ART & YOUR BRAIN
Painting with Encaustic medium is a process of fusing wax brushstrokes with flame to create one cohesive piece of art. Like the "brushstrokes" of our minds, comprised of our experiences and thoughts, the neurotransmitters in our brains that fire together, wire together to create a feeling about that experience. Art enhances brain function by having an effect on your emotions and nervous system by raising your dopamine and serotonin levels. For me marrying music and painting is very therapeutic. Like journaling, painting allows me to process what weighs heavy on my heart. And as for the viewer, admirer and collector of art, when you connect or even just look at a painting that you find is beautiful, blood flow to your brain increases, which is equivalent to gazing at a loved one, resulting in a "pleasure response". So, next time you look at a piece of art that you love, remember that your whole body is benefiting from that simple experience.
THE MAGICAL MEDIUM
No I am not talking about something clairvoyant, I am talking about ancient artistic medium that has originated with ancient Greeks over 3000 years ago. The two main ingredients in encaustic are damar resin and beeswax. Damar resin is used in crystal form and it is a sap from a tree found in Malaysia. It is one of the most sustainable resins around, due to its cultivation techniques that do not impact the tree. When beeswax and damar resin are melted together, it makes beeswax harder, more durable and it elevates the melting temperature of beeswax to 200F/93C. Damar resin is non toxic, but it's still advisable to have an adequate ventilation, however it is not required to wear a respirator. When working with encaustic medium, an artist uses heat to fuse it, so we work with Hot & Cold instead of traditional Wet & Dry. When mixed with pigments, encaustic becomes coloured wax-based paint. Encaustic must be applied to a rigid and absorbent surface, such as wood. It cannot be used on a canvas, since it is flexible, it will cause the wax to break, crack and flake off. In ancient times encaustic was used for painting portraits and scenes of mythology on panels, for colouring of marble and terra cotta, for work on ivory and to caulk ship hulls. Today Encaustic is still relatively unknown as an art medium, but it is starting gain more popularity among artists due to its translucency, versatility and as for me, it's just magic.