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Busting a Myth

Have you ever been told Encaustic Painting is TOXIC??

Today on social media I shared a post dispelling a common myth that I, and judging by the many comments I received, other encaustic artists often get questioned about or outright told that Encaustic Painting is Toxic.

Now I'm not sure where this myth comes from? Maybe the false assumption that the damar resin mixed with the beeswax is the same product as the damar vanish we cover our furniture with. It's not - damar resin is tree sap from a tree found on the Indonesian island of Damar. It is melted at a low temperature and mixed with natural beeswax.

Or maybe it is because the name Encaustic has the word 'caustic' in it. Once again, a myth. The name Encaustic comes from the Greek work ENKOSTIKOS which means 'to burn in' referring to the fact encaustic art needs a heat source to fuse the layers.

Or maybe they think that heating beeswax is toxic? Maybe it's because they've smelled the fumes from beeswax that has been overheated in a pottery studio (a point I have been told by several potters)? Or maybe they are sensitive to a perfume based burning candle. But if you think about it, when you light a candle, the beeswax melts for hours all around the flame.

Whatever the reason, I want to inform and educate as there may be people who don't want to try the medium because they've been misinformed. I even had some artists comment that they stayed away from the medium because they heard it was toxic.

That's the problem with going by something you've heard, often no one can really say WHY; just that they heard this rumour.

When the wax is kept at the low temperature to ensure there are no fumes and safety procedures are followed regarding the heat gun and or torch it is not toxic. These are important safety requirements and are part of any encaustic class instruction.

I'm here to reassure you all that Encaustic painting is Not Toxic, you don't need to wear a respirator or a mask and you can do it inside (normal safety procedures apply- we do use fire afterall) 😃

I hope this helps dispel that silly myth and if you were staying away from learning how to properly use this amazing medium, that you can feel safe and confident to take a class.

I am attaching a gallery photo of my social media post below


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