Inspired by the ancient Greeks, as well as artists who incorporated wax in their work such as Jasper Johns, Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky, Carina Ybarra’s Upper School Art students are currently exploring the exciting and engaging medium of encaustic painting.
Encaustic is an ancient technique that originated in Greece, which used colored wax to decorate warships. Its name is derived from an ancient Greek word meaning “burning in.” The earliest examples of encaustic art originate from Roman Egypt around 100 CE. Encaustic has now become a painting method where colored pigments are mixed with hot wax and applied to wood.
Our student artists use brushes and tools to layer and shape the medium as it cools in order to achieve uniquely beautiful effects. Excited to be working in this special medium, our students are exploring and experimenting with layering, translucency, collaging in poetry, adding pigmented oil paint to pull out the texture, and carving in to add depth and richness to their artwork.
Encaustic can be frustrating and forgiving all rolled into one. When students aren’t happy with the result, they can scrape down to start over or keep adding more layers. Working in this medium allows our students to practice creative risk taking and resilience as they hone their encaustic painting technique.