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Encaustic is an ancient medium, used in the Minoan and Mycenean cultures (who revered honey bees) and by the Roman-era Egyptians for the famous Fayum portraits. The medium is simply melted beeswax, sometimes combined with damar resin, with finely ground pure pigments for color. There are really good encaustic paints and medium blocks that are commercially available but I prefer to make my own.
To make the encaustic medium:
Weigh the ingredients: I use a ratio of 85% pure beeswax to 15% damar resin. (so, 8.5 lb wax + 1.5 lb resin)
Over medium heat in large kettle melt the damar resin crystals (crush first to melt quicker).
Slowly add in the beeswax, stir till all is melted.
Encaustic painting is done on a rigid surface, typically cradled wood panels. Unfinished wood surfaces take the encaustic medium well or the surface may be coated with specially formulated encaustic gesso.