of Dr Jekill and Mr Hyde.
One of the things that still puzzles me is the breach between the contemporary encaustic practice in America and the one in Europe. If you surf the web in different languages you get completely different approaches. Just try.
Something of this nature must have an explanation.The encaustic industry is very young, and given the commercial barriers between USA and Europa, each area uses their own products.
In America a few fine art brands supply encaustic materials, the most active and more penetration in the market are Enkaustikos and R&F paints, with a very strong and wide-ranging presence in the market. In Europa I have just found an encaustic material supplier the german Hobby Ring with presence, that I have detected, in Germany and UK. There are not so many encaustic practitioners in France, Italy or Spain, but the ones interested in encaustic art seem to be making their own products.
Since It is specially in Germany and UK where this other approach to encaustic is present, I guess it has to do with the encaustic products available, and the lack of encaustic material suppliers.
The main two differences that I have observed are the practically nonexistent use of translucency of the wax in Germany and UK, and the total different use of the warm iron in America.
- In Germany wax color sticks are used directly from the bar, they spread it in the ground with the warm iron without using medium or any kind of brush or plate. On the contrary, in US translucency of the medium is one of the main features in the technique, and the use of warm iron is practically reduced to the mix-media works encapsulating other materials like paper into their compositions.
- Their target client (RF vs Hobby Ring) seems to me also to be different, R&F targets amateurs but also professionals, whilst Hobby Ring targets youngsters and amateurs but not professionals,
If an European artist, like me, wants to give encaustic a try but feels like being in the wrong side of the map, we have to find our own products locally and learn how to prepare our own medium and colors. Which is a very appealing idea, by the way,
The import option could be a start option, but in the long run does not seem sensible to maintain.