Molly Cliff Hilts
Paintings in Encaustic and drawings in Charcoal
"Encaustic technique has been dated to as early as the fourth century B.C. Although wax may appear to be a fragile material, some encaustic paintings from A.D 100-125 survive today in the form of head and shoulder wax portraits set into mummy casings in Greco-Roman Egypt. Since 2008, my work has shifted from using primarily encaustic medium to a mixture of mediums that include oil painting, encaustic wax, and printmaking.
To prepare an encaustic medium, I melt beeswax, adding damar, a hardening and stabilizing agent. Then I filter and cool the mixture for later use. It usually takes a day to make up a large batch. When ready to paint, I melt the wax mixture and add pigment from the tins which sit on a heated aluminum plate on a layout table in my studio. With a brush, I paint the encaustic medium onto a panel, which lies horizontally so that the melted wax doesn't run. The wax cools very quickly, and I paint swiftly, often only a few strokes at a time. After applying a layer to the panel, I use a propane torch to reheat the wax, smoothing the surface and bonding the new layer to the one below. I build up the layers of pigmented wax, heating after each layer."