The Art of Encaus­tic Paint­ing is one of the old­est forms of visual art prac­ticed today. Early exam­ples have been found in 1st cen­tury Greco-​Roman tombs in Egypt using only 3 col­ors with beeswax. They were por­traits of those buried within and are remark­ably frsh. Essen­tially the process involves paint­ing with hot wax (note the word “encaus­tic” comes from the Greek for “burned”) and is enjoy­ing a resur­gence of pop­u­lar­ity today for its dis­tinc­tive prop­er­ties in the process of both doing encaus­tic and view­ing the results. Of course, mod­ern tech­nol­ogy has increased the vol­ume and qual­ity of encaus­tic mate­ri­als avail­able today. All major art sup­pli­ers offer a sub­stan­tial vari­ety of waxes and col­ors, and processes are becom­ing ever more sophis­ti­cated. It is a medium that promises to take its place among the more famil­iar ones of our times.

The Ancient Celts

Between 900 and 600 BCE, Celtic peo­ples cre­ated civ­i­liza­tions through­out Europe, and thus became its first mas­ters and the ances­tors of most of us today. Though Julius Cae­sar quelled them in war­fare and the Church’s Latin bish­ops trumped their Chris­t­ian spir­i­tu­al­ity, Celtic peo­ple abound today with a par­tic­u­lar slant on life. Com­ing from a his­tory both racy and exhil­a­rat­ing and an artis­tic tra­di­tion richly intri­cate, they give us a lan­guage of the heart.

I wanted to honor them with a series of works, “The Celts.” The images here come from arti­facts in tombs and illu­mi­nated man­u­scripts. Fur­ther research will yield many more; their exis­tance offers a gold­mine for artists.