OTHER PAINTING MEDIA
Oil paint sticks or bars - Oil paint is sold in a solid stick form, allowing the artist to draw with color onto a surface. Oil stick can be thinned with turpentine and can be easily incorporated into the process of oil painting. Oil sticks work much like oil pastels, but are richer in texture and color and, unlike oil pastels, will dry hard and permanent. After use, a skin will form on the end of of the stick. This can be shaved off prior to using the sticks again.
Alkyds paints - Traditionally used as industrial and house paints, alkyd paints are soluble in turpentine or odorless mineral spirits, and can be used as an underpainting for oils or mixed directly with oil paint. Windsor and Newton makes Griffin Alkyd paints, the only artist alkyd paints available. Alkyds share characteristics of both oil and acrylic paints; alkyds dry overnight, but can be blended and modeled like oil paints for several hours. They handle somewhat differently than artists' oil paints, in part, because they have a uniform consistency regardless of the pigment used. Alkyd paints also cannot hold as much pigment as oil paint and their colors are not as intense. Most artists still prefer oil paint, but use alkyd mediums with oils. For information about alkyd painting mediums used with oil, click here.
Water miscible paints - Paints that mix with both oil and water are now available. Two commonly used brands are the Grumbacher "Max" paints and Winsor Newton’s Artisan Oils. These paints tend to become gummy when water is added and lack the smooth, buttery quality of traditional oils. They are are less toxic (cleanup is with soap and water).
Encaustics - Encaustics involve the mixture of dry pigments or oil paint into molten beeswax and damar resin. The damar is added because it lends translucency to the wax. Artists melt this wax medium in small metal containers on a hot palette or hot plate. Oil colors may be added to the containers and the encaustic is applied to surfaces with brushes and other tools. Encaustic paint makers, such as R&F and Enkaustikos produce pre-made encaustic colors. These colors contain pigment, beeswax, and damar resin. In addition, they sell pre-made wax medium made from damar and beeswax, but containing no pigment.
Many encaustic artists make their own medium by melting bleached beeswax and adding granulated damar crystals which dissolve in the hot wax. Because heated damar produces toxic fumes, encaustics must be used in well-ventilated areas. Once the molten wax paint is applied to a rigid support, the wax must be reheated with a heat gun, fusing or "burning in" the material permanently to the surface.
Encaustics may have originated in ancient Egypt, and were used widely in ancient Greece. Between the 1st and 2nd centuries in Egypt, Fayum funerary portraits (so named because most were located in the Fayum dessert basin west of the Nile) were done of the deceased and placed on the mummified remains. These were highly representational images. According to Ralph Mayer, the ancient Greeks also used a form of encaustics to add color to sculpture. This medium was rarely used during the renaissance, although the 18th century saw a revival of encaustics in mural painting. Encaustic painting, however, is primarily painted on the easel, and today many contemporary artists, such as Jasper Johns, use encaustics in their work. Wax is also compatible with oil paints and wax mediums are used in oils for impasto effects.