Encaustic painting was practiced by Greek artists as far back as the 5th century B.C. The Greeks applied coatings of wax and resin to weatherproof and decorate their ships.
- The nature of encaustic to both preserve and color led to its use on the stone work of both architecture and statuary. Decorative terra cotta work on interiors was also painted with encaustic, which preceded mosaics. In the 18th century, encaustic painting was re-examined in order to rediscover the techniques of the ancient painters. It was explored in the 19th century to solve the dampness problems of mural painters in northern climates.
- Encaustic is a beeswax based paint that consists of beeswax, resin, and pigment. It is kept molten on a heated palette, applied to a surface and reheated to fuse the paint into a uniform enamel-like finish.
- Encaustic paintings do not have to be varnished or protected by glass.
- Always protect the surface and edges of the encaustic painting when moving it. Although the surface is completely dry, encaustic paintings can be scratched, gouged, or chipped if handled roughly.
- Encaustic paintings are extremely durable 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.
- Examples of encaustic paintings have survived from the Greek and Roman empires and are still as vibrant and colorful today as they were when they were painted.
- Encaustic paintings can be buffed to a high gloss using a soft, lint free cloth. This sheen dulls over time and can be brought back by repeating the process.