Encaustic is derived from the Greek word Enkaustikos which means to burn in.
Three thousand years ago Greek shipbuilders discovered that they could add pigment and resin to the beeswax which they used to caulk hulls to create a painting medium unmatched in depth and luminosity
The Egyptians used this medium to create exquisite portraits to decorate the mummies of their patrons. Some of these portraits still exist today, without fading or cracking and are displayed in major museums such as Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Heat is used throughout the process, from melting the beeswax to fusing the layers of wax. Encaustic consists of natural bees wax and dammar resin (sap from an Asian tree). The medium can be used alone for its transparency or pigments added to give colour.