The word encaustic originates from the Greek word enkaustikos, which means “to burn in”. The medium itself is a mixture of beeswax and dammar resin (crystallized tree sap), and the heat element is necessary for the art to be called encaustic. Tools and brushes can be used to sculpt the wax as it cools. The medium can be used alone for its translucent qualities or mixed with colored pigments. Beeswax is nature’s archival material, it is water resistant and will not yellow or darken over time.
Encaustic is extremely archival, but as with all art forms, care should be given to them. Encaustic artwork (like all artwork) should not be exposed to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures (below freezing or above 150 degrees). Have no fear of the work melting in normal household conditions!
An occasional light buffing with a soft dry cotton cloth will help maintain the intriguing texture and translucent shine, or you can allow the encaustic medium to “bloom”. Blooming gives the wax a slightly less translucent appearance/shine and is preferred by some. The choice is yours! Over time, the surface will retain its gloss (or bloom) as the medium continues to cure and harden for 1-3 years.