Encaustic paint's essential ingredients (and the only two I use) are beeswax and pigment, combined and kept liquid-hot during application. Encaustic is an ancient medium, perhaps contemporary with early fresco and some kinds of tempera, but long pre-dating oils and acrylics. The ancient Greeks and Egyptians are known to have used this paint, kept hot over beds of charcoal. I began using it  twenty-nine years ago, at a time when this venerable medium was not going through one of its revivals. Having no instructions to hand, I taught myself, stepping from painting to painting through bursts of discovery, accident and invention; practicing, perfecting tools and equipment, becoming intimate with this rich and complex medium. The very paint itself directed choices of theme, iconography and points of attack. 

Phare               ©Sarah Petite              2015

encaustic on wood     18" x 15"  

This beeswax paint makes brushwork like no other medium. Where other paints are wet, encaustic is hot; and 'dry' means cool. When cool, it can be worked with knives, blades and scrapers, sculpted, stenciled and inlaid, layered, scratched, puddled with the heat gun. But the pure brushwork is the finest of it, and always finishes the painting.

Steeplechase                   ©Sarah Petite                  2012                 encaustic on wood        10" x 25"           SOLD

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