Project Description

Encaustic is to cold wax painting like wine to sangria. Both are very refreshing in summer 🙂 … and it’s again fashionable!

Whoever dares to paint with hot encaustic during the summer months deserves a prize. Today our prize is to show how to prepare damar resin for later use. Damar resin powder is used for different cold applications. We will talk about these applications during the summer:

  • How to prepare wax medium to paint cold
  • How to prepare damar varnish

Cold encaustic can be a great ally for touch-ups and fine details. But this you don’t need to tell my friend Lora Murphy and her fantastic portraits.

Prepare damar resin

To prepare the encaustic medium we saw that it is NOT necessary crush the damar crystals. Solving  Damar resin in organic solvents is a slow process. It is therefore required to prepare damar resin before its use. Prepare damar resin for later use will not take you more than 5-6 minutes, no violence or further complications.

We saw in a previous post that the best damar resin is the one in large crystals. Usually the large crystals have suffered less oxidation and thus are more pale and transparent. These large crystals are very fragile and are easy to grind so we should not be scared of large crystals, on the contrary.

To grind damar crystals these are the steps:

Crush the crystals

Using newsprint and  a hammer it is easy to crush the crystals safely. You always need to wear protection glasses and a half mask to avoid breathing damar dust.

On a worktop place the damar crystals between several sheets of newsprint. Wearing glasses and half mask gently tap the top layer of newspaper sheets. You don’t need any violence, it is like breaking candy.

 If you don’t have a worktop, you can use a wooden cutting board  on a thick book. 

 Using the free hand we palpate the coarser crystals until we break all to a similar size.

160706 preparar damar.003

 Grind the smaller crystals further

Once the larger crystals are crushed, you use a thick glass bottle (wine bottle with no labels is ok). Carefull, you do not tap with the bottle, but used it in roll form with slight pressure so that the small crystals are reduced to coarse powder form.

160706 preparar damar.004

How to store and label

If you are not going to use it right away, you can keep in a closed jar and will last forever. I always warn to  label the jar so that you know what it is inside and the other members of your family or friends NEVER take it for a pantry jar with products like sugar etc … The labelling should be outspoken.

In the next post we will focus on solvents to for the resin and the beeswax and the next one we will explain how make the cold wax medium (cold paste).

Since I said the sangria is fashionable, I give you the Modernist White Sangria recipe by Ferrán Adriá.

White wine sangría:

1 bottle dry white wine
3 spoonfuls of sugar
3 shots of liquor (any you have and like)
The skin of a lemon & 1/2 orange skin  untreated
1/2 green apple, 10 strawberries, 15 white grapes, a slice of watermelon and another of  pineapple 
Cut the pieces of fruit the size you like, mix wine with sugar, lemon & orange zest and liqueur. Leave the mix in the refrigerator for 8 to 12 hours depending on the size of the fruit pieces, and to enjoy. Happy summer! 

Encáustica en frío: preparar resina de damar

This post is also available in: Spanish