First day Facing the Beeswax

Today I prepared my surfaces for my paintings. I glued on the bristol board paper and prepared my beeswax and damar resin concoction I cooked 1 part resin to 8 parts of wax.  That was the recipe percentage that was recommended on most websites on Encaustic techniques.  But, what a mess I made.  I looked on YouTube for a recipe and found a few that said “melt the wax first and then add the damar resin into the wax”.  One site said to first melt the resin in an Electric Frying pan until it is melted and then add the wax.  So, I just went with Jon Peters’ recipe (see link below). Peters did such a great job showing the following steps:   First crush the darmar varnish into powder with a mallet.  Then, melt half the wax in a electric pot and add the resin after the wax is melted.  Then, strain the wax into another container.  Put the now clear wax back into the cooking pot and add the rest of the wax.    Keep the temperature between 180 – 210 degrees.   Well, I did not wait but added the resin before all the wax was melted.  The damar became a glob of hard sticky substance and took forever to melt.  I must have stirred the wax medium for over an hour and the damar resin was still in its crystal gooey state sitting on the bottom of the pan.  I should have listened to Jon Peters who showed the steps which seemed so simple.   The trick is – the darmar resin needs a higher temperature to melt and the wax needs a lower temperature, so that is why one should melt a smaller amount first.  It is amazing how I never follow a recipe but always make these “creative” subtle changes and then regret the changes at the end.

So, tomorrow I will remelt the wax again and follow Jon Peters’ steps rigourously.  Check out his YouTube video at


Author: Anna

I am a painter and sculptor and have a studio beside a beautiful lake. For the past 40 years, I designed and built puppets, masks and sculptures and had solo exhibitions of these works. In 2013, I went back to painting and started working in encaustic. I am interested in issues of identity in terms of weavings as coverings to protect or to hide. The intersecting lines that I create over landscapes create an internal conversation versus the external between nature vs. nurture. Or how actual or psychological barriers erected in an environment can disrupt a cherished place. My engagement with woven structures speak to complex dialogues between identity and psychological barriers. My second passion is teaching. I try to encompass more than teaching my students art techniques. I encourage students to, not only learn the language of art, but to also engage in critiquing art. Additionally, we continually explore ways to enhance one's voice through art in relation to contemporary and historical issues. Encaustic adventures is a blog where not only processes and techniques are taught, but hopefully this sites will engage in a dialogue about the making of art, notions of voice, identity, themes, and ways to establish a body of work within an historical contexts.

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