DON'T BE AFRAID!
Encaustic Paintings are Extremely Durable
A Michelle Acker Original will survive in your home just fine,
even in the heat of a Texas summer!
Don't be afraid to own an original piece of encaustic art!
Care for your encaustic painting as you would any other piece of fine art.
Treat it with love and care and it will bring you years of joy.
I LIVE IN A HOT CLIMATE. WILL IT MELT?
Encaustic paint is stable between roughly 40-120°F.
If you are comfortable in your house, your painting should be fine too.
I paint in a studio that is open to the Texas summer heat. I have had no trouble with any my art being exposed to the Texas heat. When I am in the studio creating, the wax doesn't begin to be workable until around 150°F. It doesn't melt until closer to 180°F.
If your home is that warm, you have bigger problems than your painting being damaged! :)
Encaustic paint is the most durable of all artists' paints. Beeswax is its own protector. It is impervious to moisture, and it is a natural preservative. The damar resin mixed with the wax helps to harden and cure the wax over time, protecting it further. Some of the oldest encaustic paintings are the Faiyûm mummy portraits in Egypt. They have survived over 2000 years without cracking, flaking, or fading. A Michelle Acker Original will survive in your home just fine, even in the heat of a Texas summer!
PROTECT THE SURFACE FROM SCRATCHES
The resin in the paint will cure and harden the wax over time, making the artwork less vulnerable to damage. However, you can still take your fingernail and scratch the surface. Handle your art gently, and follow the directions below to buff the artwork to a brilliant shine.
BRING OUT LUSTER AND SHINE
Buffing your piece of encaustic art will bring out a luster and saturation of color. Your artwork should always be shiny. To achieve this, you will need to buff your artwork when it becomes dull or hazy looking. This haziness is called "bloom" and is part of the curing process of the wax. The newer the piece, the more quickly it will go back to looking like a dull/matte finish. Over time, the painting will cure and harden, and will hold it's shiny polished look. This process can take up to 6 months. Once the wax has cured, the artwork will also shed dust and dirt more easily.
HOW TO BUFF YOUR ARTWORK
Remember, you can still take your fingernail and scratch the surface, so handle your artwork gently.
When the painting is at room temperature or cooler, buff the painting like you would buff a waxed car. Use a 100% lint-free cotton cloth or one of those blue shop paper towels (the blue paper towels you can find in the automotive section.) Do not buff painting if it is over 75 degrees. Buff gently and make sure there is no dirt or anything that would scratch the surface. Patience, not pressure does the trick. Do not buff hard enough to create heat. I recommend buffing once a month or whenever you notice it becoming dull and hazy.
HANDLING IN EXTREME HEAT OR COLD
Very hot days can soften the wax somewhat, but will cause no real damage. Wax is more fragile in the cold and becomes extremely brittle in freezing temperatures. If you drop the painting in cold temperatures it might chip or shatter.
If you must transport the painting in hot or cold weather simply take a few extra precautions. First cover the entire wax surface with wax paper, then cardboard. Add a layer of some form of insulation. This could be a foam sheet, insulated bubble wrap, or even a grocery store freezer tote. Don't leave your art in a car in hot or cold temps. To unpack, let the painting return to room temperature. Remove the wax paper and unwrap the painting. When in very hot weather the wax paper might stick to the painting but will cause no damage as long as it is removed at room temperature.
SUNLIGHT and AGING
As with any fine art, do not hang your painting in direct sunlight. If you are nervous about the placement of the painting just feel the surface of the wax. If it is warm or tacky to the touch, the painting needs to be moved to an area with less direct sunlight. It should always feel cool to the touch.
Encaustic paint also does not contain solvents or oils so it does not darken or yellow with age. It does not need to be under glass or varnished. The wax contains it's own naturally preservative properties.