Encaustic means to burn in and is a technique used to create hot wax paintings The heat turns the wax into a solvent and when applied to a surface, mixed with coloured pigments the artist can create vibrant textural work.

Originating more than two thousand years ago in Greece, enkaustikos means burnt in. In ancient Greek writings it is referred to as Punic wax. The oldest remaining works are from around the 1st century BC and originate from Egypt during the time of Roman occupation. They are commonly known as the Fayum Mummy Portraits. In addition to Encaustic many of the Mummy Portraits were Tempera, however the Encaustic is considered higher quality.

Your main tool for creating encaustic art is an iron or another hot surface for both melting and applying the wax and colour to the surface you are working with.

Choose an iron with no steam holes and excellent thermostatic regulation and control. You could also use a stylus or hotplate.

If you choose to use a stylus then you can get lots of different tips to apply the wax, ,pen, brush, micro or mini iron.

A hot plate of for example A2 size could be used.

You could also look at wax movers, scrappers, brushes, sponges and hot air guns.

As a craft tutor, I find people are often confused by what is meant by Encaustic art. I have drawn the conclusion that although it is specifically related to creating art with molten wax, sometimes it is how you do it that determines how people define it and their interest in it. Encaustic Art the English way (although lots of nations do it). What I would call the English way, this is my definition there are plenty of English artists who do it using what I would call the American Way, is to paint on a non-absorbent surface using tools such as an iron developed by Michael Bossom this way leaves a textured but flatter surface for your work. The American Way many artists particularly the likes of Jasper John work their Encaustic art by layering the wax onto a surface of canvas wood etc what they are looking for is height and depth to their wax which is also great for embedding objects and photographs. This technique requires melting the wax in some way so that you can pour it or paint it directly onto the surface of your work with a brush, you need to keep all surfaces warm at the same time or the wax solidifies. I like to use and teach a mixture of both techniques whichever you prefer do not dismiss Encaustic art. Molten wax can create wonderful effects it is also tactile and can be used to enhance your artwork think Rousseau as well as to create standalone work. Toni Peers