Debra Van Tuinen's Encaustic work makes her debut at Urban id

Urban i.d.,partnering with Butters Gallery features NW artist Debra Van Tuinen’s artwork in a unique Pearl District interior design studio!

Located in the Pearl at 319 NW 9th Ave. Stop by a meet artist Debra Van Tuinen and enjoy a glass of wine on First Thursdays July 7th and August 4th.

What is Encaustic?

Encaustic is a wax based paint (composed of beeswax, resin and pigment), that is kept molten on a heated palette. It is applied to a porous surface and then reheated in order to fuse the paint. The word ‘encaustic’ has no connection to the word caustic; it comes from the Greek word enkaiein, meaning to burn in, referring to the process of fusing the paint.

Encaustic is perhaps the most beautiful of all artists’ paints, and it is as versatile as any 21st century medium. It can be polished to a high gloss, carved, scraped, layered, collaged, dipped, cast, modeled, sculpted, textured, and combined with oil. It cools immediately, so that there is no drying time, yet it can always be reworked.

Encaustic is also the most durable artists’ paint. This is due to the fact that beeswax is impervious to moisture. Because of this, it will not deteriorate, it will not yellow, and it will not darken. Encaustic paintings do not have to be varnished or protected by glass.
Encaustic paint does not require the use of solvents. As a result, a number of health hazards are reduced or eliminated.

Is encaustic archival?

Collectors want to know… Is encaustic archival? Is it durable? Will it last? The answer, if the painting is made correctly and handled gently as you’d handle any other piece of art, is a big, resounding YES! Encaustic is archival, and in most cases, will outlast paintings made with oil.

The Fayum portraits are a beautiful testament to the medium’s durability. They date from the late first century B.C. to about 300 A.D. and “are the only large body of art from that tradition to have survived.”

Examples of encaustic paintings have survived from the Greek and Roman empires and are still as vibrant and colorful today as they were when they were painted.

Encaustic paintings survive, in part, because the wooden surfaces they’re painted on are preserved/impregnated with beeswax, rendering them resistant to moisture and mold. Also, encaustic paint doesn’t just sit on the surface it’s painted on. It’s bonded on with heat, literally melted into whatever lies beneath, making it less likely to flake off with age.
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