FRANCOIS BEAUDRY — ENCAUSTIC PAINTINGS

The technique of encaustic painting dates back to ancient Greece. It is a mixture of beeswax and damar gum to which are added the color pigments. This technique therefore requires a warm palette and in Nordic countries, during the winter, working next to a heating element, is a plus. And, adding the smell of beeswax, as soon as it is used, this technique immediately convinces us that it speaks directly to the senses.

Encaustic is considered the most permanent among the painting techniques because of the propensity of wax to remain impervious to moisture (and the mold it causes) and to reject dust[1]. The annihilation of these two enemies of conservation explains that we have found encaustics of more than 2000 years in perfect condition in Pompeii and Fayoum.

Besides having a wide range of effects ranging from opacity to transparency, to allow the use of robust impastos, there, where encaustic eclipse all its rivals is in terms of flexibility. Indeed, thanks to its peculiar quality to be thermoplastic, an encaustic can be left aside for a long period of time, afterwards, after the encaustic is softened by warming it up, layers can be removed or added and thus form a new layer that will be absolutely permanent.

Picasso said: “you have to have an idea of what you are going to do, but it should be a vague idea”. A good painting cannot be the result of a mechanical process, a recitation by rote. It is a series of metamorphoses, of questioning, that the artist confronts while working on the path of discovery of an unknown result beforehand. By adopting this point of view, encaustic with its thermoplastic peculiarity embodies the technique par excellence.

A caution is needed on the qualities just mentioned. These do not apply when encaustic is used in a mixed media technique (for example with oil, tempera or acrylic). That is not the case here. All the paintings, most of which contain important impastos up to denominating them "bas-relief", presented below are 100% pure encaustic. These impastos accentuate the materiality of the work, they incite the viewer to want to touch the painting, they invite to the haptic sensation in opposition to the optical sensation.


[1] Suffice to compare an encaustic to an acrylic to understand the importance of this feature. Acrylic paint film: its glass transition temperature is near or below room temperature. The result is a softened surface that is favorable to the accumulation of dust where, over time, they even become incorporated in the paint film. In addition, this problem is magnified by the fact that an acrylic paint film is not conductive, it tends to have an electrostatic charge that attracts dust. The encaustic, when one maintains its soft surface to work it, also accumulate the dust. However, some months after its completion, this dust will be rejected and can easily be removed with a damp cloth. Wax is an invention of nature, acrylic, that of man.

francois beaudry encaustic painting landscape bas-relief water reflection leaves via appalachia series 17
Autumn reflection, via appalachia series, 17, encaustic, bas-relief, 29 x 47 inches
francois beaudry encaustic painting figure bas-relief
Red ribbon, encaustic, bas-relief, 22 1/2 x 36 inches
francois beaudry encaustic painting bas-relief still life monstera leaf red pot
Monstera, encaustic, bas-relief, 36 x 25 1/2 inches

francois beaudry encaustic painting landscape bas-relief rock moss via appalachia series 16
White water, via appalachia series, 16, encaustic, bas-relief, 22 1/2 x 36 inches
francois beaudry encaustic painting landscape bas-relief trees rock moss horse dog via appalachia series 15
Equus, via appalachia series, 15, encaustic, bas-relief, 28 1/2 x 47 inches
francois beaudry encaustic painting bas-relief blue table series bloodroot leaves plate napkin blue table series 3
Bloodroot, blue table series, 3, encaustic, bas-relief, 26 x 36 inches
francois beaudry encaustic painting still life bas-relief leaves terracotta pot
Ficus, encaustic, bas-relief, 36 x 26 inches
francois beaudry encaustic painting bas-relief door chercheur de tresors series
The door, "le chercheur de trésors" series, 9, encaustic, bas-relief, 36 x 26 inches