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During my senior year in Advanced Placement Art, I learned a new style called Encaustic Painting. This is painting in a medium that combines dry colors with heat-softned wax. Oil paint may also be mixed with wax-- but only when the pigments are fused by heat is the medium called encaustic. Encaustic painting is durable, but until modern times its technique had been pretty difficult to use.

The ancient Greeks and Romans used this style for murals, panels, and sculptures. They would heat both the painting surface and the palette with metal spatula or a brush. Some of the Egyptian tombs that were done with this technique have lasted until the present day.

During the Middle Ages-- artists used tempera and then oil-- neither of which require heating. Encaustic was revived in the 19th century for German murals. In the 20th centry though- it was revived with more succes.

Resin is added to the mixture to harden it and the process is made easier by the use of an electrically heated palette and an electric lamp of some sort. You do this by holding it near the painting surface.

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