It can be easy after you have seen several booths of paintings to look for a minute then move on, but when we stopped by Julie Hume’s booth at the Silver Dollar City Harvest Festival, our interest was piqued more as we realized the technique was new to us. We saw the sign that said “Encaustic painting,” and mom said she had seen something about that recently but wasn’t sure what it was.
We started talking to Julie and her passion for the style was obvious as she explained her technique and how she came to do it.
Encaustic painting has been around since the Egyptians.
On a handout from Julie it says, “The ancient art of encaustic painting involves applying melted wax colored with pigments to a wood panel or other surface. The wax is applied using various methods and tools, including brushes, metal scrapers and carving instruments, to shape the wax before it cools. The wax is heated between each application to fuse it and make it stable. A blow-torch, heat gun or heat light can be used to blend or move the wax to achieve the desired effect.”
Julie was introduced to encaustic painting over 40 years ago. She attended a demonstration by someone who did this kind of painting, but didn’t like the abstract way it was done. She decided to try it out and see if she could do it with more detail.
When Julie first started playing around with this technique, she used her kids crayons for the wax. They weren’t too happy about that and were probably quite pleased when she discover beeswax was a better option. She also does her own blends of color even though there are more wax options available these days.
Though hard to convey in a photograph, Julie’s encaustic are beautifully detailed in a way that seems impossible with just wax and heat. She carves out her detail, and with patience and a willingness to change directions from her original plan, ends with a unique, beautiful finished piece of art. She says the real trick is that “you just have to know when to stop.”