Monday, December 13, 2010

Encaustic Revival

A Tray of Many Colors

Jasper Johns is credited with reviving the use of encaustic paint for contemporary artists. It is said that he wanted something that would help his paintings dry faster, and he remembered hearing about the wax paintings of ancient Greece. So, voila! the old becomes the new again!

After Johns' show at Leo Castelli Gallery in 1958, many other artists were mesmerized by encaustic's spell, including Brice Marden, Lynda Benglis, Nancy Graves, Kay Walkingstick and Arthur Dove. Today many contemporary artists use encaustic.

 I began using encaustic in 1996 when there was little information available about the medium. Trial and error is a great teacher! Today there is plenty of information both on the web and in print. One of the best information resources on the web is R & F Paints, who specialize in encaustic paint and pigment sticks.

When I am asked about my work and I reply that I work in encaustic, many people wonder what encaustic is.  If you click on the Buzz page above, you'll find some historical information.

The real question is why? Why use encaustic instead of oil paint or acrylics or any other paint? That's for the next post....


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