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Encaustic
Preparing the binder
Making the  wax vehicle
Encaustic is quite simple and easy to make once the details of heating the waxes are taken care of. Firstly combine the wax and damar resin. The wax is the vehicle, the damar is there as a hardener. The best way to buy the beeswax is in the form of pellets as the pellets are easier to measure and use (if they are available). Only use the white refined beeswax. Refining is a simple process developed in ancient times that improves the qualities of the wax significantly.

The wax is heated very gently until it is just melted. Do not burn the wax. Some artist's like to add a portion of Carnauba wax as this helps the hardening, but if too much is added the wax will gain a distinct brownish color. Remove from the heat and stir in the damar. About 25% by volume is about right.


Adding the pigments Dispersal
The pigments must be very dry. Do not predisperse. Pour a suitable quantity of the melted wax into a small tin. Stir in the pigment until the mixture has the consistency of a runny tubed oil paint. Make certain there are no clumps of pigment in the mixture. A rough drawdown is possible. The hot wax wets the pigment very well. Putting the wax into very small tins means they will melt more quickly at the beginning of a painting session. Always be careful not to burn the wax.

[ Go to  Testing Paints  ]


Keeping tins Storing  waxes
The wax colors will keep indefinitely. It is preferable to have tins that have fitting plastic covers as the only concern is to keep dirt off the colors.


Related Links:

Studio notes

Basic Ingredients

Detailed Ingredients

Testing paint

Starting to make paint

Making Oil Paints

Making Acrylic Paints

Making Watercolors and Gouaches

Making Egg Tempera

Making Hide Glue Chalk Gesso

Making Fresco Colors

Making Pastels


References
Alberti, L B,    On Painting    1435 (Penguin Classics)
Cellini, B,    The Life Of Benvenuto Cellini,    finished 1562 but not published until 1730 (Heron)
Cennini, C d'A,    The Craftsman's Handbook.    1437 (Dover)
Doerner, M,    The Materials Of The Artist And Their Use In Painting,    1921 (Harcourt Brace)
Eastlake, Sir C L,    Materials For A History Of Oil Painting,    1847 (Dover)
Feller, R L,    Artists Pigments    1986 (National Gallery Of Art / Cambridge University)
Gettens, R J, and Stout, G L,      Painting Materials: A Short Encyclopedia,      1942 (Dover)
Gottsegen, M D,    A Manual Of Painting Materials And Techniques,    1987 (Harper & Row)
Maire, F,    Colors: What They Are And What To Expect Of Them,    1910 (Drake)
Mayer, R,   The Artists Handbook Of Materials And Techniques,    fifth edition 1991  (Faber & Faber)
Merrifield, Mrs. M P,    Medieval And Renaissance Treatises On The Arts Of Painting    1849 (Dover)
Muther, R,    The History Of Painting From The Fourth Century To The Early Nineteenth Century,    1907 (Putnam)
Parkhurst, D B,    The Painter In Oil   1898 (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard)
Patton, T C,    Pigment Handbook,    1973 (Wiley)
Porter, N      Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary,      1913 (Merriam)
Pliny, The Elder (Gaius Plinius),    Natural History,    77 AD (Penguin Classics)
Roy, A      Artist's Pigments: A Handbook Of Their History And Characteristics,      1994 (Oxford University Press)
Taubs, F,    A Guide To Traditional And Modern Painting Methods,    1963 (Thames & Hudson)
Theophilus,   On Divers Arts,    1125 (Dover)
Various,    Encyclopedia Britannica,    fifteenth edition 1981  (Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc)
Various,    Paint And Painting,   1982,  (Winsor & Newton / The Tate Gallery)
Various,    The Artist's Colormen's Story,    1984 (Winsor & Newton)
Vasari, G,   The Lives Of The Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors And Architects,    1568 (Penguin Classics)


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