Encaustic paintings like the Fayium Greek Burial Portraits, made in the encaustic technique have lasted over 2,000 years in museums around the world! The term “encaustic” means to burn-in. The encaustic technique is the use of pigment that is heated, burned or fused into naturally bleached beeswax. The versatility of the medium allows for atmospheric layering and glazing, and transparency from overlapping wax. As well as ironing with heat, pouring, scraping, and staining with thin veils of paint. I build up areas of high-relief and texture for my 2D works and the structure for sculptures.
I make sure to create pieces that are sturdy, stable and made with archival techniques to ensure you own a professionally made, quality artwork that lasts and considered heirloom artworks.
While you might think encaustic works of art would be susceptible to temperature changes in your home, they actually will not be physically altered or damaged in a home with a normal temperature ranges. As long as the temperatures are relatively stable and don’t drop below freezing or go over 160 degrees, most homes, even in summer, do not go above 90 degrees, so the artworks will be fine in your home even if you don’t have central air.
Generally, in a normal house environment, encaustic paintings only need dusting about once or twice a year. On the flat surfaces of the painting, a water damp cotton cloth (clean t-shirt or cotton rag) will do to wipe any surface dust from the flat areas with a light sweeping motion. For recessed or relief areas you can use a clean feather duster, or I use a compressor with a light air flow to blow out any dust/dirt in difficult to reach places. I rarely have to do this procedure and in most households it is not necessary to have to purchase a compressor to own an encaustic painting.
It Is a rare condition with encaustic artworks that makes the smooth surface of a the wax appear with a dull and sometimes dusty appearance. This does not happen with textural works. But if your piece has a smooth surface, at some point in about 1-2 years you may see dull areas. It’s very simple to resolve this with a light, circular motion using a lint-free dry cotton cloth (clean t-shirt or cotton rag) to gently wipe the surface and bring it back to the depth of color you are used to seeing.
Caring for Encaustic Sculpture
All of my sculpture pieces include an acrylic box made to proper size and proportions that visually enhances the artwork. This accomplishes two things, it keeps dust away from the sculpture, because unlike the 2-dimensitonal paintings, you should not try to dust the sculpture since there are overlapping pieces of wax and is difficult to reach inside all of the recesses with a dry cotton cloth. Two, it also keeps people from knocking into or touching the works. Your guests can get right up close to view the piece and the clear case does not interfere with the viewers visual experience of the artwork.