As art movements wax and wane between figurative and landscape, realism and abstraction, the popularity of mediums change with the era too. Encaustic, the art of painting with wax, is one of the oldest techniques, dating back to antiquity. Anyone sitting through a required history and techniques class in college touched on the subject. In the second half of the 20th century, there were diverse individual artists who picked up the process such as Jasper Johns and Brice Marden. Until recently, dipping into encaustics meant reading recipes, acquiring the raw materials and manufacturing your own color and mediums.
As we approached the end of the 20th century, a few art materials manufacturers came up with formulas to create “readymade” encaustic colors and mediums so artists could spend their time making art rather than making paint. One of these companies, Enkaustikos, has taken the block of colored wax a few steps further. They looked at the block of wax that artists put into a metal pot on their heated surface to melt and decided to sell their color in shoe polish sized tins to eliminate this step in the process. Since then they have pressed their wax paint into “Sticks” and “Snaps,” giving the artist smaller increments for using colored wax and also giving them wax shapes to use like drawing materials. They have taken some of the oldest art materials and reshaped them to meet contemporary artists’ needs.
Some of these developments have turned into great materials to use encaustic techniques in monoprinting. Printmaking has also experienced resurgence recently. The marrying of these two techniques reflects the current movement of mixed media art making.
We want you to experience encaustic and encaustic monoprinting for yourself. Join Kathryn Bevier from Enkaustikos this Saturday, January 18th, at Wet Paint. Kathryn not only works as an encaustic artist but is involved in the manufacturing of the Enkaustikos product line. This is a great opportunity to try out something new and ask a bunch of questions of a true expert in the field.