Choosing the right pigments

Our Ingredients

Encaustic painting is one of the world's oldest art forms! The earliest applications of encaustic wax paint was done by the artists of Ancient Greece -- hence, where the Greek word "enkaustikos" meaning "to burn in". 

It's All About The Research.

When it comes to pigments, Enkaustikos is dedicated to selecting artist grade pigments that are most suitable for encaustic painting. However, pigment selection isn't an easy task. In fact, it's not just a matter of picking out our favorite colors, a lot of different factors must be considered. We do plenty of research and testing on pigments before making our final choice to ensure we can provide our customers with high quality, professional encaustic paints.

Pigments...Not All Are Suited For Encaustic!

We are often asked for Hansa Yellow encaustic paint and it provides a great example why research is so important. While Hansa Yellow is a beautiful, transparent yellow and extremely popular with oil, acrylic and watercolor artists, it should never be on an encaustic palette. Every artist considers factors like tinting strength and light fastness when selecting their colors but with encaustic paints you also have to factor in heat stability. Keep in mind that your colors will be heated typically in the range of 150 to 175 degrees Fahrenheit. However, there will be times when you may inadvertently overheat an area with a hot air gun which could cross the 200 degree barrier. Consequently, artists must be concerned with the stability of their pigments under every possible condition.


We do not use any of the Hansa Yellows because they are simply, not heat stable. Hansa Yellow Light PY3 decomposes at 225 degrees F and Hansa Yellow Medium PY73 is even lower, it decomposes at 140 degrees F. Therefore, if you were to heat up Hansa Yellow Medium, as soon as your wax paints liquefy at 150 degrees F they will have already begun to decompose. Decomposition means that the color undergoes changes and that beautiful Hansa Yellow may turn green. Colors mixed with Hansa Yellow will also experience this color shift. The other factor even more important to the encaustic artist is that prolonged heating of Hansa Yellow pigments above their threshold leads to the release of harmful gases. Therefore considering these factors, Hansa Yellow pigments are not suitable for encaustic use.

Our Bismuth Yellow Is Different

On the other hand, a great example of proper research is our Bismuth Yellow pigment. We added the eye-catching Bismuth Yellow PY184 to our color palette after conducting extensive research and testing. Bismuth Yellow is a brilliant yellow, high performance pigment which offers excellent light fastness and heat stability (572 degrees F). This is the perfect yellow for sophisticated color mixes. It is a semi-transparent pigment with a high tinting strength. It is also ideal for creating beautiful glazes. As you can see, our color line is based on pigment research and without this step, we would not have the beautiful color line we have now. It is also important to mention that we utilize a milling system that shears our pigments to their finest particle size which brings out the true personality of each pigment. You will find that our paint is rich, creamy, and vibrant thanks to this advanced technology. As you select your Enkaustikos colors, you can feel confident that you are buying high quality encaustic paint.