Encaustic painting is an ancient medium using melted beeswax fused with heat. The word, “encaustic” comes from the Greek term (enkaustikos) meaning “to heat or burn in”. Heat is used throughout the encaustic painting process, from melting the beeswax and resin to fusing the layers of wax in the painting. Encaustic painting dates back to the Greeks, who used wax to caulk ship hulls and later added pigment to make decorative images. In Greco-Roman Egypt (100-200 AD), encaustic was used to paint wax portraits on mummy casings. The most famous of these are known as the Fayum portraits. Unearthed almost 2000 years after their completion, they were found in tombs on high ground above the Egyptian oasis of Fayum, their colors as vivid as ever.Over time, encaustic went in and out of vogue as painters discovered easier, less labor intensive media such as tempera, fresco, oil painting and acrylic. In the twentieth century, the contemporary painter Jasper Johns is credited with reviving encaustic painting in the 1950s and 1960s. Today, thanks to new materials and techniques, encaustic is gaining popularity with artists and collectors worldwide.
Having painted for thirty-five years, Martha feels very comfortable with the encaustic medium and process. All the years of glazing with watercolor and layering with acrylic have given her a natural ease with encaustic. She enjoys building translucent layers, one upon the other, and scraping away to reveal what lies beneath. A depth and luminosity of color can be achieved which is not possible in other media. She often juxtaposes transparency against opacity and adds collaged elements such as her own etchings, monotypes and embedded textures. The ultimate reward is a love of working with natural materials, the act of sealing it with heat and the result of a luxurious and beautiful surface.
Martha’s metallic encaustics involve painting with metallic wax and scraping away the top layers to reveal what lies beneath.
The Alchemy of Bees—-24″ x 24″—–SOLD
CANYON WALLS SERIES