection of the wax.
Encaustic painting all but died out with the invention of oil painting, because without the electrical appliances that we have today, it was a slow, difficult process. The 20th century has seen a rebirth of encaustic on a major scale. It is an irony of our modern age, with its emphases on advanced technology, that a painting technique as ancient and involved as encaustic should receive such widespread interest.
Reach for the Sun
Heavily textured abstract Encaustic painting on cradled board