Encaustic painting is the process of adding pigments to heated wax to create wonderfully textured and glowing masterpieces.
The result is a work of art that will stand the test of time, just ask the ancient Egyptians! They used the technique to paint portraits some 3,000 years ago that still exist today.
Made up of a mixture of beeswax and resin, the encaustic medium preserves colors almost indefinitely, creating an impermeable layer that keeps bugs and moisture away.
“That’s the magic of the bees,” says Emily.
Featuring vibrant colors and flowing forms and lines, there’s one benefit to the medium that’s crucial to Emily’s work, explaining, “it’s a wonderful medium because it’s all natural.”
Another benefit to the process is the ability to adhere to surfaces and envelop any objects that might be added, making it perfect for incorporating things like maps and dental floss, as seen in her work.
“The best thing about encaustics is that you can do so much with it,” says Emily. “It is a sculptural type of painting much more three-dimensional than traditional painting media. And so because of that fact, I can scrape and carve and build up and embed in it.”
The result is a finish that is begging to be looked at, but not touched!
“I go over it and buff it to a satin or even to a high sheen. And you know, everybody comes in and wants to touch the art. My thing is, if you buy it then you can touch it,” Emily says with a laugh.
And if you’re worried about it melting, Emily has a thought on that too…
“It starts to soften at about 165 degrees. Well if your house is at 165 degrees, then you need to just get out and don’t worry about your art!”
Emily Williams-Wheeler is a self-taught artist. She graduated with distinction with a BA in interior design. Her artwork is collected worldwide. Known for her whimsical style, bold colors, and interesting mark-making, Williams-Wheeler plays in many media, including acrylics/graphite, encaustics, and wire/paper sculptures. She has exhibited widely in solo and group shows. Her work is found in medical, educational, corporate, and residential installations.